I can’t recall where I first heard the saying “Smile, it’s part of the uniform”, but it certainly stuck. It sounds obvious for any person in a role that involves interacting with customers to have a smile on their face however, this simple yet powerful social skill is often overlooked.
You don’t realise the impact a smile has on a customer until you’ve been on the other end of an unsmiling employee. In fact, over the last few week’s I have experienced grim-faced service staff on several occasions; in a retail variety store, a food outlet and a printing service. On each occasion, it was apparent the person assisting me disliked their job and didn’t particularly enjoy serving customers. I found myself feeling unwelcome and generally uncomfortable. I couldn’t wait for the experience to be over and I certainly don’t have any desire to return to these businesses.
Facial expression has a big influence on the overall message communicated to a customer. When a person is smiling, a customer is more likely to perceive them as friendly and helpful. It can also create a warm and welcoming environment.
A smile communicates the person’s enthusiasm and positive outlook on their role and on the business in general. On the other hand, when an employee looks miserable, it can be interpreted by the customer as disenchantment, disapproval and even disgust. A customer should never feel this way.
The phone should also be answered with a smile on the persons face as it changes the tone and inflection of their voice, making them sound more friendly and personable.
Of course there is a real smile and a fake smile. While a genuine smile that radiates in one’s eyes is preferred, research shows with both a real and fake smile, the brain still releases ‘happy chemicals’ or Endorphins therefore, even a smile that is intentional can have a positive and uplifting effect on the person forcing the smile.
Customers easily pick up on the atmosphere of a store or business. They can sense when there is a gloomy vibe. Alternatively, they can sense when the vibe is upbeat and positive. Facial expressions are a major contributor to establishing this positive atmosphere.
A smile should always be part of the uniform. If an employee doesn’t have a smile on their face, quite simply they are not dressed for work.