A smile alone doesn’t guarantee excellent customer service, but excellent customer service almost always starts with a smile.
When was the last time you smiled and said hello to someone? It has always amazed me how someone can meet you face to face on a sidewalk or in a building and not greet you in some fashion, or even make eye contact. While some may say, it’s just a “Midwest Nice” I disagree, especially if your career involves any interaction with people.
There’s a lot to know about customer service whether it involves a client or a co-worker, but if a simple smile isn’t a component of the foundation you’ve built for yourself or your company, you’re missing the mark. Walking into a place of business, whether it’s a clothing store, grocery store or an office building, if you’re not greeted by a friendly smile, it sets a tone. The same holds true if you have a call center or do any business on the phone.
According to Forbes magazine, there are four reasons why excellent customer service should start with a smile:
1. A smile is more than an expression. A smile not only communicates a state of mind when you are face to face with someone, but when you are on the phone a simple smile boosts your energy. Forbes notes a smile can be the most significant part of your phone business transaction. Ultimately, a smile influences people’s perception of your brand and their customer satisfaction.
a. Try this simple exercise, look in a mirror and introduce yourself without smiling, then introduce yourself while smiling, notice any changes? Your energy and your tone instantly go up. Who would you rather work with in business?
2. A smile is more about a mindset. We all want to make a good first impression, especially in business, and a smile is a necessary first step. A smile kicks off an interaction with someone before words are ever spoken.
a. Hy-Vee knew what they were doing when the grocery chain debuted the jingle, “helpful smile in every aisle” in 1964. The company knew that slogan set a precedent and that customers held them to a higher standard because of it, even more than 50 years later.
3. A smile is an attitude. A smile is a first impression. To a customer, that smile states, you’re here and you’re ready to help because you’re passionate about your business. Forbes notes, a smile cannot solve every problem but in many cases our attitude can triumph over many complications that can occur during the transition and our smile can become a competitive edge.
a. Think back to a time when you received poor customer service. What do you remember about that experience? Chances are it was someone who obviously disliked what they were doing or was simply collecting a paycheck and had no interest in what they were doing, they passed that disconnect onto you. Poor customer service, leaves a lasting impression, not about just about the individual, about the business.
4. Most important: A smile is an invitation. Your smile sets a tone. As we all spend too much time with our nose in technology, we cannot forget this simple expression extends a common courtesy and carries a big return on your investment. Think about this, a smile costs nothing, is easy to implement, and is priceless when working with people.