Hmmmm… What to wear today?
What is the most important item you should put on today before you head to the store or to work? Okay, besides the obvious – a clean uniform, shirt or blouse, pants, shoes and a name tag? The most important item to remember is to put your SMILE on!
Some of you might reply to this suggestion with, “Hey Todd, I’m having a bad day and I just don’t feel like smiling”, or, “Why should I smile when customers or co-workers don’t seem very happy?” My response to that is, if you could do one simple thing that would make yourself AND your customers feel better, why not do it? There are many well-documented studies detailing the positive effects of smiling. Those effects include: reduced stress, lower heart rate and blood pressure, mood lifting, increased energy levels and even pain relief. All of that sounds pretty good to me!
Let’s look at the customer perspective and human nature, in general. Smiling is contagious. In other words, when one person smiles at another, the other person instinctively has the urge to smile back. When they smile back, they begin receiving the same benefits you are receiving from smiling. Customers have bad days, too, and it can be an amazing experience to lift their mood with a simple smile – and it doesn’t cost either person anything. Pretty cool!
Part of my role in our Customer Experience department is to interview potential candidates interested in joining our team. Many of these interviews start with a short telephone conversation. As with most interview processes, we have a sets of skills and traits we attempt to assess during these interviews. There is one trait assessment that has risen above all others. That trait is the smile. Because much of our interactions with customers occur over the phone, it is vital that customers “hear” us smile. It is a sound that is difficult to describe, but you know it when you hear it. This smile has an amazing, positive impact on our ability to resolve customer issues and is incredibly “disarming”. We love our customers and they need to hear that through every interaction with us. Everyone has had the occasion to interface with a customer who was less than happy with their experience. However, with a smile, a helpful attitude (which the smile helps develop) and a genuine concern for the customer’s well-being, most situations can be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction and with positive impressions left. Customers will continue to do business with you because of your smile and the positive interactions that result from it.
So, plan on wearing that smile today! Oh, and clothes…