Customer Experience: It Started With a Smile…

I was walking through a large department store this morning. On one of the floors, I saw a supervisor and a Team member, intently discussing the merchandising of a particular display. As I approached, the Team member broke off the conversation, smiled at me warmly, and said “Good morning!”, and as I responded in kind, the supervisor also smiled. Result? I was left with a warm glow and a feeling of being welcome in the store.

Shortly afterwards, I was queuing for coffee in a nearby branch of Costa. It was busy, and the bar was messy. I heard someone say, “Excuse me”, and as I turned, a Team member swept past, carrying a tray of crockery, making no eye contact with me. Result? I felt marginalised, and slightly irritated. I was reminded of a story about Body Shop founder Anita Roddick. On the back of every stockroom door, so the story goes, was a poster of a grinning Anita, with the words “Smile, dammit, smile!” underneath. The message was, even if you’re carrying a box of peppermint foot balm from A to B, you must ALWAYS smile and acknowledge each and every Customer you pass.

Turning back to the bar, the barista looked up, smiled broadly, and asked, “How are you today?”. A friendly conversation ensued until my expertly-made flat white was ready. Result: I forgave the messy bar, and felt another warm glow and a sense of being a valued Customer.

It’s often said that we don’t “do” Customer Service in this country. In response, I’d say that it’s not rocket science: it starts with a smile, a warm glow, a sense of being valued…and an increased propensity to buy, return, and/or recommend. If you want your Team members to be engaged, and productive, then, you too must be prepared to smile, as you exhort them,  “Smile, dammit, smile!”

For support with smiling, (and transformational training) click here.

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