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Hiring People who Smile is One Step in the Right Direction

It takes a mere second and can actually make someone’s day. Smiling is probably the most underrated gesture we can bestow upon one another. Think about how many people you interact with during the day. Or maybe people you just walk by. How easy would it be just to smile at them? You never know what kind of day someone is having so why not try to make it just a little better.

A smile can also do wonders for your business and the customer experience. Many companies strive to achieve a great product or service but forget the other side. Customers want to buy a complete package that includes your product and the customer service that comes with it; this experience includes the sale, purchase, and post-sale. Your goal is not just getting your customer to buy and go, but that they will return and bring more customers with them.

The simple action of smiling can have a dramatic impact on the way you relate to a customer and the impression that this will give about your brand. No matter whether you interact with a client in person, by phone, live call, chat or email, a good attitude will always be useful.


What your smile can do to your customers

  • Studies have shown a good smile can increase confidence by up to 10%.
  • It helps build a good first impression of your business; a customer will always prefer to do business with someone who is happy.
  • Smiling improves your mood and therefore the attitude in which you face everyday situations, including your sales work and customer support.
  • A smile is contagious and humans tend to copy emotions, so a good attitude on your part can improve your customers as well.


The smile during phone support

Did you know that smiling on the phone can help you reflect a positive attitude? Customers can tell, even over the phone, what kind of mood you are in. A startup company that offers internet phone calls explained; “Most of our sales and support processes are managed by phone contact, so we can tell you from our experience that our customers know when we smile and that’s why we do it. In fact, many customers gave us great feedback about our customer service and it all starts with a smile.”

How do you measure the business benefits of a smile?

It’s no secret who does customer service the best—Trader Joe’s, Chick-fil-A and Southwest Airlines—and you will rarely see an unhappy employee. These companies go above and beyond to give every customer a memorable experience.

QuikTrip Corp., a Tulsa, Oklahoma based chain famous for its in-house analytics and memorable customer service, just clinched the 2019 CSP Intouch Insight Mystery Shop, their fourth win in the program’s 15-year history. The study includes both a covert and a revealed audit, with shoppers sizing up 10 participating brands on everything from greetings to gas-island cleanliness.

Chet Cadieux, chairman and CEO of QuikTrip, says, You can’t solve everything with math,” he says. “It just so happens that … you can use analytics to hire the right people to begin with. And if you hire friendly, sincere people, they’re generally, on most days, going to be friendly and sincere to the people they’re taking care of.”

84% of QuikTrip shoppers agreed that they were greeted in a courteous manner, placing the chain nearly 20 percentage points ahead of the average. Another measure of QuikTrip’s customer-service strengths is how well it scored on the question “Would you recommend this store to others?” Based on the Net Promoter Score, a metric that measures consumers’ loyalty to a brand by having them rate their willingness to recommend it on a scale of 1 to 10, QuikTrip received more 9s and 10s than any other retailer.

That’s significant, says Cameron Watt, president and CEO of Ottawa, Ontario-based Intouch Insight, which conducts the mystery shop on CSP’s behalf. In the CSP Intouch Insight Mystery Shop, shoppers are not necessarily regular customers of the brands they are visiting, Watt says. But the fact that QuikTrip scored so high with these shoppers is considerable, “because you create customer loyalty one customer at a time,” he says.

“If a person goes there and they enjoyed the experience enough at your brand, even though they usually shop at another brand, and they’d be willing to recommend you, I think that would be very highly correlated to your ability to drive customer loyalty,” Watt says.

For its part, QuikTrip is most interested in how its customers weigh the individual variables of the c-store shopping experience. Its internal mystery shop assesses employees’ ability to hit these needs, and a large percentage of their compensation is based on their performance in this measure. Consumers’ expectations for c-store service may be modest, but for a retailer to consistently hit the mark on friendly and fast with nearly every transaction is a triumph. Ensuring a high batting average means hiring right the first time.


Is It Time To Revamp Your Customer Service Standards?


I came across an interesting article talking about ways to reinvent the customer experience. It showed that only 1% of customers have an experience that meets their expectations. That’s an extremely low percentage – it could be attributed to actual declining customer service, or that consumers’ expectations are higher than they once were.
At any rate, it’s always a good time to take a good look at your current standards and see if there is room for change – there almost always is.


By looking at customer feedback responses, talking with your customers, and evaluating sales numbers, you can get some insight into the health of your customers’ experience. Are there complaints that revolve around certain themes? Do you see a drop in returning customers?


Technology and other advances have made it easy to reinvent ways you interact with customers, whether it is changing the way customer inquiries are handled,  better ways to communicate with customers and make them feel valued, or even something as simple as speeding up the time spent in line.


The key question to ask yourself, as stated in the article, is:


“If we had no infrastructure, no politics, no barriers, and no limitations–how would we exploit the status quo to radically improve customer service?”


Doing something because “it’s always been done that way” or not having the time to make change is not an excuse. We are headed into the fourth quarter and a new year – why not start thinking now about ways you can improve the customer experience? It’s time to think outside of the box and really brainstorm for ways to make it better.


Here are some tips to get started:


1. Have a brainstorming session: throwing out any and all ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem, is the best way to start with your team. Ask the question above and collect ideas. The point here is to think freely and pretend for the moment that you can implement anything you want to. This will give you a “wish list” of ideas.


2. Ask your customers directly: if you are using a customer feedback program, or even a mystery shopping program, include a question that asks, “If there was one thing we could improve on, what would it be?” A few of our clients have added this question with great success. Your customers are the ones in the experience – they have thoughts about things that could make the experience better. Why not ask? You may get ideas you’ve never thought of.


3. Don’t feel like radical change is needed: making even small changes can go a long way. From the wish list you create, pinpoint some small changes that are most realistic and easy to implement. Customers will notice, and you will feel accomplished in the process, making it easier for you to continually monitor and make changes to make customers’ lives easier.


Change is good, and if you’re still doing things “old school”, consider making some honest evaluations of your standards and processes and decide how you can make change for the better.