Service with a Smile

The saying goes,

“A smile costs so little and means so much”

It’s so true. Especially if you are a potential customer.  Recently I was meeting Kate Walker for a famous “Team with Kate” meeting.  Kate has these meetings where she has the ability to build relationships and partnerships over cup of tea.

This particular meeting was set for 7:00am and I arrived at 6:55am outside of the store that was due to open at 7.  I made eye contact with the staff in the Costa Coffee store, expecting a pleasant smile or acknowledgement.  Instead I was ignored, although I could see that they were aware of my presence.  The two members of staff then disappeared into the back room.

Out of curiosity, I continued around the front of the store where I could see that the staff had decided to hide away from the eyes of potential customers to sit and chat.

After spending ten years in restaurant management and opening up at 6:30, I can appreciate the challenge of being up and working at the early hour.  I can not, however, excuse the fact that the staff of this store couldn’t even break a smile or acknowledge that I was waiting (i.e. with a smile – indicate that it would be just a couple of minutes before opening).  With that, I made my feelings known to Kate and we took our custom to an establishment across the courtyard – where, mind you, the staff were cheerful and a pleasure to do business with them.

I say all of that to say this…

A smile is the outward expression of what is in you.  Sometimes, it can be a powerful way to change what is in you – whether you are smiling to make yourself feel better, or that your smile can make someone else feel better.  A smile is an essential part of delivering service and building relationships.  Hiding your smile can cost you and possibly your business far more than you may ever know.

Puzzle me this, puzzle me that…

Did you know that your physical expression is a significant part of your communication… even on the phone?  Carry a small mirror with you and the next time you are on the phone take a look in the mirror.  Your facial expression is being communicated in the conversation whether you like it or not.  If you want to improve the quality of the conversation, change your expression to one that is in line with the outcome that you’d like to achieve.  The results will surprise you.