Every person who works in customer service should smile. That should be enough information for this post. However, I have a few more tips.

When in person, always smile.
There’s absolutely no excuse to have anything less than a genuine smile when you’re helping customers face-to-face. Even if you’re having a bad day, if you smile, the customer will likely be happier and not try to make your day any harder. When you’re working with or around customers, you should temporarily forget about your personal problems and try to help the customer. Consistently being nice to customers will never hurt you (if anything, you may get a promotion, bonus, raise, etc.) If you can’t come up with a genuine smile, try to fake one.

Even smile on the phone.
When you’re on the phone, you should also try to smile. Believe it or not, it makes a big difference. (Think of the difference between you have a good light hearted conversation with a friend and a bad, upsetting conversation with a boss or co-worker.) Keep your attitude positive and upbeat, and again, try to filter out any problems you might be having at the time.

Notice how on the top banner of this site, there are pictures of people on the phone? I agree that call center representatives are rarely that happy looking, but try to emulate them. They all look happy, and they are all smiling. If their customers weren’t the photographer, but actually people on the phone, chances are the people on the phone with pick up on their good attitude.

If a customer is angry, breathe.
There’s not that much you can do to help yourself when a customer is angry besides A) don’t take it personally and B) calm down. If the customer is there in person, just take a deep breath and smile. If the customer is on the phone, politely ask the customer to hold while you look into his or her issue, and take a deep breath and smile. If the customer is emailing you, step away from the computer and take a quick walk, get a drink of water, etc. Do things to calm yourself down when a customer is angry or frustrated. If necessary, ask a supervisor pr another employee to deal with the customer.

For business owners and managers:

Hire the smile!
A hiring philosophy at Nordstrom is to hire the smile, and train the skill. Simply put, Nordstrom recruiters look for people who smile, are friendly, and are caring, not necessarily the best or most experienced in their possible position. It’s easier to train someone how to be a good salesperson or cashier than it is to train them to be nice. If you stick with that philosophy, you’ll notice the levels of customer satisfaction in your business go up quite a bit over time.

Remember, keep smiling!

9 Responses to “Smile!”

  1. Meikah said:

    Jun 13, 06 at 3:18 am

    Smile, Doug! 🙂 I like your entry today. You’re right, smile makes a lot of difference in our dealings with people in general. As the saying goes, “smile and the world smiles with you…” It would be a refreshing site to enter a business establishment and see smiling faces all over the place.

  2. Tom Vander Well said:

    Jun 14, 06 at 4:43 pm

    You know, Doug, this one always surprises me in its’ simplistic power. Those who make a practice of smiling on the phone swear by it. We’ve even made a practice of giving away little mirrors for CSRs so they can see themselves and be reminded.

    Thanks for the great reminder!

  3. Service Untitled » Customer Service in Life - customer service and customer service experience blog said:

    Nov 02, 06 at 1:16 pm

    […] When hiring employees, seek employees that try their best to provide great customer service in everything they do. Potential employees with this mindset will usually become superstar customer service employees. People who try and be nice and attentive in everything they can be trained to become superstar customer service employees. Remember about hiring the smile? It applies here, too. […]

  4. Ellena said:

    Oct 05, 07 at 7:36 am

    Let’s be honest, every sales person hates they’re job and are unhappy in they’re work. I work for a company that’s a complete Dump, The Management treat us like we’re kids and they’re better then us when they’re actually younger then us.
    I always fake smile, I always fake been happy as long as I do that at work. Customers don’t care, they get they’re purchases and they’re gone.
    End of the day Customers don’t give a shit about us, All they care about is them selfs, they don’t respect us and they don’t treat us like we’re equals like we’re human. It’s hard to stand there and have someone swearing at you, you’re not paid to stand there and take it if it that happens to me I tell them to back away from the till while I get myself together.
    You ask half the people that work in RETAIL or any sales, It’s all the same.

  5. John said:

    Jan 14, 08 at 11:12 pm

    The younger sales people mock this proven technique for projecting a positive image. The smile is indeed heard through the phone. It puts the salesperson in the better frame of mind during an important moment in the job: contact with the customer.

    I can say honestly as a sales person, I enjoy my job. I don’t think of customers just as customers as much as I do people who count on me to help them prosper. This keeps me balanced and motivated.

    Find out what make you raring to go each day and use it to keep going.

  6. Araceli Fraticellii said:

    Jul 16, 08 at 8:21 pm

    Hi, I just had an incident at my job today and your post help me a lot. Thank you

  7. Service Untitled» Blog Archive » Poach good service employees. said:

    Oct 20, 08 at 10:41 pm

    […] specific purpose. Apple, like Nordstrom and other customer service leaders, realizes that you can hire the smile and train the […]

  8. The Price of a Smile. « Making Strategic Sense said:

    Feb 18, 09 at 4:04 pm

    […] In the customer service site Service Untitled the writer offers several tips in the blog entitled Smile! […]

  9. Bobby C said:

    Mar 20, 09 at 11:27 am

    I agree with most of this article with one big exception:

    Don’t continue to force a smile when a customer is frustrated or angry, or even disagreeable, especially in person… your facial expression should convey the fact that you are concerned about their frustration and want to understand the problem so you can try to help them fix it.

    In this situation, smiling makes you seem fake and unempathetic, and can upset them even more.

    For a great example of the facial expression I am talking about, go watch any of the Obama-McCain debates from 2008 (esp. the Town Hall one) and look at Obama’s face while McCain is talking.