The idea of smiling at customers did not take root in American culture until the
early 1900s. Around that time, the ideal solemn, serious and efficient customer service worker went out of fashion, according to article published in the "Journal of Transportation Industry." Since then, the slogan "service with a smile" has become popular in many businesses due to its positive effects on customer behaviour. Constantly smiling at customers, however, can have negative effects on customer service employees.
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In the customer's eyes, customer service employees represent the company. Smiling, making eye contact and paying attention to customer demands build relationships between customers and the company. Positive customer service experiences foster customer loyalty and repeat business, which are two of the most important economic objectives for many companies.
Improving the Company's Ethical Image
Smiling while serving customers is a way of showing that the company also as ethical values, in addition to economic aims. A smile can reflect values of respect, compassion and hospitality, which are the foundations of excellent customer service. A smile, as well as patience and courtesy, often inspires customers to smile back at customer service employees.
Effects on Employees
Customer services employees often must display emotions that they do not feel, such as happiness and satisfaction. The necessity of excessive smiling can have long-term consequences, such as emotional exhaustion, and can have a negative impact on job satisfaction. The more autonomy a customer service employee is given to interact naturally with customers, the less negative the effects of performing emotional labour.
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