Customer Service -- The Power of Smiling

My husband has a pet peeve. He can’t stand people in the service industry that don’t smile.

It doesn’t matter if it's a shop clerk, a waiter or the guy changing our tires. If we come across an unsmiling person who interacts with the public, my husband will inevitably say, "Would it kill them to smile? If they don't like their job, they should quit."

Smiling Has Power

Smile research--yes there is such a thing--has shown that there is a lot of power in the smile, besides making my husband happy.

Take the 2010 research done at Wayne State University. That project looked at baseball cards photos of Major League players in 1952. The researched found that the span of a player’s smile predicted the player’s life span. Those that didn’t smiled lived an average of only 72.9 years, and those that smiled lived an average of 79.9 years.

In a 2003 study in Neuropsychologia researchers found that “The simple, often spontaneous flexion of facial muscles, combined with a slight tightening of the skin around the eye sockets, can literally make other people feel like they are winning.” 

Smiling is Good Business

What does all this mean for you? In short, smiling isn't just good for your health, it's also good business. A smile has more power in the workplace than many give it credit for.

Jaspar Roos, in his blog, The Super-Power of Smiling, says "People who smile more tend to be more likable and attractive, seem more confident and competent. For instance, in sales or negotiations, smiling helps to build a more personal and trustful environment that predisposes to better possibilities for collaboration and cooperation. Indeed, this seems to be a good enough reason to smile at people that we’d like to do business with. 

If you haven’t broken into a smile yet, here are a few more solid business reasons.

Smiling . . .

• creates a more open and welcoming atmosphere
• lets people know you’re listening and engaged
• connects people
• can be "heard" over the phone
• is contagious
• costs nothing

As children we smiled around 400 times a day, and as we grew older we stopped. It’s estimated adults only smile around 20 times a day. It’s time to change that stat and take back the smile. (And not just with an emoji.) Smiling is good for our health, it's good for our souls and it's good for business.

Not to mention, it will make my husband happier. 

Diane Mettler has been a manager for nearly 20 years. She's also a freelance writer and editor--with hundreds of her articles published in a variety of magazines—and teaches writing at the University of Washington.