The Simplest, Free Customer Service Gesture That Builds Loyalty By Carmine Gallo

Soroptimist - This was a business article on Leadership that can and does cross over to club work.
If the best things in life are free why not give your customer the best thing for free? It won't cost you a dime and it's likely to encourage your customer's loyalty. "It" is a smile-a genuine smile. The keyword is "genuine" and we'll get to that in a moment.

I recently read an article in my hometown newspaper about a barber who celebrated 40 years in business. When the reporter asked Cosmo Panetta the secret to his business longevity, he said, "The main thing is when a customer comes through the door, you have to smile at them...make sure when they walk out of the door they say, 'Man, I feel great!'"

The smile is the most overlooked gesture in customer service, and it's the most impactful.

When I interviewed New York City restaurant king Danny Meyer for this article, I read his customer service book, Setting the Table. Meyer tells the story of the first great review his restaurant received in The New York Times. It helped to put Union Square Café on the map. He recalls that the reviewer "took note of the smile in the reservationists' voices on the phone, the smile at the front door, the smile on the waiters' faces." A sincere smile makes people feel good about doing business with an establishment, and it's free.

Brands that are considered customer service specialists learned long ago that a smile is the simplest and one of the most powerful gestures an employee can make. They also realize you can't fake it. In fact researchers are finding that 'fake' smiles have a negative impact on consumer behavior. Customer service champions have made hiring an art. At the Apple Store, for example, "hiring for smiles" isn't just a platitude. Apple Store managers are serious about hiring happy people.
"We can train you to talk about an iPad; we can't train you to smile," one manager told me.

A smile is powerful, free, and it works. Try it on for size. You might like it and your customers will, too.

Governor Jackie