Advance Performance | A genuine smile is the universal welcome
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A genuine smile is the universal welcome

A genuine smile is the universal welcome

“A smile is the universal welcome.” – Max Eastman


In Nick Bishop’s recent article “The Twelve Feet Rule”, he examined the importance of the initial recognition between the customer and employee. This time, he explores the importance of a genuine smile in making a great first impression.

During a recent discussion, a client observed “What a fabulous smile” another lady in the restaurant had shown when welcoming her friends or colleagues. We have all had this experience. The power of a genuine smile can light up a room and ensure the person is central to any conversation!

Creating that first positive impression is excellent Customer Service. A warm welcome and genuine smile are vital because:

  • They create an instant interaction.
  • We all like to feel special, and in doing so the employee has started to gain “winning rapport.”
  • The customer is put at ease straightaway.

A genuine smile will automatically be mirrored by your customer so that they will copy the facial expressions and positive body language. The person who smiles first increases the possibility of the other person smiling which naturally induces trust and likeability, and therefore helpfulness.

The automatic mirroring of the smile between you and the customer/client starts a mirroring body language cycle to enable bonding during your interaction. This will also help your empathy to see the situation through your customer’s eyes. The fabulous welcome that we offer the customer is lost if we don’t understand exactly what the customer expects. Therefore, always make sure that you do maintain eye contact and consciously notice your customer’s body language.

The smile and welcome need to be sincere as your customers can read fake smiles which do not reach the eyes. There has been lots of research on reading genuine and fake smiles in recent years including a study by Richard Wiseman. Paul Ekman and Mark Frank have studied the different types of smiles  which you will encounter each day, and provide excellent insight to develop your empathy skills in professional situations.

By delivering a genuine smile, you trigger positive health effects for your mind and body which is obviously a great benefit for your wellbeing and enable you to achieve more productively!  Smiling activates the release of neuropeptides which are tiny molecules that allow neurons to communicate and they help to strengthen your dendrites!

When you smile, the feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released which boost your overall mood and motivation, relax the body and enable you to fight off stress.

Basically, by starting your interaction with a genuine smile, you and your customer will reap the health rewards as well as bonding positively together!

A genuine smile and welcome is the start of your interaction which triggers your response in mirroring the other person’s body language, and focuses you to concentrate on their facial expressions and body language.

Your first impression is the start of this cycle, how the customer will interact with you and how the person feels about the whole experience. The person who smiles first starts this conversation and cycle – be the first to smile!

One thing that is never forgotten, is how you made the customer feels!

Make sure that your welcome is sincere, genuine and one that the customer will remember.

And remember:

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” – Will Rogers

Make that genuine smile and welcome the best you can deliver every time!

Nick delivers the Advance Customer Service Excellence programme and is available to deliver talks covering the same subject.