One day at my high school job in a college cafeteria, I found out my boss thought I was always angry or upset with him. He told me it was because I never smiled in his presence. It was a jarring revelation, even for a socially oblivious teen like me. I liked him and respected his work. It never occurred to me that he might think otherwise. Nor did I think my outside was so mismatched to my inside.

To be fair, I was an introverted 16-year-old and he was an imposing dude with an authoritarian manner.

When he was present, the kitchen buzzed with efficiency. From that day forward I made it a point to always smile at people, especially my boss.

The One Thing That Always Improves Your Customer’s Experience

To this day, when I see others who don’t smile, it reminds me of what that boss saw in the unsmiling me.

One time as I was waiting to get my hair cut, I watched a frowning woman stomp around the shop putting things away.

She was just working, doing her job, but my first thought was that she was in a bad mood or perhaps just an angry person. For all I knew she was happy as a clam but the air in the room started to fill with tension and uncertainty.

Was she the boss?

Was she upset at one of the employees?

If so, hopefully it wasn’t at the woman who was soon to be cutting my hair!

It left me feeling uneasy. Nothing too negative, but nothing too good either. It’s not a feeling you want to instill to get more customers to come back.

After the haircut, this same woman was at the front desk, solemnly collecting my money and scheduling my next appointment. As I’m preparing to leave, she smiled broadly, shook my hand, and said, “Thank you so much! See you in a few weeks!” with warmth and sincerity.

Wow. What a difference a smile makes! It was like a new person had magically appeared.

Yet all she had done was smile. It instantly transformed feelings of tension, unease, and uncertainty into relaxation, friendliness, and warmth.

When someone smiles genuinely, it’s very hard not to smile back. A smile instantly connects you to the other person. Their outside affects your inside.

Customer service coaches routinely advise people to smile before answering the phone.

Why? It changes your attitude towards the customer. An article in Forbes says,

“Smiling isn’t just something your face does. It communicates your state of mind.”

Even when you’re on the phone, customers get a “sense of the smile” in a non-visual way. It sets a positive tone for the customer service experience.

There are physiological effects too. In Psychology Today, Sarah Stevenson writes,

“The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released when a smile flashes across your face as well. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.”

Not only does a smile help in normal small business activity, it can defuse a confrontational situation.

If you walk into a room expecting a fight and looking ready to fight, you’re probably going to get one. If you walk in with a smile followed by a positive comment, it might defuse the situation and bring it to a better conclusion.

Don’t feel like smiling? Act as if you feel like it and smile anyway. When you act “as if” it can change your insides to match your outsides, or vice versa.

10 Ways a Smile Can Change Your Day

Just off the top of my head I can think of 10 ways a smile can change your day:

  1. It changes the mood of a phone call
  2. It changes the tone and direction of a conversation
  3. It uplifts co-workers, friends, and family
  4. It elevates your mood
  5. It helps you get more done because you feel better
  6. It helps others get more done because they feel better
  7. It makes a photograph look better if you smile when it’s taken
  8. It makes a meeting go better
  9. It can make a customer come back
  10. It can get a customer to come into your store
A smile is an important way to help grow your business.

People must know, like, and trust you before they do business with you. A smile is a proven way to get them to like you. It’s an effective piece of business etiquette that takes less effort than a frown.

It’s nice to be around people who smile and who are genuinely grateful. Gratitude makes for an abundant life, in more ways than just financially. That’s just one more reason to make us smile.

What makes you smile?

Share something today to make someone smile. It’ll make the world a better place.

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Andre Palko Owner
Andre Palko is founder of the Small Business Rainmaker™ and its free weekly e-newsletter. He is dedicated to delivering award-winning marketing and content that helps business owners thrive in any economy.