It all starts with a smile, really…

Today, 7th October 2016,  is the World Smile Day. Harvey Ball, a commercial artist from Worcester, Massachusetts created the smiley face in 1963. That image went on to become the most recognizable symbol of good will and good cheer on the planet. You can find more information about it here.

Why I am writing about this on a Customer Experience blog? Because there is no good customer experience without a smile. Period.


Why smiling is so important?

Charles Darwin, who in addition to theorizing on evolution in The Origin of the Species, also developed the Facial Feedback Response Theory, which suggests that the act of smiling actually makes us feel better (rather than smiling being merely a result of feeling good).

The effect of smiling is actually comparable to the one of eating chocolate. British researchers found that one smile can provide the same level of brain stimulation as up to 2,000 chocolate bars. Unlike lots of chocolate, lots of smiling can actually make you healthier. Smiling has documented therapeutic effects, and has been associated with: reduced stress hormone levels (like cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine), increased health and mood enhancing hormone levels (like endorphins), and lowered blood pressure.

A Penn State University study confirmed that when we smile we not only appear more likeable and courteous, but we’re actually perceived to be more competent.

Smile facts

So based on those theories, we know the following facts:

  • Smiling makes you feel better.
  • People who see you smile, smile too.
  • People who smile feel better.

A smile makes the difference

Every week I spend a couple of days working in Groningen, a small city in the north of The Netherlands. And I like cappuccinos. Good ones.

There is not a single coffee place (coffeeshops in NL will call for confusion, so trying to avoid that term) in the city that opens before 8 am. So at 8 am sharp, I am in front of one of them, where they make good cappuccinos, waiting for them to open.

But I stopped going to the first one I tried, just because of one thing: the girl who works there doesn’t smile, never, ever, at least that “early” in the morning. Hope she does in her personal life.

It is not that I am picky, I tried, many times. Went to other places some weeks, but got back to see if there was change, if she could smile, if there was another person opening the place. No. There is always the same girl, with no smile, no empathy, no emotion, nothing.

I never came back. That situation made me change the place I go for a coffee even if I like their product, they have a convenient location, usually the closest to where I am staying there, a cosy place, nice music, they have almost everything. But they don’t  smile. I couldn’t handle that lack of emotion face at 8 am in my morning. My cappuccino didn’t taste the same.

Smile for a better customer experience

Think about it. Think about the places you go to, bars, restaurants, shops, garages, hairdresser… There are places that offer the same product or service quality, a good location, good setup, they get the job done, they are even cheaper!  But you go to the one you go because they are nice to you. They care about you and they treat you well. A product or service needs to be very, very different than all the rest, to make you feel you wouldn’t change it for something else.

In most of the cases, the reason for you to choose is on how they deliver that product or service to you.

Who knows, but if you think about it, there is a chance that they also smile when they see you coming to their business…

Happy World Smile Day!


Sources: Forbes,


One thought on “It all starts with a smile, really…

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