We’ve just returned from an enjoyable family holiday on the Algarve. Staying at the Penina Hotel near Alvor, I had a week of golf with my wife and three sons. I’ve played less than a dozen rounds over the past 10-15 years, so I was a little apprehensive about how I would fare alongside my three teenage boys who embraced the game last summer.


I needn’t have worried. While my golf performance will not set any records, it was acceptable. More importantly, I really enjoyed playing alongside my family in idyllic weather on a beautifully manicured course.


In fact, there was only one problem with our holiday. The hotel staff didn’t smile. They were efficient and helpful, but simply looked glum most of the time, as if they were going through the motions.


Having done a couple of quick searches on Google, there is plenty of research out there to suggest that smiling not only improves the happiness and emotional state of the person who smiles (even if it is from a ‘forced’ smile), but also lifts the mood, emotional wellbeing and even the spend of their customers.


Even online and telephone-based businesses that are famous for their customer service – such as Zappos, First Direct Bank and AO.com – focus on the critical importance of having happy, friendly and smiling front-line staff. As one service manager commented, “Customers can hear your smile!”


I’d go so far to say that there is no service without a smile. And, unfortunately, that is where the Hotel Penina fell short.


What steps are you taking to create an environment where your front-line service and sales teams bring their smile to work?


© Stuart Cross 2018. All rights reserved.