Wednesday, June 04, 2008

A Professor and a Student Walked into a Bar........

There is a core concept behind much of positive customer service in college or for that matter anywhere. Smiling.

Not only is it great for increasing customer service and retention, it has wonderfully salutary and powerfully positive effects for you too. Smiling creates huge returns on a very small investment. And according to a study completed by the British Dental Health Foundation, smiling can save you weight too!

The British Dental Health Foundation, co–ordinators of National Smile Week (May 15–21) — the biggest oral health event in the UK calendar — spoke after scientists revealed that a smile gives the same level of stimulation as eating 2,000 chocolate bars or receiving £16,000 in cash.

The clinical tests, carried out on volunteers in Scotland, measured brain and heart activity as participants were shown pictures of people smiling and given money and chocolate.

The results were analysed by psychologist Dr David Lewis, the author of The Secret Language of Success, who said that seeing a smile creates what is termed as a 'halo' effect, helping us to remember other happy events more vividly, feel more optimistic, more positive and more motivated.

Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation, commented: "We have long been drawing attention to the fact that smiling increases happiness both in yourself and those around you, so it is good to receive the backing of this scientific research.

2000 bars of chocolate! And the halo effect. When you smile, it causes other to do so too. During a workshop at the University of New Brunswick, Canada, I proved the strength of smiling by putting a smile on my face and going up to members of the audience. Eevery one of them responded with a smile. Now, whether it was because they felt the power of a smile or because they were thinking I had gone mad and best smile back to keep me from some odd behavior focused on them, I can not say for sure. What I can say for sure is they all smiled back, even one who had done her best to tell through a rigid frown and body language to state to me she was not going to buy anything I would say. In fact, after I got her to smile just by grinning at her while talking about smiling, she lost the frown and relaxed the rigidity in her body for the rest of the workshop.

If we smile, we release endorphins and serotonin which some obtain though marijuana use. So, smiling can save you more money, loss of job if caught and no lingering pot smell on your clothes to make your colleagues wonder if they need to create an intervention for you.

Smiling also has been found to reduce stress, lengthen life expectancy, lower blood pressure and make the smiler appear younger and more attractive. Maybe that explains the attraction Jerry Lewis to the French?

Smiling also makes you appear to the viewer as if you are pleased to see him or her and that produces a halo effect. The other person feels happier as a result and will even like you more. This is true even if your smile is fake. A faked smile will have as much positive effects as a real one for the viewer. Granted a real one may be stronger and thus produce greater effects on the viewer and yourself, but a faked one is a great start.

Moreover, when you smile it is fairly impossible to sound as frustrated, tired or even as angry as you may really feel. Your voice and one will have a more positive, upbeat, perhaps even friendly tone caused by the smiling. The smile-influenced voice will carry out to anyone hearing it and affect their mood too. Even if a person cannot see your smile, he or she will hear it such as when talking on the telephone. That makes the listener feel better and even welcomed.


Quick pitch: We are quickly filling up our dates for school pre-opening convocations and workshops as well as customer service week (Oct6-10). We would like to be able to help you too so please contact us ASAP for a date.

AcademicMAPS has been providing customer service, retention and research training and solutions to colleges, universities and career colleges in the US, Canada, and Europe as well as to businesses that seek to work with them since 1999. Clients range from small rural schools to major urban universities and corporations. Its services range from campus customer service audits, workshops, training, presentations, institutional studies and surveys to research on customer service and retention. AcademicMAPS prides itself on its record of success for its clients and students who are aided through the firm’s 413.219.6939

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