We asked customer service expert, Cate Schreck, to tell us what she believes makes all the difference in ensuring a customer’s experience is positive. What appears an easy suggestion to make, Cate says many businesses actually underutilise this skill, losing precious clientele in the process...

I’m a born and bred country town girl (Warracknabeal – Western Victoria) and my first job was in the mid 80’s working at the local convenience store. In the interview for the job, it was made very clear that customer service was a highly valued skill for me to possess. Why? Mainly because the customers were rarely strangers, they were locals. This meant everyone you knew would rate your performance. Therefore, the consequences of bad customer service could severely damage the business’s reputation and make your life within the community very difficult.

For example:

  • Providing bad service to your netball coach would mean you’d pay for it at training.
  • Providing bad service to a well-connected ‘local’ would mean a bad review about you and the business would circulate around town in minutes.
  • Providing bad service to the parents of the boy you were keen on…. well, you get the picture!

Since 2010, my company, Lightbulb Training Solutions, has worked with businesses throughout Geelong and beyond to provide their customers with the best possible customer experience. I do this through bespoke customer service training programs – or as I like to say, “I train in the art of good old-fashioned customer service.”

From assisting various businesses around Australia, I have found one consistent error.

Businesses spend loads of time and money on engaging customers (ie: interactive websites, apps, social media platforms, product development, special offers, thank you notes, gifts, surveys, mystery shoppers, newsletters, events and the list goes on....and on). These activities are wonderful ways to get to know and delight customers but sadly, very little time is spent on harnessing the Superpower every person in every business has that costs zip, zero, no money at all and can have the most positive and lasting impact.

Let’s try out your Superpower – Smile.
Go on, don’t worry about who can see you, just smile. In as little as 6 seconds a “fake” smile sends a message to your brain that you must be happy. That fake smile creates a rush of positive endorphins and before you know it, you will not only look happy, but you will feel happy and sound happy too. Take special note though, if someone else sees you smiling they can become infected with a smile and before you know it, everyone around them is smiling too. How’s that for a Superpower!

Smiling is a universal means of communicating positivity and happiness, but whilst 30% of us smile more than 20 times a day, those with the greatest smile Superpower are children who smile as many as 400 times per day.

Where did all our smiles go?

It’s time to find them and find them fast because customers are more likely to buy from, do business with and refer friends and family to a business staffed with people who smile – big, genuine tooth-showing and eyes-glowing smiles. Smiling really is the most efficient and effective way to build trust and it’s not just the customers who benefit from a culture of positivity and smiles. Positive employees have a greater tolerance for, and understanding of, unhappy customers, unplanned changes and unexpected challenges.

So, try out your best asset today and see what the humble smile can do for your business!


Here's a Special Offer that is bound to make you smile:

50% discount on signed hard copies of my book “The A - Z of Service Excellence”. (RRP $29.95). Delivered directly to you for $15 (Inc gst and postage in AUS only)

My book is packed with smile inducing and stress reducing insights, ideas and activities all aimed at creating your own team of Customer Service Professionals.

Click here and apply the Discount Code: WCHNOV18 

Expires 31st December 2018

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