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Smile and the World Smiles Back at You - Essay Example

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Smile and the World Smiles Back at You

According to Grandey, Fisk, Matilla, Jansen, and Sideman (2005a), it is particularly important to appear both competent and likeable in making a good impression.
Any part of the body can be used in nonverbal communication. However, one part, the face, is the most expressive. Various parts of the face and how they are used are strong ways of communicating: eye contact, frowning, dropping one's jaw, pouting, crying, smiling, and more. Though each of these topics can be a paper in and of themselves, it is the last - smiling - that will be the focus of this paper, specifically its role in retail sales. The paper will look at two factors: 1) Whether the salesperson smiled at a new customer as a function of whether the salespersons' previous customer interaction resulted in a sale or not and, 2) Whether the different conditions (smile/no-smile) led to a visibly different response (positive/engaged or negative/distanced) from the new customer. Further detail on the research hypotheses will be presented at the end of this section.
There is a lot of literature on nonverbal communication and smiling. ...
Duchenne smiles use specific muscles around the cheeks and the eyes, and raise the cheeks. Some authors refer to these as a "felt" or "authentic" smiles, and they are consistently preferred by observers to the non-Duchenne smile as reported by Ekman, 1992; Ekman & Friesen, 1982; and Frank, Ekman, & Friesen, 1993 (as cited in Grandey et al. 2005a). This division, while valuable for some research, also makes comparing research studies difficult as not all studies detail the "type" of smile of the person being observed. In addition, not all researchers are knowledgeable in the differences between the two types and how to assess if a subject (i.e. observed salesperson during field study) exhibited one or the other. However, given the many references to the two types of smiles, it is important to discuss the two types here.
Swinyard (2003) completed a complex, multi-hypotheses study on the effect of salesperson mood, shopper behavior, and customer service looking at two store types (department store, discount store). He did not, however, articulate how "mood" was shown in the study, thus introducing complications, such as whether a smile (seemingly evidence of a good mood) was Duchenne or non-Duchenne, and the possible impact that might have had. Expectedly, he found that "store salespeople in a good mood will provide better customer service than those in a bad mood." This may seem to be a statement of the obvious, but "better customer service" is a hallmark of successful companies, particularly as he cited, Nordstrom. "Better customer service" does not always have to be complicated, it can be a genuine smile and a warm greeting.
Hall and Horgan (2003) substantiate the ...Show more

Summary

As noted by Babin, Babin, and Boles (1999), "in retailing contexts where there is considerable contact with the salesperson, the customer-salesperson dyad is the primary determinant of how the customer views the retailer/dealer." They continue, "retail salespeople can have a strong influence on customer purchase decisions." Since purchases keep retailers in business, making sure salespeople get the best "return on investment" for every minute spent with a customer - from first impression to assisting the customer to finalizing the sale (or losing the customer) - is critical.
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