In hospitality (and in life) I believe there is a difference between a smile and true friendliness.
When you get trained in hospitality, one of the first things you learn is to “always smile, no matter what”. So that is what you do. You smile, no matter what. The problem is that we don’t always feel like smiling, so we’ve taught ourselves to smile without emotion. It has become a way of doing in the hospitality industry, which prevents us from sharing emotion with guests. (And sometimes, whether we like it or not, guests want us to share emotion with them, as that is one thing that makes them feel at home).
We must remember that our customers are not just customers, but they are people too. Just as we can feel when they are unhappy, they can sense our fake smiles. Still, no one is perfect and we all have bad days sometimes. All I am saying is that we, as hospitality professionals, should do as much as possible from our side to appear friendly, even when we don’t feel like it.
How can we change our attitude in a matter of minutes?
- Go for a five minute walk outside. The fresh air might just do the trick. Changing your scenery is the ideal way to get your mind off things.
- Quickly watch a funny home video or an inspirational video on Youtube.
- If the reason for your bad mood is the customer, try to fit in a joke in the conversation – that might lighten the mood a little…
- Quickly listen to your favourite happy song. You can even close the door and pull out a few dance moves if you must. Any kind of exercise for a minute or two could lighten your mood.
- If you feel you can’t change your mood right away, see if you can’t find someone to assist you with difficult customers for now. If not, at least keep the fake smile then.
- Make the decision to change your attitude and don’t give yourself time to think about it. Just do it. Changing your attitude changes your day.
- Talk to children or elderly people – it’s more difficult not to smile at them.
- Last, but definitely not least, eat a small bar of dark chocolate. Apparently it acts as a natural anti-depressant. (Just don’t over indulge and make sure you’ve wiped your mouth before you interact with guests!)
Do you have any other suggestions?