We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do. - Mother Teresa
What if your employer rated your smile daily? How would you perform?
Companies in Japan are doing just that.
In a country where the customer reigns supreme, companies are continually seeking ways to gain a customer service edge.
Smile for the camera
Using a technology called Smile-Scan developed by Japanese tech powerhouse Omron, Keikyu – a private rail operator in Tokyo requires all of its employees to take a smile test before starting to work. The Smile-Scan system uses 3-D facial recognition software to rate their smile on a scale of 0-100 based on measurements at points like the eyes and mouth. It also ranks against previous scans of the person’s smile.
Employees then receive feedback from the system about how to improve their smile. And if that weren’t enough, the system prints out a sample of their best smile for smile motivation during their work day.
Keikyu indicates the system is for training only and the ratings don’t impact employee performance evaluations, but it’s conceivable companies, especially in the service industry, could add this criteria to a performance evaluation.
Reminds me of the movie Office Space when Jennifer Aniston’s restaurant supervisor reprimands her for having insufficient “flair” (decorative buttons) on her uniform.
According to a 2009 report in Deustche World, Omron had already sold 370 “grin–o-meters” to companies, including insurance companies, banks, hospitals and government agencies.
Can you imagine the IRS rating its employee’s smiles?
More than good customer service
All jokes aside, these systems could have benefits beyond improved customer service.
According to 29-year-old Keikyu employee Yabe Asuka, “We usually have a lot to do in the morning. And when this was originally introduced, I thought, ‘great, another thing on my plate.’ I was very skeptical. But since I have started doing it, I have noticed that it does actually improve my mood. So I think it is a good thing now.”
While smiling makes customers feel valued, it also has a positive impact on the smiler.
Why you should smile more
Benefits of smiling include:
- Improves mood – Research indicates even a forced smile can improve your disposition.
- Boosts your immune system.
- Relieves stress.
- Lowers blood pressure.
- Increases chances of promotion.
Start your own smile scan
So even if your employer doesn’t require you to take a smile test before starting your shift, you may want to implement your own.
Try this each morning for a week. Stand in front of the mirror and think about something you’re thankful for or that makes you happy. Then put on the best smile you can work up. You’re sure to reap multiple benefits.
And remember to share a smile with someone you meet during your day.
Check out the video below to see the Smile-Scan in action.
Image: Dani Ayu.