Memo from the boss: Smile

Why should a boss want to see employees smile?

I’m not talking only about customer-facing employees. We’re all familiar with the “service with a smile” rule. I’m talking about all employees: operations, assistants, designers, analysts, any employee. Any boss should care about whether or not their employees smile.

I travel a lot, visiting companies around the world. When I visited a company in Silicon Valley last month, everyone greeted me with a smile. Not only at the front desk, but even as I passed offices and meeting rooms. Every employee made an effort to greet me with a smile. This is a disruptive and innovative company. Its employees engage in this upbeat and energetic process, even in their halls.

Many business leaders visit Rakuten too. I recently received some feedback from a guest who visited Rakuten headquarters in Tokyo. He said my employees were very polite and accommodating, but they seemed shy. I thought about his feedback and my recent experience in Silicon Valley and decided to address my employees at the next company meeting. And here’s what I said:

“We are a service company. We are in the business of enhancing and increasing customer satisfaction. We must live that mission and it starts here. We need to have a habit here of greeting others when we see them, saying “Good morning” “Hello” “Good-bye” and “Good night.” Because that level of engagement is not just an exchange of pleasantries. It is a mindset.”

Be hospitable. Be engaged.

At Rakuten, the job of satisfying the customer begins in the halls of our headquarters and the way in which we treat each other. It also improves our job satisfaction.

If you want to improve your customer satisfaction while raising spirits within your office, encourage your employees to smile. And why not lead by example?

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