The Value of a Smile
Ronale Tucker Rhodes
Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed or stolen, for it is something of no earthly good to anybody until it is given away willingly.
Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give."
I was reminded of this anonymous quote one day when I was driving into my gated community. Most times, the guards at the gate just wave without making eye contact; some don't even acknowledge you at all. But on this day, a new guard stood up from her stool, leaned out the door, smiled warmly and waved emphatically, as though she were a family member there to greet me when coming home at the end of a long day. Automatically, I smiled back, waved and, guess what, I felt happy!
It seems like such a small thing, yet a smile can make all the difference in someone's life in that moment. And, since that day, as I go about my business, I find myself watching people when they come into contact with others — especially employees at the grocery store, cleaners, my fitness center — looking for their smile. Sadly, a majority of the time, there is no smile. Just a formal greeting, if there is a greeting at all, followed by a business transaction. How much different our lives would all be if, in every situation, a sincere smile was given along with those transactions!
In this issue, we focus on customer service — from the way management drives policy and empowers its employees to the friendliness and helpfulness of the front desk staff and the variety of programs and services you can create to make your members feel appreciated. But, what we don't talk about is the fact that customer service always begins with a smile.
A smile on the face of the fitness facility manager is contagious to his/her employees. It says to staff that this is the atmosphere we want to project: a happy, friendly atmosphere. Smiling employees are happy employees.
A smile on the faces of your front desk staff will be the first thing your members see when they come in to work out. In almost all instances, if members are smiled at when walking into your facility, they will also smile, which then sets a positive stage for their time in the gym. It can actually transform an "I just have to get in and get it over with" attitude to a "This is going to make me feel so good today!" attitude.
A smile on your personal trainers' and fitness instructors' faces will make them more approachable and more effective motivators. Being in this industry, we all know the effects that a smiling, energetic instructor has on the class experience — even if it is hard work.
So, when you feel too tired to give your employees a smile, or your employees feel too down to give a smile to members, remind yourself and them that it's the person with the smile who will go the extra mile! That's true for your staff in their work, and it's true for your members in their workouts.
Facility of the Week
Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center