It’s been said that little things mean a lot. And that’s true. In a business sense the biggest little thing can be summed up in one word: attitude. There is not a much more obvious or impactful issue for your customers than the way they believe they are greeted or treated by you and your staff. If they encounter disinterested or surly employees, they won’t be back as soon as you might hope. If subsequent visits are equally unpleasant, they may not come back at all.
Consider instituting a simple and inexpensive policy at your flight school business. It may not sound like much, but it can be highly effective. The full policy can be expressed in just four small words: service with a smile.
Sarah Stevenson has a degree in behavioral psychology. In 2012 she wrote a guest column for Psychology Today that focused on the power of smiling. Part of that column discussed how the act of smiling affects those around us. That population would include both your staff and your customers.
“If you’re smiling at someone, it’s likely they can’t help but smile back,” Stevenson wrote. She supports this contention with science, but her message is clear. Smiling is contagious—literally. It takes a conscious effort to frown when confronted by a person who is smiling, courteous, and welcoming.
Stevenson added, “You are creating a symbiotic relationship that allows both of you to release feel good chemicals in your brain, activate reward centers, make you both more attractive and increase the chances of you both living longer, healthier lives.”
Certainly your flight school business does not have to concern itself directly with the longevity or the overall health of your clientele simply because they’ve done business with you. But knowing that a simple change in attitude and demeanor can create feelings of goodwill and heighten the sense of satisfaction experienced by your customers is a good enough reason to consider making smiles a big part of your daily routine.
Consider your own experiences with other businesses, both on and off the airport. Are you more likely to frequent the businesses where you are greeted warmly and find a smiling face on the other side of the counter, or where you find a gruff, cranky employee whose main interest is watching the clock to see when the next break will roll around? The sense you get is the same one your customers are feeling—or wish they were feeling.
Your own experience should tell you that it’s even possible to tell if someone is smiling simply by the sound of their voice. Even when engaged in a telephone conversation, the voice of the smiler often elicits greater customer satisfaction than the one that simply responds without the positive inflections the smile causes.
Maybe it’s time for an attitude check on your business, your employees, and yourself. All it will cost you is a smile, and the return on investment might be more than you ever dreamed possible.