Last week’s post about customer service reminded me about a very simple way in which we decide if a person applying for a Customer Service role should have a trial shift. We ask ourselves, Do they smile a lot? Not, do they answer the question, do you like people? with “Oh yes, I love people and love making them happy!” but rather,  do they ACTUALLY smile a lot right in the interview.


This  may seem really fatuous and silly- like, really, there are more serious things to be done than smile…but we have found that you can teach all those serious things and you cannot teach a person to smile. Later after they have been there awhile and are never very friendly to customers, you can try to coach them and say stuff like, “Please have fun and relax and smile”…and the person will reply, “Oh for sure, no problem, I really like it here and I’m having a lot of fun”. But they still don’t loosen up and smile.

So I guess what I am saying is that if you want to have a customer service team that genuinely welcomes people into the store and makes them feel great, then you need to hire people who smile so naturally that it is just their go-to expression.


The interesting thing is that I have a friend who is in the serious business of wealth management where professionals absolutely must know about a whole lot of financial and technical stuff just to get by. And yet Joe’s philosophy even in that rarefied space is that if the world is divided into smilers and non smilers, he wants to hire people onto his high-powered team who smile. Maybe there is more to this smiling thing than we realize!


About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


To receive email notifications of new blog posts, please subscribe below.



Hello, You!

I’m so glad you are here.

Sign up to receive my posts and you will never miss one. (and by the way - absolutely no other marketing-type emails will be sent your way!)

- Jean