Friday, March 29, 2013

Infect Your Store with Enthusiasm

Even when the people in your store don’t interact directly with each other, their emotional states influence each other. University of Queensland researchers observed positive and negative feelings displayed by shoppers in retail environments moment-to-moment. Not only did a general emotional tone spread, but if one shopper changed from negative to positive or in the opposite direction, other shoppers tracked along with their own behavioral evidence of emotions. All this, in turn, was found to affect intentions to purchase items at the store and intentions to return to the store for future purchases.
     Thus, moving a shopper from being disgruntled to being pleased increases your profitability from that customer and also for other shoppers in the store at the time who observe the interactions.
     The effect is quick and often below the level of conscious awareness. Researchers at University of California-San Diego and University of Michigan offered thirsty study participants a serving of a beverage. Along with this, some of the participants were exposed to a brief image of a frowning face and some to a brief image of a smiling face. The exposure was so brief that any notice of the emotion would almost surely be subconscious. In addition, the exposure of the emotion-laden face occurred along with the person being shown an emotionally neutral face for a long enough time to be consciously perceived.
     The thirsty people shown the smiling face didn’t report feeling much different from those shown the frowning face. However, those shown the smiling face poured more beverage from the pitcher into their cup, drank more from their cup, and were willing to pay about twice as much for the beverage. A smile—even one so brief as to have no conscious effect—made for more motivated consumers.
     Notice, though, that the experiment was done with people who were already thirsty. Emotional contagion nudges purchase behavior, but doesn’t dictate it.
     The infection of emotions spreads from staff to shoppers, too, and among staff. So smile often when greeting customers. And smile often when building teamwork with your employees.
     Yes, there are retailing situations in which a smile is all wrong: If a customer is distraught, and a smile would make you look uncaring. If you’re delivering corrective discipline to a staff member, and a smile would make what you’re saying seem unimportant. Or when a prolonged smile threatens to make you look simply dopey.

Click below for more: 
Smile Often 
Answer Customer Questions with Enthusiasm

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