Customer Service, does it have to be so complicated? Isn’t it all about about manners, like saying how do you do and smile a bit? And that’s simple – isn't it?

Well, no it’s not that simple. At least not when it comes to personnel in Swedish boutiques. In an international study called the Smiling Report, Swedish boutique personnel don’t get a passing mark. It is the company Better Business Worldwide that with its international partners, has conducted the study in which how personnel treat their customers in 57 countries, have been graded. And it’s not happy reading for Swedes.
“It’s difficult to generalize. It’s a bit strange we are so behind in this international study,” says Veronica Boxberg Carlsson, founder of Better Business World Wide Sweden AB.


The study was conducted through “mystery shoppers”, where a shopper goes shopping in disguise and appraises the shop’s personnel. Boxberg Carlsson believes that Swedish boutique personnel have a self-image that tells them they are good at smiling at and greeting customers as well as offering service, but that they in actuality could do better.
“If you work at finding out what it is the customer wants and give suggestions then you’re giving good customer service, it’s not only about selling.” When it comes to greeting customers and making them feel welcome, countries like Greece and Spain top the list, in spite of the fact that both countries are in a financial crisis. “Perhaps you take better care of the customers you have when it’s financially difficult. Perhaps we have it too easy and therefore aren’t as eager.”

Smiles in retail trade: 1. Spain 96% 2. Greece (95%) 3. Poland (94%) 4. China (92%). Sweden comes on 39th place (69% of retail personnel give customers a smile in Sweden). The highest scoring continents here were South America (83%) and North America (82%)
Welcoming greetings: 1. Colombia and Uruguay (99%) 2. Peru (98%) 3. Spain (97%) and Sweden, on 52nd place (66%).
Add-on sales: Countries where the personnel is good at offering the customers more than what they initially intended to buy - 1. Spain (94%) 2. Poland (78%) 3. China (75%) and 24. Sweden comes in 35th place (43%).

The U.S. does better than Sweden, with greetings for sure, coming in at a shared 20th place (90%) and a shared 24th at offering a smile (82%) except when it comes to add-on sales where it comes in 40th with 33% of personnel offering add-ons to the customer.

For more information: or The Smiling Report 2013