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Show your teeth and tilt your head!
Customer preferences towards a service with a smile
                                        
   Chung-En Yu1*
  
   
Received: 26/07/2018 Accepted: 23/10/2018
                 
1Department of Innovation and Management in Tourism, Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Urstein Süd
1, A-5412 Puch/Salzburg, Austria. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
*Corresponding author
 
Coordinating editor: Stanislav Ivanov
   
Abstract
      
The notion of service with a smile is a commonplace one in the realm of customer service. However, there are cultural variations when it comes to the perception and display of a smile as customers interpret smiles differently, depending on their background, gender and/or ethnicity. This research paper aims to analyze in greater depth, the distinct characteristics and nuances behind the smiles of presenters (i.e., service agents) and to investigate the interpreters’ (i.e., customers) perceptions. The findings revealed that non-Asians, normally regarded as more individualistic, tend to display a wider spectrum of different facial expressions, compared to Asians. The association between an Asian cultural identity and collectivism might partly account for this difference. In addition, it was discovered that customers are more likely to be attracted by service representatives of a different ethnicity during a service encounter, with gender playing a negligible role. On the whole, this paper will present significant contributions to the tourism and hospitality industries, by providing guidelines and insights for managers, hotel operators, and human resource departments, to improve and refine employee training.
   

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Keywords: emotional labour; service encounter; smile; collectivism; individualism

    
Citation: Yu, C. (2019) Show your teeth and tilt your head! Customer preferences towards a service with a smile. European Journal of Tourism Research 22, pp. 31-44
    
 
European Journal of Тourism Research