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    Report: C-Stores Need to Smile

    Convenience stores drop five places in the study concerning smiling employees.

    ROCKLIN, Calif. – A study by the International Mystery Shopping Alliance and National Shopping Service found that c-stores rank seventh out of the ten retail industries' smiling percentage.

    On average, the study found that American retail employees offer smiles to its customers 88 percent of the time. In 2005, the study showed that c-store employees offer a smile to customers 89 percent of the time, putting them at seventh place.

    C-stores saw the biggest shift, dropping from second place in 2004 where it scored 96 percent.

    "Consistently offering a welcoming smile is an age-old proven business technique," said Tony Yorba, executive vice president of the National Shopping Service. "But in this day and age, there are so many choices available to customers. So to operationalize the right impression and the right customer experience, is key to customer retention -- and leadership -- in any industry."

    "Retailers are focusing on the essence of good customer service as a way to gain and keep a customer as well as a competitive advantage." He added "A smile inspires positive attitudes and a willingness, even a happiness, to patronize."

    The big box industry, lead by Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target ranked first for the second year in a row, with 98 percent of employees giving service with a smile.

    The survey was based on 105,654 mystery shopping trips in the U.S.

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