Russian shop assistants are not known for their smiles, and with good reason according to a survey of 14 countries' service industries that ranked the country 12th, popular Russian daily Gazeta reported on Friday.
Mystery shoppers counted the smiles of the service employees in stores, restaurants, banks and tourist agencies, and found that Russian staff smiled 65% of the time. The lack of cheer was put down to the rudeness of Russian customers, boorish bosses and ingrained habits.
The smile rankings were topped by Sweden, where workers smiled in 87% of interactions, Latvia (86 %) and Estonia (84 %).
The United States came fifth with 80% of the staff smiling.
Russia was trailed only by Croatia on 59% and Pakistan, with a miserable 34% of staff smiling at customers.
Gazeta daily said citing the report's results that tourism sector personnel smiled the least in Russia.
"People who buy tours or book charter-flight tickets usually deal with staff at tiny tourist agencies, whose incomes merely cover the advertising costs and office rent," Gazeta quoted Russian Tourism Industry Union spokeswoman Irina Tyurina as saying.
She said small agencies do not have enough money to train their personnel.
The survey showed that fast-food restaurants also suffer from gloomy staff. Dmitry Levitsky of Retail Training Group told Gazeta that the fast-food sector faces 300% employee turnover annually, with workers' difficult living situations often meaning they lack the motivation to be cheerful with the customers.
"We are often asked how to teach people to smile, but you cannot teach it," Levitsky said, adding that managers have to learn to keep an eye on their staff's moods, and cheer them up if necessary.
"Managers usually know how to force, but not how to encourage," he was quoted as saying.
MOSCOW, April 30 (RIA Novosti)