How Well Did the UK Perform in the 2019 Smiling Report?

How Well Did the UK Perform in the 2019 Smiling Report?

What is the Smiling Report? For the 15th year of publication, Better Business World Wide has just released the 2019 Smiling Report – an amalgamation of over 23 million mystery shopping evaluations from Europe, Asia and North and South America, focusing on the level of customer service from a range of industries. All the data has been submitted by professional mystery shopping service providers – members of the MSPA.

The report concentrates on 3 key elements of interactions collected from mystery shopping assessments:

Smiles – E.g. a member of staff smiled at the customer.

Greetings – E.g. a member of staff greeted the customer.

Add on sales – E.g. a member of staff encouraged the customer to purchase additional items.

The aim of the report is to identify how each continent, country and industry performed based on the three interactions – a measurement of their customer service levels.  

How well did the UK perform?


In terms of ‘Smiles’, the UK ranked 17th out of 29 countries scoring the world average of 80, not a terrible score as the highest-ranking country, USA scored 93. The UK scored 84, above the average of 82 in the Retail industry, ranking 13th out of 25 countries. The Financial industry performed well, scoring 85 – above the average of 78, however not so well for the hospitality industry, ranking 13th out of 15 countries and scoring 70, below the world average of 80.


Greetings for the UK are not a strong point, ranking only 22nd out of 31 countries as well as scoring below the average of 82. However, for the retail and finance industry, the UK did score slightly above the average. The hospitality industry again did not score well for greetings, ranking 15th out of 17 countries.

 Add on sales

According to the Smiling Report, add on sales have not scored highly across most countries over the years in comparison to smiles and greetings. The UK scored below the average of 49, scoring only 40, and ranking 24th out of a total of 28 countries, and below average over the retail, finance and hospitality industries. 

 To summarise…

Based on the figures, the UK have generally performed well, not differing far from the average. Broadly, customer service levels for the retail and finance industry have scored well, particularly for smiles and greetings, but not as highly for the hospitality industry and for add on sales.

Measuring the level of customer service is key to identifying areas for improvement, how well staff are performing and how well your brand message is being delivered. ESA Retail have worked with a large variety of brands from a range of industries and are experts in helping clients better understand their customers, offering a range of services including: real time customer feedback, in-depth customer satisfaction surveys and integrated customer experience programmes. We can deliver analysis and advice on the results enabling our clients to improve their customer experience.

Our mystery shopping programmes are also a great tool for measuring how well your customer facing employees engage with your customers – including whether they smiled, greeted or encouraged additional sales! We cover customer service assessments, compliance checks, brand recommendations as well as audio recorded mystery shops for more complex interactions.

To find out how we can help you improve your customer service levels, email: or

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