Smile Measurement Technology

It never ceases to amaze me how hard the Japanese are seeking perfection in their every move. This is a cultural characteristic that even the most superficial visitor cannot avoid observing – everybody is giving a 100% as the most natural thing in the world … I know, this is what we are taught to do in sales training classes and team building events, but let me assure you, this attitude is very different from numerous other countries I have been doing business in.

I stumbled upon this surprising topic over at the Japan Probe website.  A Japanese software company called Omron has developed a smile scoring system that will grade images with regard to quality of the perceived smile. The idea is to use this software for companies wanting to improve the quality of their customer facing activities. Fast food chains are mentioned as a popular market for this technology.

The technology was demonstrated in a TV program arranging a mini competition between different nationalities. Obviously Thailand – the land of smiles – was destined to come out as the winner, but more surprisingly Japan came out last. That is certainly not the impression I have from Japan – but one of the participants was unlucky and scored only 5% for some reason and made the average suffer.

Although this might just be for fun, it is certainly an interesting idea. I can easily think of prospect clients in my neck of the wood – SAS would certainly benefit from using this feedback system with their cabin crew, but they are not alone… For some reason there seem to be a trend in the other direction – maybe it is now cool not to smile or even be polite?

Japanese smiling competition