from John Hannett, general secretary, Usdaw

Sir; A new survey by Grass Roots consultancy says workers are ruder than a decade ago despite finding 80% of staff do serve customers with a smile.
The survey found a minority didn’t bother to smile during a transaction and some didn’t have good product knowledge, but it also found the majority provided good service to what are much more savvy shoppers.
In fact, they found 94% of staff were polite, the very least any shopper can expect. Usdaw has seen training and emphasis on quality service become of paramount importance to retailers competing in a tough marketplace. Retailers know their staff are their greatest asset in getting customers back through the doors so they make sure they have the tools to do the job. We’re proud of the work our members do and delighted this survey shows the vast majority are doing just that.
Usdaw also says members are providing excellent customer service despite a shocking 35% rise in verbal abuse of staff by customers. It is a tribute to the professionalism of shop staff that they still manage to maintain a smile and offer exceptionally high standards of cheerfulness and product knowledge.
You have to wonder how many unsmiling staff have been on the receiving end of abuse so we’re calling on shoppers to offer staff a smile with praise if they’ve had good service and we can work together to achieve 100% customer satisfaction.