Body Language Impacts Customer Service
In addition to verbal and written messages, you continually provide nonverbal cues that tell a lot about your personality, attitude, and willingness and ability to assist customers. Customers receive and interpret the messages you send, just as you receive and interpret their messages.
By recognizing, understanding, and reacting appropriately to the body language of your customers, as well as using positive body language yourself, you will communicate with them more effectively. The key to “reading” your customer’s body language is to realize that your interpretations should be used only as an indicator of the customer’s true message meaning. This is because background, culture, physical condition, communication ability, and many other factors influence whether and how well people use body cues. Placing too much importance on nonverbal cues could lead to miscommunication and possibly a service breakdown.
One secret to effectively interpreting nonverbal cues sent by your customers is to watch for clusters of messages rather than a single signal or cue. This means to listen closely to what your customer is saying verbally while watching their nonverbal cues closely. If their words seem to be saying something different from the signals you received, watch further or do a quick perception check. To do this, ask a question for clarification. For example, “I just heard you say …but I noticed that nonverbally you were not smiling. I am not sure if I should take your words at face value or if you were making a joke. Which was it?”
By recognizing that your ability to effectively interpret body language is just one more tool in your customer service toolbox, you are on your way to delivering the best customer service possible.
For suggestions on how to successfully communicate nonverbally with your customers, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success.
About Robert C. Lucas
Bob Lucas has been a trainer, presenter, customer service expert, and adult educator for over four decades. He has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing, and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author who has written thirty-seven books on topics such as, writing, relationships, customer service, brain-based learning, and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters, and activities to eighteen compilation books. Bob retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.
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