The Power of Non-Verbal Communication Skills in Customer Service
Like other customer service skills, nonverbal communication is a strong component of interactions between a customer service representative and current or potential customers. For example, nodding of the head is often used (and overused) by many customer service professionals people to signal agreement or to indicate that they are listening to a customer during a conversation.
An important thing to be careful about when you are dealing with your customers is that when you use nonverbal cues, and when you are watching others who are doing so, you should occasionally pause to ask a question for clarification. For example, stop and ask for, or provide, feedback through a paraphrased message. A question such as, “So what do you think of what I just said?” will quickly tell you whether the other person is listening and accurately understanding your meaning. Their answer will also make it clear if the other person is simply politely smiling and nodding—but not understanding. The latter sometimes happens when there are cultural differences or when someone speaks a native language other than yours.
If you are a woman, one other point related to nonverbal communication cues is to be careful not to overuse the nodding technique. Some research has shown that many North American women often nod and smile more than men during a conversation. Doing so excessively might damage your credibility or effectiveness, especially when you are speaking to a man. The interpretation may be that you agree or that you have no opinion, whether you do or not.
For more information customer service tips on the effective use of non-verbal communication skills between customer service representatives and their customers, get a copy of Customer Service Skills for Success and Please Every Customer: Delivering Stellar Customer Service Across Cultures.