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Body Language for Customer Service

Did you know that up to 93% of communication is non-verbal?

This means we can communicate without even saying a single word. For staff in a customer-facing role, positive non-verbal communication can be a powerful amplifier to be more welcomed by customers.

What is Body Language?

Body Language refers to “gestures, movements, and mannerisms” by which a person communicates with others (definition from Merriam-Webster). These are your non-verbal cubes that communicate how you feel, and are typically performed subconsciously.

Fans of US crime dramas might remember the series “Lie To Me“, where Tim Roth’s character assists law enforcement agencies in investigations with his expertise in studying “micro-expressions” and body language. 

What’s said can sometimes be different from what is unsaid. Our body communicates sub-consciously.

Body Language

Body Language and Good Customer Service

Few of our businesses are in law enforcement or psychology. Why should we care about body language?

While a fundamental factor of a successful business is a product that solves customer problems, how a salesperson or a customer-facing staff communicates can be the key between a sale or a customer walking over.

Positive body language helps your workforce communicate better with customers, and affects how customers react. Hence, we need our salespeople to pay exceptional attention to body language.

This is true irrespective of whether you business is brick-and-mortar, or (increasingly today) an online business. That’s because body language CAN carry across the phone, or even an online chat. When your service rep is frustrated, he/she may end up with a very different chat message compared to when when he/she is a good frame of mind. The sub-conscious body language can translate into different choices of words – which CAN be misconstrued by customers over that chat.

Bottom line: All your customer-facing staff need to convey positive body language in their interaction with customers (and prospective customers as well)!

What are examples of positive body language that your staff should exhibit? Here are three:

1. Eye Contact

Make eye contact before speaking with a customer. This is to let the customer know that he/she is actively engaged and actively listening. Be careful not to overdo it though. Staring too intently can make the customer feel intimidated. 

A good rule of thumb is to maintain eye contact 50% of the time while speaking and 70% of the time when listening.

2. Keep an Open Stance

An open stance signals friendliness and open-ness. That’s in contrast to body language like crossed arms, which is a closed, defensive posture.

Standing in an open manner makes the customer feel welcome, and also makes it easier to make & maintain eye contact (point 1 above)

3. Smile 😊

Smiling creates a positive effect on people. It makes one appear more approachable and positive. A prospective customer feels welcome and would be more willing to speak to your smiling salesperson rather than one who is sullen and disinterested.

What other examples of positive body language can you think of?

Body Language in Customer Setvice

How to Train Body Language for Good Customer Service

Positive Body Language can be taught to your staff.

First – make staff aware of the different examples of body language – both positive ones that they should adopt, and negative ones that they should avoid.

Show pictures, or better yet – a video of each body language example so that staff know exactly what to do and what not to do.

Second – Make staff put what they have just seen into practice via role-play. The old adage “Practice Makes Perfect” is always true, especially for skills-based training.

Third – Provide an SOP of dos & don’ts of body language so staff can easily make reference to it, and after review, practice with colleagues or on their own – anytime, anywhere. Examples of Body Language and other SOPs can be found in ArcLab Discover.

Good body language is an important part of communication. Nowhere is this more crucial than when interacting with customers. 

A well-trained sales force and customer service team can help your business better interact with customers and help your business grow, whether you are a retail business, or running a food chain selling delicious local delights. Any business for that matter.

To use and adapt ArcLab’s free Body Language Customer Service training modules for your staff, simply click here: