Home > Columns > CRM Columns

How Mastering Non-Verbal Communication Improves Customer Service

Presented By: Amanda Winstead

 master nonverbal comm

Photo by cottonbro studio 

Some of the latest customer service trends include going above and beyond to improve the customer experience through better communication. However, communication is not just about what we say out loud but includes what we say with our expressions and body language non-verbally.

In fact, more than 50% of communication, or the message that is being communicated to someone we are interacting with, occurs non-verbally. Unfortunately, most customer service training is heavily focused on what is said to the customer, which could be the reason why some companies and employees fail to have consistently successful customer interactions.

As a business, however, you cannot afford to let this happen. Quality and consistently satisfactory customer experiences are essential to running a successful business.

Below, we’ll look at how mastering non-verbal communication can benefit your company, as well as offer advice on how to improve the non-verbal communication skills of your customer service representatives (CSRs).

How Improving Non-Verbal Communication Skills Can Improve the Customer Experience and Benefit Your Company 

Customer experience is everything. There was a time when companies didn’t have to worry as much about catering to the customer, as there weren’t as many options for customers to choose from. But today, customers are more discerning, and they have many different options. So if they don’t like the way you do business, they can easily go somewhere else to find what they need.

Thus, it is crucial for companies to consistently deliver better experiences, and one of the best ways to do this is for CSRs to be more effective communicators. Again, most companies understand what it takes to be a good verbal communicator, but non-verbal communication is just as crucial, if not more so.

Most people know that body language is more telling than what comes out of someone’s mouth. For example, you can say that you liked something, but your facial expression says otherwise; it’s a dead giveaway that you were lying. This is why body language is so important in customer service.

If what your CSRs say matches what their body language is telling the customer, it builds more trust. This also avoids pesky misunderstandings. Both verbal and non-verbal cues are essential to get a message across, which means if the non-verbal skills are on point, the customer will be less likely to get confused or misunderstand the situation.

Of course, mastering body language and aligning it with verbal communication is not always easy, but when done well, it can allow for more consistently successful and enjoyable customer experiences. And when your customers are consistently happy, it means more loyal customers, conversions, and more revenue for your company.

When your customers are happier, it also boosts the confidence of your customer service employees, which will inspire them to continue delivering better experiences. The saying “happy employees, happy customers” is true. But the same can be said in reverse as well. Happy customers equal happy employees.

Tips for Improving Non-Verbal Communication in Customer Service

So, how can you teach your customer service employees to be better non-verbal communicators? It takes a lot of practice, but the advice and tips below can help.

Be a Better Listener

Most people are not good at actively listening when communicating. They might hear what is being said, but most of the time, they are just thinking about what they want to say in return and waiting for their turn to speak.

So, the first step in being a better communicator, including non-verbal communication, is to learn to be a better active listener. When CSRs actively listen to customers, such as by maintaining eye contact, allowing space for reflection, and paying attention to the customer’s non-verbal cues, they can then better communicate in return.

Maintain Good Posture

The way a person stands can give a lot away about how they are feeling. For example, if a CSR is slouching or leaning on something, it can communicate to the customer that they don’t care, that they are bored with the interaction, or even that they are annoyed.

Standing upright and maintaining good posture, however, can show the customer that the CSR is present in the conversation and that they respect them. It also tells the customer that this person is professional and trustworthy and is ready to help them.

Avoid Fidgeting

Fidgeting is another tell that a person is distracted, and it can also be distracting to the customer. So it’s important to avoid unnecessary movements such as playing with your hands and your hair or shifting your weight too often from one foot to the other. Fidgeting and shifting too much might also convey a lack of confidence, which means the customer might not feel that they can trust this person to know what they are doing or talking about.

Maintain an Open Stance

Crossing your arms or turning away are potentially two of the worst things you can do when interacting with a customer, as it communicates that you are closed off and don’t want to help them. So, avoid these gestures if possible.

Instead, stand directly facing the customer and keep your hands down at your side. You can also use your hands to gesture in a way that communicates your enthusiasm to help the customer.

Don’t Forget to Smile

Conscious and active smiling can make you feel happier, and it can also communicate a more friendly and welcoming demeanor to customers. This is not to say that CSRs should necessarily force smiling when it is not called for, but smiling more often at the appropriate times can communicate to customers that you are happy to help them.

A simple smile can go a long way toward changing a customer experience from bad to good. Understandably, there are times when your CSRs might be having a bad day, and that’s okay. But smiling more often when appropriate can help them maintain a positive attitude and make both their day and the customer’s day better. 

Final Thoughts 

Better customer experiences and consistently matching customer expectations require better communication. This means being able to both improve your own non-verbal skills, as well as being able to pick up on the non-verbal cues of your costumes. It’s not just about what someone is saying; it’s about what their body is telling you as well.