When it comes to customer service, we don’t always think about body language. There’s far too much verbal conversation going on, and we’re not thinking about the way they or we present ourselves. But, there’s so much you can learn from body language. Everything from whether a customer is willing to buy, to whether you’ll resolve a long-standing issue can be determined. The power of the body is incredible, and we’re going to help you to use it to your advantage.
The Customer’s Body Language
Obviously, customer service can take all sorts of forms. There are times when it’s used to assist customers and come to pleasing resolutions. There are also times when arguments arise, and you need to solve them. The way in which a customer presents themselves in terms of their body language can very much determine this. In fact, I bet you often notice it without even realizing. How often have you guessed that a customer is about to start shouting the odds at you? You noticed their body language, and you knew that a storm was brewing.
Let’s take more time to really understand body language and what it means, however. We can’t mention everything, so you might want to consider customer service classes for some extra training in this area. In any case, we’ll discuss what we can. Let’s start with a positive example. These are the times when a customer might be wondering something, or hoping to rectify a minor issue. They’ve had good experiences with you in the past, and they couldn’t be classified as ‘argumentative’ in any way. What is their body language typically like?
Firstly, you’ll be developing eye contact in one way or another. They’ll want to look directly into your eyes, but they won’t stare too intently. You might even notice a glint-or-two as they’re speaking. This instantly communicates their friendly and playful nature. They might even be picking up your products as they talk to you and stating their interest without saying a word. Their arms won’t be folded, and they’ll be leaning forward with interest to hear what you have to say.
If you notice any of these traits while talking to a customer, it’s an indication to relax. You’ve got their trust, and now you just need to make sure you don’t lose it. Light-heartedness is an option, and you might even feel cheeky enough to try and upsell them. They’re interested in that product they’re looking at? As they’re such a good customer, you could slap a discount on it for them. That’ll definitely create a good impression!
However, the other side of the coin is when things go wrong. An argumentative customer will be quick to stare straight into your eyes as they’re talking to you. They’ll probably stand a little far back and stick with a rigid posture to show their intent. If they start jabbing the desk or poking around, you’ll know they’re not happy. That’s especially the case if their arms are mostly folded, or their hands are clasped shut.
In these instances, be sure to recognize the signs. You might even want to try and offer empathy by questioning whether they have any concerns. Be careful with how you proceed, and look to rectify their issues as best you can. Whatever you do, don’t start joking around or getting too light-hearted when you notice this body language.
Your Body Language
Of course, it’s not just about the customer. There’s a lot that you can learn about how to improve your body language to rectify a situation. As human beings, many of us are wired to take advantage of weakness. It’s just the way we are. So, if we notice a customer service rep appearing hesitant, we might just try and get the better of them.
So, this needs to be kept in mind as a customer service professional. When it comes to using your body language for customer service purposes, you’ve got two goals in mind. The first is to provide excellent service and allow the customer to go away pleased The second is to continue to make a profit along the way. We’re going to give you the tips to do that, but be aware that this takes time to learn.
In the first instance, it’s all about the impression you make when they walk in the door. What’s your body language like? Are you slumped over the desk, or standing looking bored in the corner? You need to be alert, and willing to greet those who show an interest. The friendlier you can make the greeting, the more comfortable the customer will feel.
In the midst of conversation, there are a lot of things you need to do. Firstly, don’t be tempted to multitask. The customer wants to feel like you care about their needs, and you need to show that you’re listening. Smile as much as you can if the situation allows it, and show agreement with minor expressions like nodding.
Customer service isn’t always about giving the customer exactly what they want. Sometimes, it’s just not financially viable, or you simply don’t have the means to do so. In a situation like this, it’s your duty to create an impression of authority. This means standing with your back straight and your body aligned to the person you’re talking to. The ability to sound authoritative also includes keeping your voice low, rather than resorting to a shouting match. It’s also important to use your hands to gesture while you get your point across. This emphasizes what you have to say, and makes you appear more confident.
And what should you watch out for? Excessive blinking shows that you might be feeling nervous. The same goes for excessive mouth movement, like biting your lip. Any kind of defensive posture is going to suggest that you aren’t willing to listen to their concerns. Finally, being tempted to hide your hands in your pockets will suggest that you might be hiding something.
Now that you know a little more about body language, get out there and use it to your advantage!
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