5 ways to communicate respect without saying a word

By Service Excellence Coach - Cate Schreck

Customer Service Managers and Business Owners  from Geelong, Ballarat and Melbourne and across Australia contact Lightbulb Training Solutions to help their teams develop professional soft skills. Soft skills are your people skills and those are the skills that when mastered, leave your customers feeling respected.

Did you know that it's possible to give customers a feeling of respect without even speaking to them? Thanks to Professor Albert Mehrabian and his book "The Silent Message", we know that we communicate our attitudes and feelings both verbally and non verbally.

In a face to face situation, 55% of the message you are communicating to a customer about how you feel and what your attitude is comes via your body language.

What is body language? It's the non-verbal messages you communicate to those who can see you.  It covers things like the following:

Eye Contact / Facial Expressions / Gestures / Proximity / Your Attire

Regardless of the industry you work in or the reason customers have come to see you , give yourself the best chance of gaining their trust and winning their business by considering what your body language is telling your customers.

Here are 5 examples of how body language impacts our customers:

  1. When we walk into a business that has a reception area and reception staff don't immediately look up, customers can feel ignored. The longer a customer feels ignored, the greater the chance of them not willingly doing businesses with you.
  2. When staff are on the phone, the simple act of eye contact with a genuine smile and a nod goes a long way to giving customers a feeling of respect. It also puts them at ease that staff know they are there and will be with them soon.
  3. A uniform makes it easy for customers to identify staff BUT, uniforms that are untidy, unclean or ill-fitting can leave a customer doubting the professionalism of the staff and the business.
  4. Staff who look at their watches or let their attention wander whilst a customer is speaking, gives the customer the impression that they are no-longer focused on what is being said. This alone can drive a customer to complain about bad service.
  5. Standing too close to a customer can make them feel uncomfortable. If the customer takes a step back, don't follow them - they are establishing their comfort zone.

If you're busy, annoyed, frustrated, tired, nervous or feeling anything other than focused on the needs or your customer, keep in mind that you may be sharing your feelings and attitudes via your body language.

If your team need to brush up their communication skills, consider our Customer Service Boot Camp or contact us to find out more about our 6 Step ACTION method that builds teams of Customer Service Professionals.