When speaking with clients, body language matters more than you’d think. Having calm body language is vital to customer service interactions.
The way you’re holding yourself makes a huge difference in the result of your interaction. In fact, according to Business Dictionary, about 95% of our communication is nonverbal, and 50% of our nonverbal communication comes from our physical body language. Even if you’re dealing with customers on the phone, your body language can affect your voice without your knowledge. Here are a few steps to walk through to make sure you have a physical stance that’s open to empathy and solid communication.
- Put your shoulders back. This small motion automatically helps you stand up taller, which reminds you and the client that you’re a confident person who’s worthy of respect. It also gives off a strong leadership vibe, leading to the feeling that you’ll be able to solve his or her dilemma quickly.
- Give a firm handshake. It shows that you’re comfortable with the client and are ready to be proactive. Initiate the handshake—it takes away the awkward will-we-won’t-we-shake encounter if you just take the plunge and commit to it. Smile while you’re shaking hands, and introduce yourself clearly.
- Lean in slightly. This gives the impression that you’re listening intently. Don’t go overboard and invade someone’s personal space, obviously, but by leaning in, you’ll make it known that you’re ready to hear what they have to say. Leaning back can make you look too relaxed. If you’re worried about looking too intense, gently cock your head an inch to the side.
- Hang your arms comfortably at your side. Crossing your arms gives off a sense of being closed-off, even if it’s just your preferred posture. Don’t make your arms too stiff, but instead let them hang naturally. You can also rest your hands gently in your lap. Make sure you aren’t cracking your knuckles, picking your fingernails, or tapping a pen.
- If you’re in person with a client, maintain eye contact. Looking someone in the eyes is incredibly important. It demonstrates respect and will help that the client feel heard and empathized with. Nod occasionally while he or she is speaking to demonstrate that you agree with what is being said, and that you’re 100% tuned in. If you need to break eye contact for a minute, look up, as if you’re thinking, instead of to the side, which will make you look distracted. If you’re on the phone, consider shutting your eyes to zero in and focus on the conversation at hand. It will also help you remain calm if tensions arise.