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Mastering The Power of Body Language for Customer Service


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While discussing the role of customer service, much emphasis is placed on verbal communication, from crafting scripts to perfecting pitches. However, the significance of body language for customer service and nonverbal cues often goes overlooked. It’s not just about what we say to customers, but also how we say it and the messages conveyed through our body language. You wouldn’t want to stay in a place surrounded by sleepy waiters who only listen to half of what you said right?

Communication skills are essential in customer service, and the important aspects of effective communication are voice tone and body language. Understanding how to utilize body language in interpersonal interactions is crucial for maintaining positive customer experiences and building strong relationships.

a waiter with smile on her face Body Language for Customer Service

Picture this: You walk into a party and immediately form opinions about the people around you based on their body language. Are they engaged in conversation, or do they seem closed off? Do they make eye contact, or do they avoid it? These nonverbal cues speak volumes, influencing our decisions about who we want to interact with.

It’s surprising to think that up to 90 percent of communication is nonverbal, yet we often overlook its significance in customer service training. This oversight is especially critical considering that customers form impressions about us within seconds of interaction.

With this in mind, let’s see how body language plays a role in customer service, exploring its importance and uncovering best practices to enhance nonverbal communication within your teams so you can keep those customers coming back!

Why Is Body Language Important For Customer Service?

Knowing the importance of body language is important as it will help you and your business create a genuine connection with your customers. Beyond just verbal communication, nonverbal cues play a crucial role in shaping the customer experience.

Whether it’s a face-to-face interaction, a virtual meeting, or a phone conversation, body language influences how customers perceive and respond to the support they receive. For instance, maintaining an open and welcoming body posture, making eye contact, and using appropriate facial expressions can convey empathy, attentiveness, and professionalism, all of which are essential for building trust with customers.

Importance of Body Language

  • Nonverbal cues complement verbal communication and contribute to the overall customer experience.
  • Open posture, eye contact, and genuine smiles help build trust and connection in face-to-face interactions.
  • Adapting body language skills to virtual settings is crucial for effective communication in online interactions.
  • The tone of voice and demeanor influence customer perception, even in phone and chat-based support scenarios.
  • Calm and attentive body language can convey empathy and understanding, fostering positive relations with your customers.
  • When your customers feel that they are being given attention and are heard they will come back to you.

Best Practices for Body Language in Customer Service

To effectively utilize body language in customer service, whether in face-to-face or remote interactions, it’s crucial to understand what meaning people assign to different body languages. Here are some key methods to incorporate body language for positive communication:

Make Eye Contact:

When engaging with customers, whether in person or remotely, making eye contact is essential. It conveys attentiveness and shows customers that you are actively listening to their concerns.

Failure to make eye contact may leave your customers feeling neglected or undervalued. By maintaining eye contact, you demonstrate respect and acknowledge the importance of their issues.

Use Facial Expressions:

Your facial expressions can convey almost everything about you in customer interactions. Maintaining a compassionate and empathetic expression when customers share their concerns signals that you genuinely care about their problems.

Smiling warmly can create a more positive atmosphere, contributing to a delightful customer experience.

a shop owner with smile on her face showing the importance of Body Language for Customer Service

Open and Inviting Posture:

Your body posture can convey openness and approachability to customers, and that is exactly what you want to convey during customer interactions. Whether standing or sitting, maintain an open posture with relaxed shoulders and arms uncrossed.

This nonverbal cue indicates assistance, making customers feel more comfortable and valued.

Active Listening Gestures:

Maintaining active listening postures, such as nodding and leaning slightly forward, demonstrates your engagement and understanding of the customer’s situation.

These subtle cues reassure customers that their concerns are being heard and encourage them to express themselves more freely.

customer service representative listening to her customers

Maintain Good Posture:

Good posture conveys confidence and professionalism, which can positively influence how customers perceive you. When interacting with customers, stand or sit up straight, with your shoulders back and your head held high.

This projects an image of competence and assurance, making customers more likely to trust your solutions and recommendations.

Imagine you’re assisting a customer with a complex technical issue. By maintaining good posture and appearing confident, you convey competence and expertise, this makes the customer feel that you can resolve their problem effectively.

Smile Appropriately:

A genuine smile can go a long way in customer interactions, signaling warmth, friendliness, and a willingness to help.

Whenever appropriate, smile to express your eagerness to assist and your optimism about resolving the customer’s issue.

When welcoming a customer to your store or initiating a virtual support session, greet your customers with a warm smile to create a welcoming atmosphere and establish a positive connection.

importance of smile in customer service

Minimize Unnecessary Movement:

Excessive fidgeting or unnecessary movements can distract and detract from the customer’s focus on the interaction. It can confuse the customer and they might feel like you are not actively listening to them.

Instead, aim to be calm and composed and minimize unnecessary gestures and movements.

During a live chat session with a customer, refrain from tapping your fingers or fidgeting with objects on your desk, as this can distract the customer and give the impression of disinterest.

Maintain an Open Stance:

Position yourself in a way that communicates openness and receptiveness to the customer. Face the customer directly, maintaining an open stance with your arms uncrossed. This nonverbal cue signals your readiness to engage and assist.

When conducting an in-person consultation with a client, stand or sit facing them directly, with your body language conveying openness and attentiveness. This encourages the customer to feel comfortable expressing their needs and concerns.

Mind Your Tone:

Pay attention to the tone of your voice, as it can significantly influence how your message is received. Aim for a friendly, professional tone that conveys empathy, understanding, and a genuine desire to assist the customer.

When addressing a customer’s complaint over the phone, maintain a calm and reassuring tone to reassure them that their concerns are being taken seriously and will be addressed promptly.

Mirror Customer’s Body Language:

Mirroring the customer’s body language, to some extent, can help establish trust and foster a sense of connection. Subtly matching their gestures and posture can create a feeling of alignment and understanding, enhancing the overall communication experience.

importance of body language in customer service

Be Mindful of Written Communication:

In written communication channels such as email or chat, tone can easily be misinterpreted without the benefit of vocal or visual cues. Use clear, polite language and avoid ambiguity to ensure effective communication.

When responding to customer inquiries via email, choose words carefully to convey empathy and professionalism. Avoid using sarcasm or humor that may be misconstrued and opt for clear, concise language to address the customer’s query.

Shake Hands:

Incorporating physical touch, such as shaking hands, into customer interactions can significantly enhance rapport and create a lasting impression. Research suggests that even brief instances of touch, such as a handshake or a gentle touch on the arm, can establish a human connection and foster a sense of trust and openness.

When greeting your customers or engaging in conversation, use your discretion to assess the appropriateness of offering a handshake. If the opportunity presents itself naturally, such as when introducing yourself or thanking a customer for visiting you, a handshake can convey sincerity and warmth.

Studies have shown that people are more likely to remember individuals with whom they have shared a handshake, emphasizing the importance of this nonverbal cue in building memorable interactions. Additionally, customers tend to perceive individuals who offer handshakes as more approachable and friendly.

handshake importance in customer service

Use gestures to emphasize key points:

Gestures can complement your verbal communication and can help you clarify information or convey enthusiasm. Use hand gestures to convey important points or illustrate concepts, but avoid excessive or distracting movements.

When explaining the features of a product, use gestures to demonstrate its size, shape, or functionality. For instance, you can use your hands to gesture the dimensions of an item or demonstrate how it works.

Be mindful of personal space:

Respect the customer’s personal space by maintaining an appropriate distance during interactions. Invading personal space can make customers feel uncomfortable. so, maintain a comfortable distance while still being accessible and attentive.

When assisting a customer in a retail setting, approach them with a friendly smile and maintain a respectful distance that allows for easy conversation without encroaching on their personal space.

Case Study: Starbucks

  • Scenario: A Starbucks barista noticed a regular customer, Sarah, seemed visibly upset while waiting in line. Sarah’s body language indicated frustration, as she crossed her arms.
  • Strategy: The barista approached Sarah with a warm smile, made eye contact, and used open body language to convey approachability. Without directly addressing the issue, the barista offered Sarah a complimentary beverage upgrade and asked if everything was right.
  • Result: Sarah’s demeanor softened, and she expressed gratitude for the gesture. The barista’s attentive body language and empathetic approach helped defuse the situation and turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one. Sarah left the store feeling valued and appreciated, increasing her likelihood of returning.


Mastering the power of body language in customer service is crucial for creating positive experiences and building strong relationships with customers. By paying attention to nonverbal cues like eye contact, facial expressions, and posture, businesses can convey empathy, trustworthiness, and professionalism.

 An example from Starbucks highlights how simple gestures like a warm smile or active listening can turn a potentially negative situation into a positive one.

Ultimately, businesses that prioritize effective body language techniques in customer interactions can enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, and overall success.