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Your Body Language and How it Effects Your Customer Service Skills

Updated on May 9, 2016

Customer Service Skills are Important

Lately it feels like the world has turned into a bunch of zombies. No matter what store I walk in to it feels like at least one of the cashiers or customer service representatives is brain dead or worse. I’m not saying these people are dumb, I’m saying they let their minds go on vacation while they are working.

I can tell that they aren’t all there at the time by the way their body looks. They are usually slouched or leaning heavily on their desk or podium, they point lazily at places when I ask for directions; they shrug at my questions and don’t look up from the magazine their reading or try to speak to me while they are busy talking on the phone with what sounds like a friend.

We don’t have to live in the world of Dawn of the Dead. The zombie invasion shouldn’t be an immediate danger; it shouldn’t be something we have to worry about whenever we enter our favorite coffee shop or supermarket. But this isn’t something that can be stopped by attaching a chainsaw to our arms; this has to be solved through discipline, heavy training, and strict policies on the side of the business management. These issues can be solved by simple improvements in the customer service skills of these employees.

The truth of it is that these employees don’t even have to take their brains back from vacation. They just need to make sure the customer perceives them as attentive and enthused to be working for them. Perception is everything in the customer service business and because the customer just wants to buy his products and go, there doesn’t have to be too much effort put forth to appease them. The zombies can stay zombies as long as they appear to be alive.

How do you appear to be all there when you are letting your mind wander? It’s easy. More than half of communication in human beings is passed through the use of body language. Your body language is the short cut window to your brain and if it is saying: “I don’t give a crap about what’s going on right now” well, the customer is going to know you don’t give a crap. What you want your body language to say about you is: “I’m here, I love it, I want to help you.”

There are a few basic habits you can start to develop today that will help you to achieve the body language you want tomorrow. These are habits that as a supervisor at a hotel I try to teach all of my employees and try to work on myself. These body language tools are the biggest indicators of your customer service skills when you’re being judged by the customer you are interacting with.

Eye Contact

Great Customer Service Skills Start with Good Eye Contact
Great Customer Service Skills Start with Good Eye Contact

Eye Contact is the first step to great Customer Service Skills

Let’s first start with the most important: Eye Contact.

You’re going to want to keep eye contact with the customer you are assisting at all times or at least 80% of the time. Keeping eye contact tells the customer that you are listening to them and care about what they have to say. If you are helping more than one customer it is a good idea to spread the eye contact around. It is the same mechanic that professional public speakers use while they are giving a speech. An expert speaker will try to make eye contact with specific people in the crowd so as to give the impression that they are only talking to them at the time. Of course the speaker isn’t really speaking directly to anyone but tell me one time where you have been out to a public speaking event and not felt that the speaker is addressing you personally.

Eye contact is also the key to showing the customer that you’re with them in the same room and not letting your mind wander outside to scamper around picnic tables and lunch buffets. Your eyes and their behavior say a lot about your attitude. Learn how to control how they appear to others so that you can be better perceived by the customer and therefore more helpful.

Improve your posture, improve your customer service

Another incredibly important factor in developing good customer service skills through body language is your posture. Maintain good posture at all times while you are speaking to a customer or at all interacting with them. In most cases, whenever you are in plain view of a customer it would be a good idea to have proper posture.

What’s proper posture you may ask? Well, basically you want to keep your spine straight and your chin up. Think of yourself as if you were in the military and constantly at ease. Keep your hands behind your back when you aren’t using them and your legs firmly on the ground. It’s a difficult thing to maintain if you’re working a customer service job that requires you to stand for eight hours straight but trust me, not only will the customers think highly of you but your body will start to get stronger and healthier too. Good posture goes a long way.

If you manage to get into a habit of keeping eye contact with your customers as you speak to them and constantly retain proper posture as you work your customer service skills will improve. Two simple habits are all it takes to make an improvement and you will soon stop acting like a brainless zombie.

Customer Service Skills Poll

How many of you have been victims of poor customer service skills?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I have also encountered sales attendants who have poor customer service skills. For me, the most important body language for these people would be to smile. A smile would always create the impression of a good customer service. Proper posture and eye contact to customers are also important. I have also read some useful tips on good customer service on Hope this helps!

    • profile image

      Bale Vatubua 

      7 years ago

      Customer Service is all about attitude.

      You have to be mentally & Physically fit before your day starts. Yes, our greatest challenge as a customer service rep is People.

    • Shinkicker profile image


      7 years ago from Scotland

      I went to a pub for a meal with a friend once. The barman was quite rude and condescending. It was wonderful!!! LOL He was so witty and engaging with his sardonic quips. We wanted more so we went back next week. He wasn't there. I guess he was sacked.

      People who exhibit professional customer service can be zombies too. A little character goes a long way. :-) I miss that guy

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Fantastic, always looking for pointers like this. Even if it's just a good reminder!

    • floodlightled profile image


      7 years ago from China

      Useful knowledge. Thanks!

    • sitlos1971 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great info. And when someone delivers poor customer service, THIS can happen . . .

    • JonSterling profile image

      Jon Sterling 

      9 years ago from Houston Texas - United States

      Right on the Money - No one wants to interact with a doom and gloom sub-mediocre service person. You nailed it.

      From a service rep's point of view - If someone is standing at a counter waiting to be served - Get off the dang phone. It is so very rude to talk on your cell while expecting exceptional customer service.

    • Neil Ashworth profile image

      George Poe 

      9 years ago from United Kingdom

      Great info!

    • martycraigs profile image


      9 years ago

      Posture and eye contact are definitely important, I agree! It's a completely different experience when you walk into a store and the service representative is lively and interactive, while clearly paying attention to you. There is such a thing as too much eye contact and attentiveness, however. At least that's my opinion. I don't like to be smothered.

    • kbennett51770 profile image


      9 years ago

      I have worked in customer service for over 20 yrs and I agree with most of your hub but I hope you keep in mind that those "mindless zombies" have dealt with many different people in their work environment in one day and it can not only take a huge toll on your emotions and mental attitude but you can be physically drained. This is not an excuse for poor behavior or customer service on the part of the "zombie" but many factors may be playing into their behavior. It also takes a special person to have the ability to be customer oriented and not everyone belongs in the position. Thanks for the cool hub!!!!!! :)

    • mproctor profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Boston, MA

      Thanks for your comment Roger. You're right, too many service zombies out there these days.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      good post regarding how to improve customer skills. I live in the NYC metro area and I have come across a lot of Customer service folks in the cafes, stores etc., and their attitude sometimes indicates "don't ask me anything else other than what you see on the board!" and shrug off any questions even if it is related to the product or service that they carry! Its almost like talking with robots with not much usual customer service emotions to expect and Consumers have to live with the such facts. Hey we live increasing dependepent on Cell phones, laptops, texting and games! What's happening with the people!

    • David Ford profile image

      David Ford 

      10 years ago

      All very good advice!


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