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Your Body Language and How it Effects Your Customer Service Skills
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.
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Customer Service Skills Guide offers free tips on improving your customer service skills that will improve your business and build a stronger customer base.
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.