For companies that are responsible for offering services to customers, employees come into direct contact with clients. Consequently, the manner in which they articulate their verbal and non-verbal communication greatly contributes to customer satisfaction. In every transaction made between a service provider and a customer, their communication is split into verbal and non-verbal.
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Elements of Non-verbal communication include kinesics, paralanguage, physical appearance, and proxemics. All these rudiments contribute to the way in which buyers evaluate a business. For instance, eye contact and smile lead to customers feeling appreciated (Gabbott & Hogg, 2001).
They also give the impression that the service provider is confident of the service he or she is offering and thus helps in winning customer’s trust. Paralanguage such as tone variation may lead to customers doubting one’s confidence in his or her work.
Some proxemics helps in changing customers’ attitude towards a company and its staffs. For instance, a restaurant attendant that is used to touching customers leads to them having positive regard for him. The customers always wish to be served by the attendant and are willing to return to the restaurant. Furthermore, such an attendant can easily convince the customers in case they have complaints against the restaurant.
Apart from proxemics, kinesics, and paralanguage, physical appearance also contributes to customer satisfaction in an organization. Employees that are physically attractive are considered to be friendly by customers, thus trusting them. The following are some of the non-verbal signals and how they add to purchaser contentment.
Kinesics refers to body movements and is an inevitable phenomenon in every communication. Some of the body movements that make up kinesics include eye contact, smile, handshaking, orientation, and nodding. Different kinesics conveys different messages based on the context in which they are used.
In business institutions and especially those that offer services, kinesics plays a vital role in improving customer satisfaction, meditation, and allegiance. For instance, if a member of staff dealing with a consumer maintains regular eye contact, it proves that he or she is candid with whatever he is saying (Jung & Yoon, 2010). This boosts confidence in the service provider.
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These body movements are also associated with courtesy, and thus customers feel to be valued and acknowledged. According to research conducted in the banking industry, it was identified that employees who regularly maintain eye contact end up building a strong relationship with their customers. The customers perceive such employees, to be honest, thus trusting them.
Generally, a smile is considered to be one of the non-verbal communications that best shows interpersonal warmth. Workers who smile at their patrons build a satisfying relationship with them. Customers feel to be appreciated, thus willing to relate with the service providers. Staff who smile at their patrons are alleged to be affable and obliging.
This makes customers trust in them and always feel to be well attended whenever they do any transaction with them. Giving a smile when receiving and seeing off customers leads to them having a perception that the organization is customer friendly.
Combining different non-verbal cues leads to the effect of becoming even greater (Tsai & Huang, 2002). For instance, when an employee accompanies a smile with eye contact, the customers being attended not only feel to be warmly received, but they also believe that the employee is earnest with his or her service delivery.
When a customer gets into a business premise and is received with a smile, he or she responds by smiling and immediately develops the perception that he or she is cared for by the person attending to him. Such a customer feels to be treated with a high degree of respect and is always willing to come back to the business.
There are situations where nodding notably contributes to customer satisfaction. This is especially in businesses offering professional services such as legal institutions. Services offered in these institutions call for intensive interpersonal communication and consultations (Jung & Yoon, 2010).
Hence, the involved parties ought to show that they are attentive, considerate, and that they understand what is going on. In such a situation, nodding and maintaining eye contact show that the lawyer does not only understand what the customer is saying but is also compassionate (Gabbott & Hogg, 2001). This leads to the customer cooperating and willingly giving all the required information.
Paralanguage refers to aspects of non-verbal communication, such as the vocal tone, amplitude, fluency, and tone variation. In the business world, customers closely follow employee’s paralanguage to determine the level of his or her confidence in whatever he is saying.
For instance, when relating to patrons in restaurants, it is crucial that a worker uses paralanguage cues that are considered to be in relaxed mode. This would lead to customers perceiving the restaurant as customer-centered rather than work-oriented (Jung & Yoon, 2010).
Conversely, in a business institution that is considered by customers to be task-oriented, such as the banking industry and legal field, staff ought to use paralanguage that is linked to public speaking mode. This would help in portraying one’s proficiency in the field as well as vigor. Eventually, customers would end up trusting in him or her, thus willing to seek his or her assistance.
There comes a time when customers are reluctant to engage in a conversation. At such a time, a service provider may use quicker and louder tonal styles to encourage the customer to participate in the conversation. These non-verbal cues are seen to greatly facilitate in persuading customers that the verbal cues (Gabbott & Hogg, 2001).
This stands for posture and relative distance maintained by employees when attending to their customers. One of the proxemics elements that are most valued, especially in the services industry, is touch. By using this element when attending to customers, employees draw their attention as well as make them actively participate in the transaction, thus affecting the customer’s perception towards them and the organization.
Mostly, customers who get touched by employees tend to submit to all that the employees tell them. For instance, when a beauty therapist touches his or her customers, they are found to have positive attitudes towards the therapist’s business (Sundaram & Webster, 2000).
On the other hand, customers who come into contact with restaurant attendants tend to submit to all the requests made by the attendants. Besides, such customers show affirmative regard for the restaurant attendants.
When dealing with customers, one is expected to maintain a favorable distance: not too close to the customer and also not too far. This helps the customer to communicate with the employee effectively. In the process, the customer is able to evaluate the company and get its clear image. Maintaining a distance when dealing with customers leads to them evaluating the organization favorably.
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Physical appearance is one of the non-verbal cues that speak a lot about the organization as well as the employees. However, this cue is, in most cases, overlooked in informal organizations. One of the features of physical appearance that helps in enhancing buyer satisfaction is physical attractiveness. Generally, employees that are physically attractive find it easy to convince and win customer trust (Jung & Yoon, 2010).
They are also able to sway their clients in making resolutions that favor the organization. Basically, physical attractiveness leads to customers taking one to be friendly and accommodative. Furthermore, physically attractive human resources are considered to be hospitable, clever, and better poised compared with those that are less physically attractive.
Different attires lead to customers having varied perceptions towards the employees and the organization. For instance, people working in legal and banking institutions ought to wear suits and ties for men and gray or black suits for ladies. This leads to customers seeing them be competent and credible in their fields hence willing to work with them.
The color of the attires worn by service providers, to a great extent, sways customers’ discernments (Tsai & Huang, 2002). For example, if employees wear clothes with dark colors, they are considered to be authoritative and superior. On the other hand, staff in lighter attires are perceived to be sociable.
For a long time, organizations have overlooked the role played by non-verbal communication in enhancing customer satisfaction. Non-verbal cues such as kinesics determine the perceptions that customers get once they visit a company. For instance, if a customer is welcomed with a smile on visiting a company for the first time, he or she feels to be acknowledged, thus developing the perception that the company cares for its employees.
Besides, the attires worn by organizational staffs contribute to how the customers evaluate the organization. For companies whose employees wear suits and are smartly dressed, they are taken to be intelligent and competent in their works.
As a result, customers relate well with these companies as they believe that they will get quality services. Paralanguage such as touch helps in convincing customers. This leads to customers having positive regard for the organization and its employees, thus always returning to the company for services or products.
Gabbott, M. & Hogg, G. (2001). The role of non-verbal communication in service encounters: a conceptual framework. Journal of Marketing Management, 17(1/2), pp. 5-26.
Jung, H. S. & Yoon, H. H. (2010).The effects of nonverbal communication of employees in the family restaurant upon customers’ emotional responses and customer satisfaction. International journal of hospitality management, pp.1-9.
Sundaram, D. S. & Webster, C. (2000). The role of nonverbal communication in service encounters. Journal of Services marketing, 14(5), pp. 378-391.
Tsai, W. C. & Huang, Y. M. (2002). Mechanisms linking employee affective delivery and customer behavioral intentions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, pp. 1001-1008.