26 Customer Service Body Language Do's and Don'ts for the Best Customer Interactions

For customer service, communication extends far beyond mere words. While verbal interactions play a necessary role in addressing customer needs and concerns, it is often the nonverbal cues that leave a lasting impression.

Customer Service Body Language

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In this article, we review the importance of customer service body language and give a list of practical do's and don'ts to practice. And finally, we offer some tips on how to improve these nonverbal cues.

What is Customer Service Body Language

Customer service body language encompasses the many nonverbal signals and cues conveyed by service representatives during interactions with customers. From facial expressions to posture, gestures to eye contact, every subtle movement and expression can shape the customer's perception of the service encounter.

Why It is Important to Pay Attention to Body Language in Customer Service

Customers subconsciously interpret nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures, and posture, to gauge the sincerity, empathy, and professionalism of service representatives. Positive body language can convey confidence, trustworthiness, and genuine interest. This can bring a sense of connection and rapport with the customer.

Conversely, negative body language, such as avoiding eye contact, crossing arms, or displaying disinterest, can lead to misinterpretation, distrust, and dissatisfaction.

According to UCLA professor emeritus Albert Mehrabian, nonverbal cues, including body language, account for up to 55% of communication effectiveness. This is followed with 38% attributed to tone of voice and only 7% to the actual words spoken. His conclusions are affectionately known as the 7-38-55 Rule.

26 Customer Service Body Language Do's and Don'ts

Let's look at several ways to convey the right message to customers with body language, and some to avoid:


Maintain Eye Contact

Establish trust and show attentiveness by maintaining appropriate eye contact with the customer.

Smile Genuinely

Smile warmly to create a welcoming atmosphere and demonstrate positivity.

Use Open Posture

Keep your body language open by facing the customer directly and avoiding crossed arms.

Mirror the Customer

Subtly mirror the customer's body language to build rapport and create a connection.

Lean Slightly Forward

Show interest and engagement by leaning slightly forward during conversations.

Nod in Agreement

Show active listening and understanding by nodding appropriately during the conversation.

Gesture with Open Hands

Use hand gestures to emphasize points, but keep your palms open to appear non-threatening.

Maintain a Neutral Tone

Speak in a calm and neutral tone to convey professionalism and approachability.

Be Mindful of Personal Space

Respect the customer's personal space by maintaining an appropriate distance.

Use Facial Expressions

Display facial expressions that match the tone of the conversation to express empathy and understanding.

Offer a Handshake (if appropriate)

Initiate a handshake as a friendly greeting if cultural norms permit and the situation is suitable.

Lean Back in Comfort

When appropriate, lean back slightly to signal relaxation and confidence.

Stay Relaxed

Keep your body language relaxed and natural to appear approachable and trustworthy.

Thank the Customer

Express gratitude with your body language when the interaction concludes, such as with a nod or a smile.


Avoid Excessive Fidgeting

Minimize fidgeting or nervous movements that may convey insecurity or discomfort.

Don't Cross Your Arms

Crossing your arms can signal defensiveness or closed-mindedness, so keep your arms open.

Avoid Looking Distracted

Stay focused on the customer and avoid distractions like checking your phone or looking around the room.

Don't Slouch

Maintain good posture to convey confidence and professionalism; slouching can give the impression of laziness or disinterest.

Avoid Rapid Movements

Sudden or jerky movements can be unsettling, so strive for smooth and controlled gestures.

Don't Roll Your Eyes

Avoid displaying negative expressions like eye-rolling, which can be interpreted as disrespectful or dismissive.

Avoid Crossing Legs

Crossing legs can create a barrier between you and the customer, so keep your legs uncrossed and feet planted firmly on the ground.

Avoid Looking Bored

Maintain an engaged expression and avoid appearing bored or disinterested in the conversation.

Don't Interrupt

Show respect for the customer's thoughts and opinions by refraining from interrupting them.

Avoid Excessive Hand Gestures

While hand gestures can enhance communication, excessive or erratic gestures may be distracting or confusing.

Don't Point Fingers

Pointing fingers can come across as accusatory or aggressive, so use open-handed gestures instead.

Avoid Overly Stiff Posture

While good posture is important, being overly stiff can make you appear rigid or unapproachable.

Tips for Improving Customer Service Body Language

  • Practice Active Listening

    Active listening requires hearing the customer and also understanding their needs and concerns. Practice focused eye contact, nodding in agreement, and providing other nonverbal cues that indicate understanding and empathy.

  • Solicit Feedback

    Seeking feedback from colleagues, supervisors, or even customers themselves can provide valuable insights into one's body language and communication style.

  • Perform Self-Assessment

    Engaging in self-assessment by recording interactions or observing oneself in a mirror can help identify areas for improvement and refine nonverbal communication skills.

  • Use Role-playing Exercises

    By assuming various roles and scenarios, individuals can experiment with different nonverbal cues, gestures, and facial expressions to enhance their communication effectiveness and adaptability.

  • Leverage Training Resources

    Take advantage of training programs, workshops, or online resources that focus on customer service, communication skills, and body language.

The Bottom Line: Actions Can Speak Louder Than Words, Even in Customer Service

By understanding the significance of body language in customer interactions and incorporating the tips provided above for improvement, service professionals can elevate their communication effectiveness. From practicing active listening to self and colleague feedback, good nonverbal communication can build trust and loyalty with customers.

The ability to communicate effectively through both verbal and nonverbal means remains a critical skill for customer service professionals. By continuously refining their communication skills, service providers can create meaningful connections, exceed customer expectations, and contribute to the long-term success of their organizations.

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