Seeing the Unseen: The Art of Unconscious Perception and Silent Communication in Customer Relationship (or with whoever you want)

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Luciano Souza

Fuerza occasionally invites professionals from various fields to discuss the impact of technology on their fields. These are people we admire and follow. And today, with the floor, a great partner, friend, and collaborator.

In the dynamic world of customer relationships, unconscious perceptions play a fundamental role, often determining the success or failure of an interaction before a word is even spoken. Let’s explore how these subliminal perceptions influence customer relationships and how you can leverage them to create positive and lasting experiences. Mastering these perceptions emerges as a powerful tool, capable of creating deeper connections and mutual understanding between you and your customers. Through observation and interpretation, it is possible not only to communicate more effectively but also to understand customers’ needs and emotions at a deeper level.

Our brain processes an immense amount of information unconsciously. This means that both customers and you are constantly interpreting signals and forming impressions without full awareness of it. These perceptions, though hidden, shape expectations, attitudes, and behaviors.

The first impression is a classic example of how unconscious perceptions operate. A positive first impression can create the ‘halo effect’, where the customer tends to see everything you do in a positive light, as if it were emanating light. Have you ever heard phrases like “that person lights up the room,” “that person is brilliant”? Sometimes we don’t even know the person. Our brain is a skillful judge and interpreter (often mistaken). There are numerous factors that can cause this effect: from adaptive appearance, vast culture, body posture, positive communication. Are you curious? Let’s explore more about this…

On the other hand, a negative first impression can be difficult to reverse and can negatively color all subsequent interactions. And since that gelatinous mass inside our head loves to play tricks on us, let’s learn how to make sure that this ‘halo effect’ is true or just a performance, and then you will learn to be genuine.

The Tone of Voice and Its Nuances

The tone of your voice and its nuances are like music guiding a dance. Your dancers will dance to this music. The tone of voice can convey a variety of emotions and intentions. Even over the phone, where body language is not visible, tone of voice plays a crucial role in forming unconscious perceptions. Here are some tips to learn how to lead this dance:

The Impact and Formation of Unconscious Expectations

Both customers and you enter an interaction with a set of unconscious expectations, also known as implicit expectations. These expectations can be based on past experiences, stereotypes, or prejudices. Customer service professionals who are aware of these hidden expectations are better equipped to address and overcome them. It is natural that during the customer relationship process, at various moments, they will verbalize these expectations, experiences, and even prejudices. Stay alert! With confidence and established connection, you will have the freedom to address topics that lead the customer to open up more. Ready to master the conversation? Let’s go:

Understanding the Customer without Words: Posture, Gestures, and Facial Expressions.

In building a relationship with the customer, every gesture, facial expression, and posture can provide valuable clues about the emotional state and needs of the customer. Recognizing these signals allows you to address concerns not expressed verbally, building a bridge of empathy and trust. These readings can reveal a lot about the customer’s emotional state. So here we go:

The Power of Active and Empathetic Listening

Nonverbal language in customer service is not limited to interpreting customer signals but also involves how you present yourself and react. Maintaining eye contact, nodding in understanding, and maintaining an open and welcoming posture are ways to demonstrate active listening and empathy, essential for quality service and relationship building. We must convey to the customer that they are the main focus of our attention. Want some examples?

Mirroring: A Reflection of Commitment

Mirroring, a technique where the professional subtly imitates the client’s body language, can be an effective strategy for creating a sense of affinity and understanding. This doesn’t mean copying every movement, but rather adapting your own nonverbal behavior to reflect that of the client, showing respect and harmony with their feelings. Research your client on social media, understand their likes and how they dress. If your client is laid-back and loves wearing metal band t-shirts, you certainly shouldn’t attend to them in a dress shirt and gelled hair. Visual affinity happens in seconds, so why not be in sync with the client? Adapt your vocabulary to match the client’s during the conversation.

The Importance of Coherence between Verbal and Nonverbal Communication

The congruence between what is said and what is expressed through nonverbal language is crucial. Inconsistencies can lead to distrust or confusion. Authenticity in nonverbal expression strengthens the trust and credibility of the professional. These perceptions are inherent to human beings and occur naturally all the time. Often these “messages” are what we call “sixth sense.” So, let’s look at some examples:

The Key to All Doors

A genuine smile is perhaps one of the most powerful tools in building a strong relationship. It conveys warmth and kindness. But beware: it must be authentic. Lying or concealing feelings is not natural to humans. Your body will reveal the truth. A smile can be used to express joy, sarcasm, nervousness, or to relieve tension in difficult situations. The difference between them is easily perceived by anyone.

Try this: smile at someone randomly on the street. It’s almost certain that you will receive another smile in return. The door is open. It’s the universal signal of immediate transmission of affection, receptivity, and an attempt at genuine connection. Do another test: force a smile at someone and notice the reaction on their face.

This is all about humanizing the relationship with the Customer

By nurturing an awareness of these subliminal factors and developing skills to manage them effectively, customer service and relationship professionals can significantly elevate the quality of their interactions, resulting in more satisfied and loyal customers. In this scenario, the real difference lies not only in what is said or done, but in what is perceived and felt on a deeper, often unconscious level. Mastering non-verbal language is more than just understanding gestures and expressions; it’s about humanizing interactions, creating an environment of warmth and understanding. It’s the art of listening not only with the ears, but with the eyes, the heart, and intuition. In an increasingly online world, where human interactions are precious, non-verbal language and unconscious perception are the keys to exceptional customer service and building a solid relationship, turning each interaction into an opportunity to understand, sell, and serve better.

All images accompanying this article were generated through AI using the DALL-E platform.

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