Bodyticones: comunicar con el cuerpo

Bodyticons: body language

“Talk to me slowly, I´m in a hurry” could be a very good slogan today in customer service.

The customer needs to be spoken to in a calm tone and that we repeat any information necessary to do what they came to do as quickly as possible.

In times of social distancing and face masks, most of our facial expressions are useless, most of our capacity for expression is restricted. Thus, we are fumbling for new gestures and body language to express our emotions, searching for body emoticons.

Paralinguistic sciences of non-verbal communication have transferred knowledge to the Marketing and Customer Experience fields which, consequently, have idealized the smile as a method of empathy and even success with customers.

In fast food companies, hotel chains, airline companies, utility companies, and other kind of companies, the idea of smiling to the customer was a basic principle to be considered in customer service staff. Smiling was a key element in customer service.

Together with the smile was eye contact and an endless number of facial resources in non-verbal communication, perfectly encoded and organized in order to persuade customers, employees and citizens.

The first breaking point: emotion in the voice

During the telephone customer service the first attempts to transform the smile into verbal language started, later the call center mantras such as “talk with a smile” appeared, and many facilities were set up with mirrors so that operators did not forget to smile during the call.

The second breaking point: emotion in the text

Afterwards, online customer service arrived and the communication with customers migrated to the writing sphere. The efforts of the theory and practice led to the establishment of standards of emotional connection with the customer through the writing, some kind of translation, a way to use the meaning of a text written to inform and add notes and rhetorical twists, with the ability to show a similar empathy to the one in tones and verbal communication gestures. For this, the first emoticons and the modern emojis were firstly used to soften the semantic load of some expressions and later to add the iconic body language to the written language.

The third breaking point: emotion in the body

Nowadays with the use of face masks and social distancing our personal communication is restricted by the inability to communicate using facial expressions. So, what is the new personal communication like? It is a communication without facial expressions and without the emphasis that a smile or a look can add to the words.

Translate and encode body language, communicate almost the same

In times of social distancing and face masks all the facial expressions learned and the eye contact become useless, customer service has become distant and expressionless; however, there are several solutions from other languages that can be learned until they become part of the language of customer experience.

Talk with your hands

There are many occupations and sports that have developed an effective, significant, and coded sign language. Our daily life has learned from these gestures that are used to communicate from a distance.

Moreover, the theater, the dance, and mostly the mime have encoded and developed a wide range of body language and ways of communication which will have to be adapted and part of this body language will be adopted in order to express empathy, trust, solidarity, and emotions.

Body Emojis: Bodyticones

We have observed that rhetorical resources and the resources of empathic language and emotional connection have evolved from the body language to the emojis. In times of pandemic, those who work in Customer Experience are aware of the challenge we are facing: to add and encode new significant gestures that will express empathy, emotional communication, and self-confidence in times of social distancing and face masks. We must become explorers of the mime and sign language in order to adapt and adopt new ways to express the same as the gestures learned before the pandemic