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Mehrabian’s Rule

In customer service not only what you say but how you say it. In certain kinds of essential customer interactions – customers weight your message as 7% your word choice, 38% tone and 55% body language. This is known as Mehrabian’s rule*, and it applies when there is some dissonance between tone, word choice and body language. For example if you say, “how may I help you today with a slouch and bored tone people will weight the slouch and the tone as 93% of your message.

As a business owner, consider ways that you can teach your front line service people this powerful rule. Consider tactics such as role-playing and specific standards of service as ways to help your employees get this right.

In other words, people can learn customer service behaviors. In Business Kung Fu we go a step beyond behaviors and teach you how to develop a culture of service.

Another thing to consider is the raw material you are working with. The best service organizations in the world are known to “hire smiles.” In other words they look for people who already have the basic people skills and manners in place, and they polish them so they really shine.

*the actual results of his study are often misrepresented, and some people try to say that this is how people weight communication in general. Not true, your word choice is very important! It’s just that if you give people any reason to doubt your sincerity they will lean heavily on other indicators of your true message.

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