The Role of Non-verbal Communication in Service Encounters: A Conceptual Framework
This paper presents a synthesis of the work in the psychology and anthropology disciplines concerning nonverbal behaviour and applies this knowledge to the understanding and management of service encounters. As face to face service encounters are primarily social occasions when the rules and norms of social interaction apply, then an understanding of the way that consumers interpret non-verbal interaction is crucial to an understanding of how service encounters are managed and evaluated. The paper considers a number of aspects of service delivery that impact on the interpretation of nonverbal cues and the participant characteristics that effect this interpretation. Finally the paper provides a number of suggestions for the management of encounters, selection and training of employees and further research into this area.