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The role of nonverbal communication in service encounters

D.S. Sundaram (Assistant Professor of Marketing, Indiana University East, Richmond, Indiana, USA)
Cynthia Webster (Professor of Marketing, Mississippi State University, Mississippi, USA)

Journal of Services Marketing

ISSN: 0887-6045

Article publication date: 1 September 2000


Although the verbal components of service encounters have been investigated, the nonverbal aspects of employee‐customer interactions have remained virtually unexplored in the marketing literature. Thus, the purpose of this paper is to explore the importance of service employees’ nonverbal communication during service interactions. Specifically, a conceptual model is presented that links nonverbal communication (kinesics, paralanguage, proxemics, and physical appearance), customer affect, and consumers’ evaluations of service providers (with respect to credibility, friendliness, competence, empathy, courtesy, and trustworthiness). Further, the importance of nonverbal elements is discussed and managerial implications are given.



Sundaram, D.S. and Webster, C. (2000), "The role of nonverbal communication in service encounters", Journal of Services Marketing, Vol. 14 No. 5, pp. 378-391.




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