The art of non-verbal communication

Communication and its value

Communication is an essential part of all levels of human life. In the context of collections, the inability to use it properly and effectively often leads to struggles and misunderstandings between businesses and their active and potential customers.

Communication can take different forms that can roughly be grouped under two categories, as you may have guessed, these are verbal and von-verbal Communication. Back in the 1960s, Psychological researchers, at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found that only 7% of our communication takes the form of speech. The remaining 93% of communication between people happens in the form of wordless cues. This means that most of the time, even when we are not talking, we are still communicating with people around us.

A well-known fact is that good communication is the foundation of every successful relationship, both in the personal and the professional sphere. Therefore, it is very important to recognize the importance of non-verbal communication like facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, and tone of voice. The ability to understand and use non-verbal communication, or so-called body language, is a powerful skill that can help connect with others, express what one really means, and build better and more prosperous relationships in all areas of life.

Unless we start using video calls to collect money from our debtors it will be hard for them to recognize our gestures over the phone. So how could we leverage non-verbal communication in collections?

The `voice´  role & Collections

The voice is responsible for a substantial proportion of non-verbal communication – 38% -. The human voice can produce a wide variety of expressions by using pauses, a myriad of tones, and adjusting volume, speed, intonation, emphasis and modulation. It is not just what you say, it is how you say it. When we speak, other people not only hear and identify our voice, but also listen to the words we say. Therefore, the voice is such a powerful communication tool, it naturally shows our real opinions and considerations.

Awareness of the  importance the role of the ´voice´ plays in Collections, an area where complex financial situations are often solved over the phone, is crucial for achieving optimal business and customer experience results. When non-verbal signals match the words someone is saying, it increases trust, clarity, rapport and guarantee both an improved customer engagement, as well as the development of stable payment behaviour. When voice and tone do not correspond to the speech, it can quite easily generate tension, mistrust, and confusion, which in turn may reduce customers’ payment motivation and create a gap between corporate’s objectives and client’s satisfaction.


Everyone can improve on how to communicate non-verbally by learning how to read the body language and additional cues in an interaction with others, and by managing their own. Non-verbal communication is a rapidly flowing back-and-forth process, one that when applied properly, would significantly enhance customer engagement. If your company becomes better at communicating and reading customers’ needs, this will surely translate into increased collection numbers. So next time you are on the phone with a customer, a colleague or even a friend, keep this in mind and use your non-verbal abilities to speak more effectively.