As a training professional for nearly 30 years, I’ve observed that effective customer service training includes helping representatives identify their social style. This tends to help improve issue resolution rates, customer satisfaction and loyalty. By personalizing customer service, you can reduce the effort it takes for individual customers to solve their problems. Providing all customers with the same experience may not produce the best results.
Most people respond situations in one of four ways: feeling, expressing, analyzing or controlling. You may also have a secondary style in addition to your dominant personality style. You may tend to ask people things or tell people thinks. When under stress, you may tend to acquiesce, attack, avoid or assign. People tend to have trouble relating to others who think the opposite way. For example, if you tend to be expressive, you may have difficulty relating to analytical types.
Adapting your communication style to the personality of your customer helps you handle sensitive situations more carefully. By understanding how customers perceive your tone, attitude and actions, you can respond appropriately. For example, you may think you are acting logically and disciplined. Your customer, however, may perceive you as critical and unemotional. By becoming more conscious how you react, you can use personality to your advantage.
Coach subordinates by observing their behavior on the job. Compliment them on strategies that help the customers get what they need faster. Guide them on techniques that improve communication flow and enable customers to receive information that gives them a greater likelihood of solving their problem. On-the-job coaching enables collaboration between experienced employees and less savvy customer service representatives. You can also stage role-playing activities to practice responding in a different personality type.
If a customer’s issue is complex, get hints regarding the customer’s mood by asking questions that help you diagnose the problem. You should also find out what the customer’s expectations are for the timing of a resolution. The answers can reveal the customer’s personality type and help you handle the situation with emotional intelligence. Analytical customers may want more details than expressive customers. With practice, you can judge this within the first three minutes of a phone call or interaction.