An essential criterion to attain success in business is to possess the ability to be flexible while dealing with different kinds of customers. However, it is easier said than done. Anyone who has ever dealt with customers knows that one cannot apply the same technique to deal with different customers.
This is because customers differ in personality, style of communication, thought process, behavior, and method of making decisions. It is imperative for you to recognize the characteristic social style of individual customers and approach them accordingly. By adapting your approach as per the customer’s style, you can enhance your chance of achieving successful business outcomes. The more adaptive you are, the better will be the results.
But before doing that, you must gain insight about the different types of customer social styles and understand how to tackle them. Let us first get an idea about customer social style.
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What is customer social style?
Customer social style is the approach followed by customers in their interactions. It is their most natural and comfortable way of dealing with people.
Customers can be divided into four personality types: Amiable, Expressive, Analytical, and Driver. Though a customer may display traits of more than one type, eventually it is just one personality style type that dominantly defines his/her behavior. Each style can be recognized by its unique characteristics involving language, thought process, and approach to business. You have to recognize the finer points of each type to be able to handle customers better.
- Amiable Social Style
Customers who possess an amiable social style are agreeable, supportive, responsive, friendly, soft-spoken, and people-oriented by nature. For such people – team work, co-operation, acceptance, and respect of other’s opinion matter a lot. They focus on developing relationships before they indulge in business. Amiable customers may need time to build rapport, but they are quick decision makers. Such customers conduct business with people whom they consider to be trustworthy.
How to tackle amiable customers?
The best way to deal with customers having an amiable personality is to establish a personal relationship with them. Engage them in a lively chat before getting down to business. If you are providing customer support to an amiable customer, emphasize on why your solution or product will meet their requirements. Being agreeable and pointing out low-risk solutions is a good approach to win over such customers.
- Expressive Social Style
A stereotypical expressive social style customer displays enthusiasm, assertion, spontaneity, responsiveness, and creativity. Such customers are charismatic, confident, and engaging. They love to talk a lot and possess strong persuasive skills. For an expressive customer, building relationships is a means to gain power or recognition. They are impatient with details but are happy to focus on the big picture.
How to tackle expressive customers?
People with an expressive personality tend to be slow in making decisions. It is best to deal with them patiently and discuss all aspects of the product/service without going into much detail. Ensure to summarize the main points and present them concisely to draw the complete picture. Also, remember that such people tend to buy products based on the recommendations of people they know. Therefore, keep your best testimonials at hand while dealing with expressive customers.
- Analytical Social Style
Individuals with analytical social style are cautious, rational, thoughtful, and serious. They focus on facts, statistics, and detailed information. Such customers tend to ask many questions but remain reserved in their interactions. They like to follow standard operational procedures and conventional methods of doing things. When making decisions, analytical customers prefer to make informed decisions based on their own judgment and hard facts.
How to tackle analytical customers?
In order to deal with analytical customers, you need to be ready to provide clear and detailed answers. They prefer data, information, or instruction to be presented in an organized manner. A good way to impress such customers is to use specific examples to explain your point. Allow facts to speak for themselves, even as you explain the pros and cons of anything in a systematic manner. Do not forget to offer background data that might help them in making their decision.
- Driver Social Style
People having the driver social style are smart, determined, focused, direct, and action-oriented. They prefer things to happen at a fast pace and lose patience with too much detail or a longwinded answer. Drivers are independent and assertive and do not take much time to make decisions. For them, getting a brief overview of any product or matter is enough to make up their mind. They love to be in control and do things their own way.
How to tackle driver customers?
While dealing with drivers, always be professional and efficient. Since they value time and are task-oriented, try to identify their objective and provide to the point solutions. Steer clear of making small talk with them or providing irrelevant details. Instead, try to convince them with facts and logic. Be concise and relevant in order to appease such customers.