This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Tony Alessandra explains how important it is to understand your customers and speak to them in their language. I have always believed that communication is key to any relationship, especially with your customer! – Shep Hyken “Edith do you know why we can’t […]
This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post, my colleague Tony Alessandra explains how important it is to understand your customers and speak to them in their language. I have always believed that communication is key to any relationship, especially with your customer! – Shep Hyken
“Edith do you know why we can’t communicate? Because I’m talking in English and you’re listening in dingbat!” Well, maybe Archie Bunker (from the old All in the Family sitcom) could benefit from learning how to communicate in “dingbat”! Then, he could mentally change places with Edith to understand her expectations instead of just his own.
Every day we face the potential for conflict or success in business with different types of people. Conflicts are inevitable, especially in customer service complaints, but the outcome from how you handle dissension is much more controllable. At the very least, you can manage your end of it. You can choose to treat a dissatisfied or irate customer from his perspective, the way he wants to be treated by modifying your own behavior; or you can choose to meet only your own needs – facing consequences such as dissatisfaction, frustration, confusion and, worst yet, a lost customer. It’s up to you.
Modify your spots
“Modify my behavior? Hey, I don’t want to change! And I hate phonies!”
I’m not talking about changing a leopard into an elephant. I mean acting in a sensible, successful way. When someone wants to move at a faster pace, move at that pace. If others want more facts and details, provide them.
But wait? Isn’t it phony to act in a way that isn’t natural for you? I think acting in a way that is responsive to Japanese behavior patterns in a Japanese environment is more likely to be appreciated and accepted there. The result is greater success! It helps dispel the stereotype that has been associated with some tourists who “act themselves” and expect others to do likewise. Of course, anything that’s new feels strange at first, until you get more comfortable with it through repeated practice.
People learn to become more adaptable through education, experience, and maturity. We simply have to allow the opportunity for appropriate behaviors to surface. As I’ve mentioned, if you’re able to put yourself in the other person’s position, you become more open-minded in dealing with him or her. When you understand the way the other person feels comfortable communicating, you can modify your approach to get on the same wavelength. You haven’t changed your own natural behavior. You’ve merely added to it additional consciously learned, behavioral insights and strengths for dealing with different types of people and situations. The best part is that people will teach you how to communicate with them if you’re willing to learn their signals by “reading” and then appropriately responding to them.
Four styles with a difference
Today’s Information Age features dozens of models of our behavioral differences. But they all have one common thread – the grouping of behavior into four categories.
Most explanations of behavioral styles have focused on internal characteristics leading to external behaviors. My model focuses on patterns of observable, external behaviors that each style shows to the rest of the world. Because we can see and hear these external behaviors, it makes it much easier for us to “read” people. Therefore, my model is simple, practical, easy to remember and use, and extremely accurate. My model divides people into four natural, core behavioral types:
So. . . which styles are your customers and how can you adapt to speak their language during customer service encounters?
Dr. Tony Alessandra is the author of 30 business books and Founder of Assessments 24×7 LLC, a company that offers a variety of online assessments
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com. Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article:
Fran Tarkenton Teaches Us to Learn from Failure
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