How Social Styles Can Improve Your Customer Experience I would be lying if I told you that I’ve always gotten along with my co-workers and have never worked with a difficult person before. In fact, I’m sure that you can identify someone right now who is hard to work with and can be a real pain on a daily basis. Customers calling in to resolve their problem can also be hard to work with and make it difficult to figure out a solution. They might be too angry, not very talkative, or uncooperative. These situations can be frustrating, and can be detrimental to your employees, your overall customer service, and the customer’s experience. What if I told you that there was a way to better deal with customers and with each other? That’s the basis of Social Styles®, which is the world’s leading behavioral style model. Founded by the Tracom Group, it’s been used by thousands of organizations around the world to help improve relationships, leadership performance, and sales. There are four unique social styles: Analytical, Amiable, Driving, and Expressive. The Four Social Styles Analytical Style people are thinkers. They need a lot of information before making decisions, so they often ask a lot of questions. A closer look shows that they have the need to be right, and their biggest area for growth is making a point to speak their mind. Amiable Style people are focused on relationships. They openly show emotions and are often seen as friendly and warm. Amiable people need personal security, and struggle at initiating things. Driving Style people prefer to control their emotions and are often seen as efficient and assertive. Driving people need results, and they are quick to act but slow to listen. Expressive Style people are creative and enjoy sharing their ideas and perspectives with others. Ultimately, they need personal approval, and thrive off of spontaneity. Work on Yourself These Social Styles help you understand how to best manage your own attitude and understand why others respond the way they do to a given situation. Armed with this understanding, it allows for people to work more in tune with each other, catering to strengths and avoiding weaknesses. Work With Each Other These four Social Styles aim to help co-workers get along with each other, since they help us understand where each person is coming from and how they communicate. This provides value in the contact center world as well, since working together and functioning as a team of agents is imperative for quality customer service. For example: A Driving has a disagreement with an Amiable, because the Driving is acting without listening to the Amiable, and the Amiable has been hiding how they feel about this until now. However, both co-workers know their own Social Style, so they resolve their issue because the Driving takes the time to listen to the Amiable, and the Amiable finally is able to say what they were feeling. Work With Customers We are social people. Think about when customers call in, email, or chat with their problems. To resolve their issues, it takes some type of social interaction. Social Styles impact every social interaction and the customer experience as a whole. With an understanding of these Social Styles, it’s easier to identify how customers communicate, how to effectively manage difficult situations, and what to say to put the customer at ease and give them a great experience. For example: An agent is having an interaction with a customer that is asking question after question, and the agent knows this line of dialogue is not leading to a resolution. As the interaction continues the agent becomes marginally confrontational in an innocent attempt to gain control of the conversation. When the customer does not respond well to this and continues the questions, the agent realizes this could be due to the customer being Analytical Style. By recognizing this, the agent knows to begin answering the questions directly and to provide other context he or she knows will resolve the issue. Understanding the customer’s social style leads to an experience that is aligned with the customer, rather than the company or agent needs. At the end of the day, it’s all about understanding where people are coming from, being cooperative with each other, and putting yourself in their shoes in a more deliberate way. This is the kind of insight and thought leadership that can be leveraged when working with a contact center partner. By understanding and applying the Social Styles across multiple industries and personalities, we become more skilled in our ability to build and execute on a customer experience strategy that is aligned with your company needs and, more importantly, your customer’s needs. How could Social Styles improve how your organization operates and builds the customer experience? Get more information on Social Styles. Bobbie Jo Barry Bobbie Jo Barry has more than 19 years of contact center experience in multiple areas, including designing client facing solutions, managing day to day operations of two contact centers, leading workforce management and contact center managers to success, managing client relationships, and providing employees with a foundation for success. She has vast experience with omnichannel solutions and various business technologies, including design and implementation of CRM/ticketing systems and IVR applications. She has proven her ability to innovate and create successful tailored solutions for clients, as well as adapt to the client's changing needs.