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Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

When your business is all about offering service and quality experiences for customers, it is important to know about different types of customers and what motivates and encourages them to buy and be loyal. Although each customer is unique and should be treated as an individual, there are essentially four broad personality types that apply in retail and service environments.

Understanding personality types = more effective customer service training

It is not necessarily the case that one customer personality type is preferable to others. However, if your organisation is committed to quality service, awareness and understanding of different personality types can certainly increase the effectiveness of customer service training and deliver great outcomes, including increased profit, market share and brand reputation.

‘The Director’:

Customers who are comfortable taking charge and know what they want and when they want it, fit the Director personality type. These people may present as demanding and can seem intimidating and unwilling to consider alternative viewpoints.

A customer with a Director type personality will typically refuse small talk, preferring to ascertain facts, determine the relevance of a product or service and make decisions without delay. Directors have clear goals and want the best value for the lowest price within the timeframes they set.

When dealing with a Director:

  • Give facts clearly and immediately — small talk should not cause unnecessary delays
  • Remember brevity and clarity are appreciated
  • Note that Directors often respond well to compliments about their direct style and decisiveness
  • Allow them to make their own decisions; keep your suggestions short and relevant; never offer roadblocks to their goal.

‘The Analyst’:

Customers with an analytical type personality, unsurprisingly, often represent professions such as accountancy, engineering and science, where research, accuracy and analysis are critical. Analysts seek information and assess all possibilities before making a decision.

Analysts love facts, details and descriptions of products and services, and effective sales training programs cover these aspects of working with customers of this personality type. It can be useful to understand that Analysts read manuals and the fine print and value this more than attempts made at small talk when they are in a retail environment.

When dealing with an Analyst:

  • Provide facts and data and ensure all your statements are backed up with relevant information
  • Be upfront with the customer and direct them to detailed labelling and information (if available) for a product
  • Feel comfortable asking the customer why they have come to your store and invite them to share their knowledge and research into a product or service. Asking the opinion of an Analyst is often a compliment to them.

‘The Belonging/Relater’:

People who feel a strong need to be part of a group fit the Relater/Belonging customer personality profile. Your store or service is likely to become part of such a customer’s network and be included on their list of ‘go to’ providers. Because of their networks, these customers know someone who knows someone who can assist them to get what they want.

When dealing with the Belonging type:

  • Ask their opinions of products and services
  • Include them at all costs — they crave to feel a part of the decision-making process
  • Remember that they will share their perceptions and experiences of your staff and store with others (including management) and can be an amazing source of referral and word-of-mouth promotion.

‘The Socialiser’:

Socialisers love conversation and establishing new relationships.

Socialisers want to create new friendships. They cannot be treated in the same way as an Analyser or Director and bombardment with facts and statistics will repel them. In contrast to customers fitting the Belonging type, loyalty is not as vital to Socialisers as they shop in a variety of places that they have established relationships.

When dealing with a Socialiser:

  • Give compliments liberally — Socialisers love to give but also receive compliments
  • Remember and use their name
  • Make them feel important; they want this
  • Remember that it is not just about the merchandise; the relationship matters greatly
  • Understand that you are selling yourself. A Socialiser will not buy from you unless they like you
  • Try to keep the experience fun and social but keep them focused — your goal is still to sell to them.

Understanding the different personality types of customers can help you to provide more targeted and effective service that meets the customer’s needs and strengthens the profit and position of your company.

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