Decipher the Customer Code

It’s not enough to know your customers any more. Today, it’s about knowing each customer. How do get their attention? What’s the best way to talk with them once you have it?

In today’s market, the answer can be different for every customer. So, it’s important for small business owners to tune into those differences and decipher the code.

Researchers, Merrill and Reid1, report there are patterns to the way people interact with each other.  They suggest that two factors influence how people communicate—how strongly they’ll voice an opinion (assertiveness) and how emotional they get in a social setting (responsiveness).

Based on these dimensions, they’ve come up with four different styles.  See if you can identify which of your customers fall into each:

  • Driver: Solid and assertive, they make decisions quickly based on results, so be sure they know the bottom line
  • Analytical: Quiet and solitary, they’re all about facts and figures, so give them some time to make their decision
  • Amiable: Talkative but guarded, it’s about the mutual respect they have with you, so give them time to develop trust
  • Expressive: Loud and talkative, they look to develop relationships that will reward them, so show how you can help them achieve success

Each of us has a preferred style of interacting with others. We will be writing about each of these four types in up coming articles. These articles will then help you start communicating more effectively with each customer.

In our next post we will expand on "Driving Miss Customer".

1 Merrill, D. W. and Reid, R. H.  Personal Styles and Effective Performance, Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Company, 1981.

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