Customer Success

The 4 Types of Customers (and Tips on Handling Them)

Piotr Zolnowski

Do you know what the pros and cons of customer service are? Obviously, a great customer experience translates into higher conversion rates. However, the closer you connect with your customers, the more personalized your approach should be. It can work to your benefits, but can also backfire if you don’t understand that there are different types of clients.

Learn how to handle the 4 most common types of customers in sales and customer service. Why should you consider taking different approach to each group of clients? Because different customers have different personalities, and hence – expectations. The better adjustments to each group you’ll make, the higher customer satisfaction and conversion you’ll get.

In this article, we have segmented customers into 4 groups:

Let’s get to know them on a deeper level.

The 4 types of customers: Drivers, Analysts, Amiables and Expressives

1. The Driver

driver personality

The Driver is the most dynamic and active personality of all types of customers.

Drivers are often taking managing job positions, so expect them to be dominant and controlling. They’re the decisive type, and they like to make decisions fast, but they’re not very detail-oriented.

Drivers are visionaries that see the big picture and all the goals that have to be achieved to get there. They don’t like to analyse too much and prefer to make a decision, even if it’s a bad one.

Driver’s strengths are that they’re very disciplined, independent and productive. They’re decisive, and they get things done, no matter what.

Their weaknesses are that they may have a low level of empathy – Drivers tend to be insensitive and harsh (because they’re focused on pushing things through instead of analysing how people feel about them). They also tend to rush decisions without anticipatingthe consequences. And they hate admitting that they’re wrong! 

How to sell to Drivers?

  1. Keep it short

    Drivers are highly goal-oriented, and that means they value their time. And you should too, by getting straight to the point.

  2. Show them how you’ll help them to achieve their goals

    Don’t talk about your product or service for hours – instead, show them what problems of their business will you solve.

  3. Be professional

    Drivers often occupy managing job positions, they’re professional, and they expect the same from you. Be calm, patient, keep it short and go straight to the point.

  4. Eliminate small talk

    Some types of customers love to get into a chit-chat, but Drivers are not one of them.

How to treat Drivers in customer service?

  • Be confident, but polite – Drivers are self-confident, and so should you. Don’t get overwhelmed by their confidence – use logical arguments to explain the situation, and be polite at the same time.
  • Don’t engage in unnecessary discussion – if you feel that the conversation isn’t going in the right direction, get it back on track. When you’ll get into a scuffle with the Driver, you’ll end up nowhere – they won’t let it go. Drop the fight and aim for resolving the issue.
  • Don’t try to prove they’re wrong – they’re confident, so trying to prove they’re mistaken (even if they’re really are) will only put things on fire. Stick to the point and focus on solutions.
  • Step out of your competence if needed – you can’t always please your customers by giving them what they want. But you can always try – don’t be afraid to speak to your manager or other departments in search of a solution. Even if you fail, inform the Driver that you tried – they’ll appreciate your effort and honesty.

2. The Analyst

analyst personality

This type of customer is highly focused on details. Analysts are often serious and low-energy individuals. They think quality over quantity – they have got very high standards, both professionally, and personally.

Analysts tend to take their time with decisions, and they don’t like to be rushed. They’re often introverts that can be easily pushed outside of the group.

Analysts don’t tend to get along with Drivers, because they often represent two extremes of personalities – one drives things forward without hesitation, while the other one tends to analyse and plan, making careful decisions.

Analysts’ strength lies in attention to details. They literally see every small thing that other types of customers miss, even if it’s not relevant. They also tend to be perfectionists – they set up a high level of standards, and they want stuff to be PERFECT!

Their biggest weakness is that they tend to overanalyze, which may hold them back from making a decision (but once they take a course, they’re unlikely to change it). They don’t like to be rushed, and can be moody, critical, and have a negative attitude.

How to sell to Analysts?

  • Speak with data – Analysts don’t like beautiful words and unfulfilled, marketing promises. Show them the data on how your product or service helped one of your customers to convince them to buy.
  • Expect long sales process – Analysts are slow decision makers. Give them some time to make up their mind, and prepare for advanced questions (probably the ones you’ve never heard before).
  • Avoid putting too much pressure – since they tend to be indecisive, it’s important to give them enough time to process information. Instead of rushing them, make sure that all their questions are covered.
  • Help them to get off the details – since Analysts love to analyze, they can focus on irrelevant details – if they do, help them gently to get back on the track.

How to treat Analysts in customer service?

  • Don’t get too personal – this type of personality tends to keep their distance, so try not to force a personal connection. It could be a good idea to engage Analysts with non-human customer service (pssst, you could cover that part with Tidio Chatbots).
  • Have a LOT of patience – Analysts analyse a lot, and that means that taking care of their issues may take longer than usual.
  • Prepare for detailed questions – it’s very likely that an Analyst will skip most common questions and proceed to advanced details. And sometimes even experienced customer service agents won’t know the answers. In that case, make sure to promise an answer, look for it, and contact the Analyst with a follow-up.
  • Have advanced knowledge – as mentioned before, Analysts often look for in-depth knowledge. Make sure you either have it, or you know where to look for it (e.g. a knowledge base or more experienced work colleague).

3. The Amiable

amiable personality

The Amiable type of customer is someone who is sociable and great at forming relationships with other people. Amiables are calm, friendly, and outgoing.

They like to establish a personal connection before making a business decision. Since they’re highly empathic, they’re also great listeners. Amiables like to ask personal questions to get to know you better.

The strength of Amiables is that they’re easy and outgoing – they’re good with people, and they’re easy to get along with. They’re highly emphatic, which makes them great team players. They avoid conflicts, which makes it a strength and weakness at the same time (they may be unassertive and hold back).

How to sell to Amiables?

  • Build a personal connection – Amiables love to form relationships with other people, so approach them with a friendly and warm attitude. They’re looking for trustworthy  partners, so make sure they feel safe and comfortable with your business.
  • Act as a personal advisor – this type of customer values having someone to help them with a decision process step-by-step. Act as a friendly-neighbourhood salesman and guide them through the decision-making process.
  • Give them a personal assurance – Amiables are not risk-taking individuals, so ensuring them that they can get a refund when not satisfied (or that they can cancel without any cost) can be a great way to push them towards conversion.
  • Show interest in their needs – ask many questions – it’s a clear sign of your concern and care, and that’s what Amiables value.

How to treat Amiables in customer service?

  • Be warm and friendly – Amiables love to form partnerships with people they trust, so give them a lot of patience, warmth, and friendliness.
  • Ask many questions – asking them detailed questions regarding their issues (even if these questions detour from the subject’s matter a little) shows that you care about providing the best solution possible.
  • Small talk is allowed – since Amiables are very sociable and love to talk, you can do some chit-chat here. It’ll help these customers to feel more comfortable, just remember not to overdo it – it’s still business!

4. The Expressive

expressive personality

The Expressive are the emotional type of customer. They are full of positive energy, talk a lot, and love to get attention. They also have got a great sense of humor – they spread positive energy all around them.

Expressives’ main strength is that they’re highly sociable. They’re very outgoing (just like Amiables), but are much more charismatic, persuasive, and ambitious.

The weaknesses of Expressives may lie in their lack of organisation – they’re often undisciplined, talkative and lose focus of their goals.

How to sell to Expressives?

  • Explain how they’ll benefit from your product or service  – focus on showing them some examples, e.g. case studies. Don’t present too much data – Expressives prefer real-life examples.
  • Aim for a long-term partnership – just like Amiables, Expressives want to build a trusted partnership. Make sure to treat them like potential long-term partners rather than a one-time customer.
  • Speak based on your experience – these customers are sociable and value the opinion of others, so feel free to share your thoughts on what’s the best for them.
  • Show social proof – since Expressives are highly interested in how their decisions impact others, they’re also easily convinced with solutions that worked for other customers.

How to treat Expressives in customer service?

  • Let them blow the steam off – Expressives are full of energy, so don’t stop them from releasing it (especially when they’re angry). After they’re done, proceed with resolving the issue.
  • Be empathic – show them that their problem is your problem. Use statements like “I can understand how frustrating it is when…” to show them that you understand their emotions and that you want to help.
  • Prepare for a high level of energy – it’s just how Expressives are. Don’t misunderstand their steam, especially when you’re a lower-energy individual.
  • Approach them friendly – it’s easy to form a connection with Expressives by mirroring their friendly attitude.

Conclusion: flexibility is the key

The crucial thing to keep in mind is that you’ll probably won’t meet a lot of customers that perfectly fit just one of the aforementioned groups – most of them will be a mix of different personality types.

The best strategy is to get to know these four, core types of customers, recognise the client you’re dealing with, and then adjust your communication strategy.

That should bring the best out of your sales and customer service!

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