Customer Service Training Using DISC

27 Oct, 2016 / by Christina Bowser

The goal of Customer Service training using DISC profiles is to provide useful tools to better our skills to interact with clients, customers, and others. All people, regardless of their DISC profiles, can use these simple and effective steps to be more self-aware and work more successfully.

The first step in a DISC Customer Service Training is to accept there is no ideal customer service style. Rather than focusing on an ideal type, use the tools in DISC training to recognize diversity of roles, situations and people to improve your customer service skills. The most successful people are keenly self-aware and have the ability to adjust their styles to meet the demands of changing roles and settings.

Customer Service training

Customer Service training and DISC profiles

Different people and settings require different customer service DISC profiles. The four quadrant DISC model defines basic human behavior. Each of the D, I, S, and C-styles identify a quadrant. People possess a range of styles on the DISC Model. The DISC styles can be used to reflect and understand the different customer service styles.

The Extended DISC Customer Service Report provides a map to improving interactions with others. Combine the DISC report with our 4 Step approach for a highly effective DISC Customer Service training.

4 Steps to an effective DISC Customer Service training

Using a simple 4 step approach to DISC customer service training provides a practical approach to more effective customer service. The process is simple, yet powerful. Also, this approach enhances and reinforces what we may already know and do. We often are already self-aware.  We know that we are decisive, people-oriented, task-focused, etc. The tool simply reminds us, by using DISC, that we have a preferred ways of doing things. It also reminds us that others may have different ways of doing things.

You can use this approach beyond face-to-face customer service interactions. It works on the phone, in emails, and more. Therefore, we built the Extended DISC Customer Service Report and support materials on this simple and highly effective Customer Service Training 4 Step approach.

  • Understanding the four main DISC styles.
  • Identify one’s own DISC customer service style and how others perceive you.
  • Reading other people’s DISC profiles to better understand them.
  • Adjusting your communication style to achieve your goals.

Understanding the four main customer service DISC profiles

D-style customer service profile

A D-style stresses a more direct and assertive customer service style. The D-style prefers to be in charge. D-styles are also a highly focused and results-oriented style. The D-style often applies pressure to quickly attain results.They prefer to talk and others to listen. He or she will focus on tasks, speed, and quick outcomes.

I-style customer service profile

I-styles are talkative, outgoing and friendly. They enjoy the interaction and excel at influencing others. The I-style communicates well by inspiring and selling the product or message. I-styles focus on positives. Similar to D-styles, the I-styles are not interested in details or active listeners.

S-style customer service profile

S-styles are more reserved, but amiable. The S-style prefers people they know. They are polite, reliable, friendly, and patient. S-styles are great listeners and will answer customers' questions thoroughly and calmly when asked. S-styles prefer to talk about topics they have mastered. They create trust and work best in one-on-one situations. They can be too accommodating and say "yes" to readily.

C-style customer service profile

A C-style the most reserved of the four DISC styles. They are most comfortable with written communication (e.g., email follow-ups) versus face-to-face customer service. C-styles communicate with lots of details and facts, but can be quieter and shy. They are very diplomatic and don't express disagreeing views. C-styles may not see the big picture or focus on opinions or abstract matters. C-styles are the ones who spend time understanding the services or products. They are the ones you tend to go if you have questions or problems.

Identifying one’s own DISC customer service style

Clearly, the most successful customer service professionals come from all different DISC profiles. D-styles are decisive and get things done. I-styles are charismatic and friendly. S-styles are helpful and easy-going. C-styles know their product and services. Each customer service professional's DISC style brings its own set of strengths, but also areas of development.

The Extended DISC Profiles clearly show the person’s two DISC-styles. The Natural DISC Style identifies who a person really is. This style remains fairly stable, but not rigid, over the adult lifetime. Natural Style is the style that is the most comfortable or preferred way of doing things. It requires the least amount of focus, energy and effort. It is also the behavioral style that others are most likely to observe in the person. In other words, it is one’s “true style”.

Secondly, the Adjusted DISC Style identifies how one perceives a need to adjust DISC style to better suit the demands of the present work environment. As a result, this style depends on the setting and changes as the environment changes. Events such as a new position, a new boss, or a new job typically change one’s “adjusted style”. Remember, a person's Adjusted Style is based on one’s own perception. It does not mean it’s what one should do, but shows what he or she feels the needs to do.

Use the DISC report to learn more about one's DISC style including your strengths and areas of development. Remember, how we view our DISC style may be different from how others see it.

Reading other people’s styles to better understand them

Just as each DISC customer service style brings strengths, know that each also has areas that also need to be constantly and consciously developed. D-styles need to consider others and know when to not take too many risks. I-styles need to stay organized and maintain focus on the end goals. S-styles need to take action, decide more quickly, and think “outside the box.” C-styles need to focus on people then details and facts.  C-styles need to be less critical and more flexible when things don’t go as planned or surprises come up.

Once people have identified their own styles, the next step is to identify the styles of others. Knowing the style of others allows one to make the most effective behavioral modifications. We can only make changes in our on style. We can't control the styles of others. This is a skill that takes some practice, but is easy to learn and use.

Customer service reps learn to observe what others talks about and the types of words they use. They pay attention to the words used, tone of voice and body language. Remind people that observing behaviors will become second nature with practice. Use the Extended DISC Diamond to assess whether people are more task-oriented versus people-oriented styles and more reserved versus active styles. Using these tools to identify others’ styles results in better understanding of others. Refer to the Customer Service Report section How to Identify Other's Styles.

Adjusting your communication style to achieve your goals

Successful customer service reps are actively aware of their styles. They know who they are. Top customer service people are aware of their strengths, but do not overuse them. Also, they are keenly aware of the areas they need to improve upon and do not deny or ignore them.

Highly effective customer service reps are aware that they need to modify their behavior to suit each exchange and setting. The top customer service reps are able to identify others’ styles and modify their own style. They are always mindful and present. Use the customized tips in the Customer Service Report to remind people of things to do and not do when communicating with different styles.

Using the Extended DISC report in Customer Service Training

Target specific sections of the Customer Service DISC Report including those noted above. Look at on Your Communication Style and How Others View It. Key point is that how we see are own way to interacting is not always the same as how others see us. Also, have people review Your Customer Service Style section. Are there items that are needed to do the job well? If so, does it come naturally or are there changes that need to be made?

Have your workshop members locate where their natural style falls for these targeted behaviors. Identify the behaviors you need to be further developed. Also, look at the ones that are more comfortable to you. Once you determine the best adjustments to make, practice until it becomes a habit! Use the tips section, “Improving Your Customer Service Style” to further improve their abilities as customer service leaders.

Customer Service Training tips for managers

Additionally, as managers consider using the DISC data beyond reports. Consider using the DISC profiles to select customer services workers who best fit specific settings. For example, are there DISC profiles that work better in a fast paced setting with lots of new people contact? Others DISC styles prefer ongoing client relations and focus on follow up. Managers can also use DISC profiles to track workers in specific roles and settings. For example, are there DISC styles who have higher turn over rates? Are the most successful workers a specific DISC profile? Do certain DISC profile groups need more training and support. Also, you can learn more about using DISC beyond profiles by viewing our webinar Using DISC Profiles Beyond Reports.

Final Thoughts

Practicing the 4 Step approach and using all tools is even more important in our digital age. Customer service is no longer just a face-to-face session with a customer. We need to consider all forms of customer service such as phones, emails, and the internet. We need to learn to observe the way emails are written or speaking styles on the phone. Each time there is a contact with a prospect or client we need to be aware of our DISC style and the DISC style of the client or prospect.

The most successful customer service reps are determined, in a very large part, by how well they interact. We think of our job working with prospects, clients and customers, but we also need to think of our managers and coworkers. There is one major takeaway from a Customer Service Training. Relating, motivating, influencing and communicating better with others is the key. Adapting and adjusting your DISC style can lead to better customer experience for all types of customers.

Finally, use our Extended DISC VIP Client Resource website for more information on Customer Service Training. As our client you have access to training resources so make the best use of it!

Topics: DISC Training

Christina Bowser

Written by Christina Bowser