The colours of customer service

In my previous blog I talked about the colours of yellow and blue: two behavioural styles from the DISC personality profile. A keen eye for detail, accuracy and caution are typical of blue behaviour, while yellow behaviour is characterized by taking the initiative, a short attention span, creativity and a high degree of interaction with others.

 

Red and green are polar opposites

I’d now like to take a closer look at the two other DISC profile colours: red and green. We see the red behavioural style in people with dominant characters who are very forceful and decisive. Directly across from red in the DISC profile is the green behavioural style – people who are more socially oriented with a focus on harmony and collaboration.

If we consider the different departments involved in the supply chain, there is one particular department with a high proportion of green: Customer Service. That’s pretty logical, because the Customer Service department revolves around maintaining a good relationship with the customer. In such a role it works better if, rather than allowing differences of opinion to escalate, you prefer to look for a mutually satisfaction solution… and that comes second nature to people with the green behavioural style.

The downside of a ‘green personality’ is that things can remain unsaid or there can be a tendency to overpromise in order to avoid conflict. It’s sometimes necessary to take a clear stance, set boundaries or make decisions, and that’s when we need people with a ‘red personality’. After all, people with a red behavioural style are more focused on the results than the relationship and spring into action if there’s a problem. They demonstrate speed and decisiveness, which are typical characteristics of managers – and that includes Customer Service managers.

Challenge

At a functional level it seems pretty straightforward: Customer Service employees should be mainly in the green section of the DISC profile, and the departmental manager should be in the red section. But these two extremes also have to work together on a daily basis, and the contrast between the forceful decisiveness on the one hand and the more cautious, conflict-averse approach on the other can soon cause tension. So the challenge lies in ensuring that both sides clearly understand that they have opposing behavioural styles and that they take that into account when communicating with one another.

For example, an employee may broach a problem cautiously. The manager might be quick to dismiss it as being irrelevant or make a snap decision to take action, while the employee is still thinking about how to reach a satisfactory compromise. The right solution will depend on the specific situation, but it will always require open communication and respect for the other person’s approach. A little more patience in some people and a little more assertiveness in others will result in optimal teamwork.

 

Keen to know more? Please contact Els van der Lelij

It is far better to be approximately right, than precisely wrong
Carveth Read