In customer service, this miscalculation may even be the norm.
For example, it makes intuitive sense that people want a sympathetic ear after exhausting the self-service options and, often very frustrated, reaching the service desk. This type of person, the Listener, is therefore heavily preferred in contact centre agent recruiting.
Similarly, customer service managers see a strong-willed person with an opinion on everything, the Commander type, as less desirable in the front office. There is a certain expectation that customers prefer being listened to attentively over being guided firmly. The problem is that this assumption simply does not hold up to scrutiny.
In practice, the latest research and our own field observations show that the Commander far outperforms all his or her colleagues in making the frustrated customer's service experience easier. Apparently, this is because Commanders tend to take charge, adapt to the specific customer's needs and personality, and know when to depart from the approved script to get things done.
And customers love it.
The most effective workforce management approach takes these personality types into account when shaping coaching, in-house processes and forecasting. Each employee can then be cultivated based on their particular performance metrics, skills, personal attributes and preferences. A sensitive Listener, for example, might be trained to expand their horizons and become as proactive as a natural Commander - a clear win-win. This adaptive personalisation is the key to employee engagement and, ultimately, improved customer satisfaction.