Building future workplaces

7 Proven Strategies for Managing Difficult Customers with DISC: Transforming Tensions into Triumph

7 Proven Strategies for Managing Difficult Customers with DISC

Navigating the Challenges of Challenging Customers: A Business Essential

Encountering challenging customers is an inevitable part of the business landscape. From the assertive ‘know-it-alls’ to the hesitant and the hard negotiators, these varied behaviours can escalate stress and lead to customer service burnout, demand more time and resources, and test the limits of professionalism. Such interactions have the potential to negatively impact customer experience (CX) and, by extension, the organization’s reputation. Remember, a single negative encounter can leave a lasting impression; in fact, 79% of customers would not hesitate to switch to a competitor if it meant receiving superior customer service (Hyken, 2023). In today’s market, a positive customer experience is crucial, with 64% of consumers placing it above price when making purchasing decisions. Companies that excel in this area are reported to be 60% more profitable (Zippia, 2023). Therefore, gaining insight into both personal and customer behaviours and preferences can be invaluable for customer service professional striving to provide exceptional service to challenging customers.

Embracing Self-Awareness with DISC

In a world where over 60% of consumers expect companies to anticipate their needs and deliver personalized experiences (Zippia, 2023), the DISC assessment emerges as a potent tool for enhancing customer satisfaction. This method delves into the nuances of individual behaviors, communication, and preferences. It categorizes behaviours into four core types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance, each with its distinct attributes and preferences. By recognizing these traits, customer service agents can leverage their own strengths and mitigate weaknesses, while also gaining a deeper understanding of their customers. This knowledge is crucial for adapting interactions to various customer styles, thereby cultivating more meaningful connections.

Deciphering DISC Styles

Let’s delve into the four DISC styles. Recognizing these characteristics is more than just an exercise in categorization—it’s about building stronger relationships, refining communication, and tailoring customer experiences to each unique individual. Here is a snapshot of what a customer displaying a certain style may be looking for:

D – Dominance:

This style tends to prefer speedy decisions, are results-driven, direct. They value efficiency and are goal-oriented, often showing a preference for taking control in decision-making processes. 

I – Influence:

This style is inclined for creating more personal connections, as they thrive on interaction and often make decisions based on such relationships and positive experiences. Thus, such customers tend to be enthusiastic, sociable, with high value on relationship or rapport building.

S – Steadiness:

This style is looking for reliability, consistency, and support. They tend to prefer deep, trust-based relationships, and are cautious in decision-making, preferring to minimize risks.


This style is looking for facts, data, and information to make an objective decision. Such customers tend to be analytical, detail-oriented, and value quality and accuracy. Thus, they primarily rely on facts and data to make decisions and seek valid explanations and evidence-based benefits.

7 Proven Strategies for Managing Customers with high “Dominance”

Decoding complex customer behaviors through DISC assessments unveils a roadmap for masterfully navigating the intricacies of customer service. Dominance, characterized by a thirst for efficiency and command, often manifests as impatience or assertiveness. These customers chase rapid outcomes, with less regard for minutiae. To thrive in service to such type of customers, precision and a results-driven mindset are key. Here are eight transformative strategies to align with the dominant customer’s tempo:

  1. Empathic Attention: Allocate your undivided attention—dominant customers seek to be acknowledged and heard. This not only deflates their exasperation but also steers them towards collaborative problem-solving.
  2. Validate Emotions: Recognition of their concerns is critical—even if you don’t see eye to eye. This acknowledgment can pacify their frustration, disarming defensiveness.
  3. Clarity in Communication: Deliver your message with succinct, no-frills communication. Excessive detail can exacerbate an aggressive customer’s impatience.
  4. Swift Solutions: Emphasize rapid, clear-cut solutions. Showcasing your adeptness in swiftly navigating their issues can restore their sense of agency and diminish aggression.
  5. Confidence is Key: Radiate confidence in your engagement and the solutions you propose. Strength is valued by dominant customers and is often met with a positive response.
  6. Align with Their Objectives: Leverage their goal-driven nature. Illustrate how your recommendations resonate with their objectives, presenting action as a pathway to results.
  7. The Power of Choice: Offer alternatives, handing back a sense of control. This gesture can significantly quell aggression by aligning with their pursuit of efficiency.

7 Proven Strategies for Managing Customers with high “Influence”

Customers with Influence traits are often propelled by a yearning for social connection and recognition. Here are eight strategies to gracefully engage with such individuals:

  1. Amiable Approach: Greet them with open arms and a positive spirit, fostering a congenial environment.
  2. Engaged Listening: Actively engage with their concerns, acknowledging their sentiments to establish rapport.
  3. Compassionate Dialogue: Communicate with a warmth that echoes their need for social bonds.
  4. Echo Their Vitality: Match their high spirits to convey understanding and appreciation.
  5. Narrative Solutions: Introduce solutions through captivating narratives that hold their interest.
  6. Community Appeal: Accentuate the communal allure of your offerings to tap into their affinity for social inclusion.
  7. Relationship Building: Forge a positive, trust-filled bond that can blossom into lasting cooperation.

7 Proven Strategies for Managing Customers with high “Steadiness”

Customers exhibiting Steadiness often value security and can be cautious, desiring ample reassurance. Here are eight strategies to gracefully cater to their preference for consistency:

  1. Serenity in Service: Maintain a tranquil and supportive demeanor that resonates with their need for stability.
  2. Considerate Listening: Afford them the luxury of time to articulate their thoughts, signifying your intent to understand deeply.
  3. In-Depth Guidance: Offer comprehensive explanations, satisfying their quest for clarity.
  4. Dependability Highlighted: Emphasize the steadfast nature of your products or services, mirroring their appreciation for reliability.
  5. Consistent Outreach: Keep a steady flow of communication, reinforcing the reliability they value.
  6. Reassuring Support: Comfort them with a commitment to resolve any issues, providing a sense of security.
  7. Respecting Deliberation: Honor their paced decision-making process without pressuring for hasty conclusions.

7 Proven Strategies for Managing Customers with high “Compliance”

Those with Compliant traits often display a penchant for precision and detail. Here are eight strategies to effectively communicate with such analytical customers:

  1. Comprehensive Detailing: Present exhaustive information, catering to their appreciation for accuracy.
  2. Analytical Respect: Acknowledge their analytical nature, providing them space and time to process information.
  3. Rational Discourse: Ground your discussions in logic, appealing to their rational mindset.
  4. Preparedness for Inquiry: Anticipate and welcome in-depth queries, demonstrating your own thorough understanding.
  5. Uncompromised Accuracy: Ensure all information relayed is precise, maintaining trust.
  6. Quality Showcase: Highlight the superior quality and standards of your offerings, aligning with their expectations.
  7. Formal Interactions: Maintain a professional and structured interaction, as preferred by Compliant customers.


Facing challenging customers is part of the game, with their diverse behaviors stretching from assertive to hesitant, testing both our patience and our customer service strategy. In a market where a whopping 79% of consumers might jump ship for better service, and 64% weigh customer experience heavier than price, navigating tricky customer waters is more than a skill—it’s a necessity. This underlines the critical role of fine-tuning our approach to customer behaviour to stay ahead in the race.

Enter the DISC framework, a secret weapon in our quest for customer satisfaction. It breaks down behaviors into four types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Compliance, each with its own set of preferences—be it efficiency, social interaction, reliability, or detail-oriented interactions. Armed with this knowledge, customer service teams can craft their strategies more effectively: empathetic and fast for the Dominant, engaging, and relational for the Influential, calm, and consistent for the Steady, and detailed and respectful for the Compliant.

But this isn’t just about smoothing over rough spots. It’s about revolutionizing customer service, turning potential conflicts into moments of triumph. By syncing our service style with the customer’s DISC profile, we not only dodge burnout but also boost the customer experience, securing both loyalty and a competitive edge in the bustling market landscape.

Our Repertoire

Reach Us

Latest Posts