Cloud Blog – 5 styles of communication with clients

5 styles of communication with clients

Building effective communication is the most important thing to master when working with clients, interacting with colleagues, or serving a potential customer. 

Communication skills can help you not only at work, but also when meeting new people and gaining new contacts. With salespeople, communication is an essential part of their job. When talking to potential customers, they need to be well prepped on how to win them over, knowing exactly what to say and when to say it.

Zendesk categorizes people’s communication style according to five characteristics: passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, manipulative, and assertive. The last one is considered to be the most effective when applied in the business world, so let’s see why this is the case. 

Assertive communicator 

An assertive communicator is always ready to listen and take the other’s side. At the same time, he speaks briefly and informatively, and he can easily convince others. Another tactic of assertive communicators is to look into the eyes of his opponent and speak in a calm, quiet voice. They often can use such expressions as: “I would prefer not to…”, “I understand you, but did you consider …”, etc.

This type of communicator will certainly listen to you first, and only after you have finished speaking will he share his opinion. This is why an assertive communication style brings more success, as customers appreciate their voices being heard.

Aggressive communicator

Aggressively stating one’s opinion and dismissing others point of view are the main signs of an aggressive communicator. Such communicators express their thoughts with a lot of emotion. As a rule, aggressive speakers will not listen to your opinion and will assume they are right. You can hear such statements from them as: “I’m right, you’re wrong”, “because I said so” and “everything will be done my way”.

Not everyone may enjoy interacting with aggressive communicators, since it can be very difficult to find common ground with them.

Passive communicator

Whilst the aggressive communicator likes to control the conversation, the passive one always agrees with the more dominant opinion. Such people are not inclined to defend their point of view, express their opinion or discuss their needs. The passive speaker often apologizes, even when it is not required, but behind the passive exterior lies a feeling of disappointment because no one has listened to their opinion. Therefore, it is difficult to work with such people. You can often hear them say : “I don’t care”, “It doesn’t matter”, “I don’t know what to do about it” and so on.

A passive communicator would rather choose to avoid conflict than get into an argument or try to prove something to somebody.

Passive-aggressive communicator

A passive-aggressive tone of communication involves the use of sarcasm to avoid conflict or to hint at one’s preferences. Instead of solving problems, they simply avoid them. In the case of a problem arising, they would rather give up than try to solve it. Passive-aggressive communicators can express themselves with phrases such as: “if you want”, “I thought you knew” and “Okay, whatever “.

These communicators got their name because of their latent manifestation of aggression. For example, when it comes to conflict they will not try to sort things out with their colleagues but will simply avoid meeting with that person, even if it is a team meeting.

Manipulative communicator

It is quite obvious that manipulative communicators act by influencing people, sometimes negatively. Such people prefer to control the conversation and also make unpleasant comments to absolve themselves of any guilt with phrases such as: “I didn’t say that”, “It’s not my fault”, “If you hadn’t done this, then …”, “I told you so,” etc.

While manipulating people, they prefer to blame the other person for something than to admit their own mistakes.

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In conclusion

Customer success manager must choose which communication style to use with the clients. Just imagine a typical situation in which a client calls you with several complaints. Rehearse these different scenarios depending on which communication style you choose and decide for yourself which is the best.

An assertive communication style is the most appropriate when communicating with clients in all situations, as you can accept the client’s position on the matter without watering down your own opinion. Think about this the next time you answer a call from a customer.


How do aggressive communicators usually express themselves?

Aggressive communicators typically express themselves in a forceful and confrontational manner. They may raise their voice, use harsh or offensive language, interrupt others frequently, and employ a dominating tone. They often focus on their own needs and wants while disregarding the feelings and opinions of others. Aggressive communication can lead to conflicts and hinder effective dialogue.

Which communication style is the most effective?

The effectiveness of a communication style depends on the context and the individuals involved. However, an assertive communication style is considered the most effective in many situations. Assertive communication involves expressing one’s thoughts, feelings, and needs clearly and respectfully while also listening actively to others. It promotes open and honest dialogue, encourages collaboration, and minimizes conflicts.

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