brainIf you want to deliver strong customer service, it’s important to keep learning and improving. I’m personally committed to it so when my friend Lisa Mininni (President of Excellerate Associates) announced her two-day training about how individuals are naturally wired, I cleared my calendar.

Unlike assessments that measure personality traits, social styles, or behavior, this one – the AcuMax Index®, is the only tool that objectively reports on and measures your innate hardwiring – those things that do not change over the course of your life. Rather than try to jam two days of training in a short article, I’ll share a few highlights you can use now to improve your customer service.


The assessment measures four areas of a person’s natural wiring. Your measurements are charted on a graph as high or low. It’s not better to be high or low, it shows how you’re different or similar to others in each category.


Element A measures Autonomy. Among other things, I learned that those high on this scale use of words like “I, me, and my” while their opposites say words that are more team-oriented like, “we, our, and us”. Those high on this scale like to create and act on their own ideas and are willing to stand up for and debate their ideas because they believe their ideas are the best. Those low on the Autonomy scale want the best idea and are more concerned with group or team achievement than individual achievement and recognition.

A Useful Take-away for Customer Service Providers:

If you suspect your customer might be high on the Autonomy scale, don’t tell them that your product or service is the best choice. Instead, give them a way to put their thumbprint on the choice so it becomes their idea. You can do this by asking questions on what’s most important to them.

To serve customers who are low on the scale of autonomy, share testimonials, case studies, and reviews of others who have chosen your products and services so they can get a variety of perspectives and social proof. This is especially important if working with you is new and unfamiliar. This type of customer is collaborative in nature and likes to know they’re part of a community of people who choose your products and services.


Element B measures “Communication.”  Those who fall on the high range of this index verbalize to crystalize their thoughts. They think while talking and paint verbal pictures with their words. Their opposites – those who fall on the lower range for communication – are more introspective and internalize to crystalize their thoughts. They express their thoughts once they’ve come to a conclusion.

A Useful Take-away for Customer Service Providers:

Customers who fall on the high range on this scale welcome your listening ear to help them talk through their options to come to a conclusion. Being aware of this difference will help you stay connected and build a better relationship with each type of customer.

On the other hand, when talking to your customer, notice if they give you a blank processing stare.  If so, don’t push them to talk. They’re in the process of formulating an answer. Ask them, “Would you like some time to think about this?” When you press this type of customer for an answer you frustrate them and risk losing their business.


Element C measures Patience.  Those on the high range of this category tend to be calm and patient types. They approach things in a sequential way. Instead of skipping from one project to another, they like to stick to the order of things and complete one task or topic of conversation before moving on to the next.

Those on the low range of the scale are more impatient. They have their fingers in many pies and find it easy to stop midway with one to tackle an issue with another, returning back to the first without skipping a beat.

A Useful Take-away for Customer Service Providers:

Notice where your customer falls on the patience range. If they’re high in this element, slow down and make sure they’re ready before moving on to other topics.

If they are low in this element, they can be impatient. Don’t take offense if this customer likes to cut phone calls short. It’s not personal. They’re task-focused and have other things waiting for their attention.


Element D measures Certainty. Those on the high range prefer giving and receiving a high degree of detail. They weigh the facts of a situation and look for valid proof when making decisions.

People on the opposite side of the scale prefer overviews, bullet-pointed information and less detail. They feel constricted by too much information.

A Useful Take-away for Customer Service Providers:

When a customer has a high index in Certainty, pair them up with a customer service rep who is also high in Certainty, or a rep who will be able to adapt to the customer’s preference. If you’re personally high in Certainty, take care not to overwhelm customers with detail-laden emails. Instead, give a quick snapshot with bullet points and an offer of more detail if they want it.


I’ve given you a few quick tips to help you provide even better customer service to different types of customers. Finding out my own index measurements was enlightening and validated my choice of career and ways of doing business. I encourage you to check it out.

If you’d like more information, or to take the assessment, reach out to our friend Lisa Mininni at Tell her “Gladys” sent you!


Marilyn Suttle specializes in customer service and communication. She’s an international conference speaker and bestselling author who works with organizations to ensure a strong customer focus and successful teams.

Who’s Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan is known as the business bible – a blueprint for client service success.

Taming Gladys! The Busy Leader’s Guide to Creating Fierce Customer Loyalty is filled with activities you can do with your staff to keep customer loyalty strong.

The Customer Service Roadmap is an in-house customer service training program designed for employees who have front line customer contact — face to face, telephone, email, chat, forums, etc.  Instead of a one-time training event, we offer a series of short, bite-sized courses focused on developing 7 core customer service skills.

Visit, or email for more information.


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