When working in customer service, you won’t be dealing only with different types of customers in sales situations. A bulk of customer service agent’s work will be dealing with a variety of customers who have a problem. They won’t necessarily bring in new business, but you have to help them. If you leave them without a solution long enough, they will eventually take their business to your competition.
What types of customers can you expect though? With so many different support cases, how do you pick an approach that will work and make the customer happy?
In a lot of situations, these customers will bring different emotions into the conversation. This will often make the conversation even more difficult.
Are you ready for the challenge?
Types of customers in support situations
If you want to get prepared, here are 5 popular customer types you can expect when working in support.
The list is not final, and you will be able to add a few more names to the list after a while. However, this should give you the general idea what to expect and which situations are the most common.
Let’s begin with one of the most common and difficult cases: the Angry Andy.
1. Angry Customers – The Angry Andy
Andy will be one of the toughest cases you will have to deal with when working in support. Andy, as his name suggest, brings a lot of anger to the table. Sometimes Andy will be simply annoyed. On other occasions, he will be fuming.
You see, Andy is angry for a reason. He encountered a problem when dealing with your business. Most of the times his reaction will be exaggerated. However, you still need to do your best to solve his case quickly, no matter how overblown it can be.
When dealing with Andy, make sure you clearly state what he needs to do to get out of the situation. You have a limited window of opportunity as he will get only angrier. Make it quick and make it count. You need to have a plan ready for Andy. If he notices that you are unsure what to do, he will get even more angry. Don’t simply tell him that everything will be OK. Tell him what exactly you will do to make everything OK.
How to deal with Angry Andy:
- Keep your cool. If you both get angry, it will lead to no good.
- Prepare a plan. You need to know exactly what you need to do to sort out the problem. Make sure Andy knows you know.
- Don’t stop at words. Simply telling him that everything will be OK and then not following up will make the whole situation worse.
- Set a deadline. Tell Andy when he can expect a solution and stick to it no matter what.
2. Confused Visitors – The Confused Cathy
This type of customer most likely reached your website by a mistake. This happens from time to time to every website.
If you want to deal with these visitors smoothly, you need to clearly explain who you are and what your company does.
A pre-made answer will be perfect here. A short explanation stating that Cathy must be confusing your business with another company. In most cases, simply pasting such a response will allow you to take care of the problem.
To make that happen, you can either do some quick copy-pasting or have a pre-made answer ready in the channel you are currently using for support (for example email response template or a canned response on live chat).
It’s not mandatory, but pointing Cathy in the right direction can earn you some extra points. You can never know if the next time Cathy comes to your website, she may want to buy something from you. And if you helped her the last time when she was confused, you’re starting from a much better position.
How to deal with a Confused Cathy:
- Clearly state who you are. This will allow you to avoid misunderstandings.
- Have a pre-made answer for confused visitors ready. You don’t want to type in the same explanation over and over.
- Helping a confused visitor can prove useful. In the future, they may come back to your website to make a purchase.
3. Foreign Customers – Foreign Fiona
Companies that do business internationally, so most modern online businesses, will often get in touch with Fiona.
Fiona is the type of customer that can turn even the simplest problems into these big puzzles because of the communication limitations. The name of the game here is language barrier. Fiona will either use a broken version of your language or won’t be able to use your language at all.
If you want to help Fiona quickly, you need to offer the simplest explanation possible. Use short, simple sentences. Make sure you explain the tougher concepts with basic terms. And above all: don’t rush it. Make sure Fiona understands what you mean before moving further.
If that fails, you can fall back on a translation service like Google Translate. Try to decipher what Fiona is saying and translate your responses into her language. It’s not a perfect solution and there will be some minor misunderstandings along the way. However, a partial answer is still better than no answer.
How to deal with a Foreign Fiona:
- Use simple language. Make your sentences short and easy to understand.
- Don’t rush it. Take your time and check if your foreign customer understands a part of the solution before you start explaining the next part.
- Use Google Translate. This is an ace up your sleeve if the customer doesn’t speak your language at all or when they don’t understand your explanation.
4. Mistaken Customer – The Mistaken Mitch
Another difficult situation you can face when providing support to customers is meeting someone who likes to think they know more than you. Mitch is one of those types of customers who think they know everything even if they are wrong.
They usually know a fair bit. However, when they make a mistake, they won’t admit it. Convincing Mitch that something is done differently than he thinks is quite a challenge.
When dealing with Mitch, you need to provide proof. Not to boast that you know more but to solve his problem more efficiently. Do it gently. Don’t leave any space for misunderstanding. Don’t make it look like you’re simply want to beat Mitch in an argument.
You can make a polite suggestion and imply that he will get better results if he tries to solve his problem a bit differently.
How to deal with a Mistaken Mitch:
- Be polite. Whatever you do, make sure you’re coming off as polite. Don’t make it about who’s right and who’s wrong.
- Show evidence. Backing up your claim with evidence will ensure that there’s no room for an incorrect interpretation.
- Don’t push it. If the customer insists that they are right, let them. You won’t convince them and you only risk turning them into an Angry Andy.
5. Praising Customers – The Praising Peter
I’ve saved the most pleasant customer type for last. This is the cherry on top when you work in customer support. Praising Peter will be always a welcome sight at the end of a long day.
This customer type will simply drop by to say that they really appreciate the help they got earlier. Usually, you helped them resolve a big problem and they want to express their gratitude.
With a bit of work and a couple of situations where Peter received good support, you can turn them into a Loyal Larry type of customer.
Similar to the Larry situation, you can ask them to spread the love on social media. Some extra word-of-mouth recommendations won’t hurt!
How to deal with a Praising Peter:
- Listen closely. Peter’s pep talk will be the morale booster that will get you through difficult days.
- Thank profoundly. Make sure you let the praising customer know that you appreciate the feedback and check if they don’t want to spread the extra love.
Other customer types in support situations
What other types of customers do you meet in support situations? If you frequently deal with particular types of customers, feel free to share in the comments. We’ll definitely want to include them in the comments.
If you have any tested methods of dealing with them, make sure to add them too!