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When working in customer service, you will be dealing with many different situations and with a variety of prospects and types of customers who want to resolve their problems.
You have to help them.
Because if you leave them without a solution long enough, they could take their business elsewhere.
- What types of customers can you expect, though?
- How do you pick an approach that will work and make the prospect a loyal happy customer with so many different support cases?
- And how do you deal with their emotions that could make chats even more difficult?
Let's find out!
Are you ready for the challenge?
Read on to see the types of customers you can expect to meet when handling sales and support cases and how you can make the experience helpful and memorable.
What is the best way to identify customer types for your business?
The first division is clear: you are dealing with people who you want to become your customers (prospects) and already-existing clients who you want to keep happy and loyal.
You can segment your customers into groups based on their position in the sales funnel. You basically go from someone who is just looking and not really thinking about making a purchase yet to a lifelong fan of your brand, which will always come back for more.
Depending on how far they are in your sales funnel, you will need to address their needs and questions a bit differently.
You should also consider the reason why somebody is buying from you. This will also change the conversation and help move a customer on the fence further down the funnel into loyal followers.
Look beyond buyer personas as they lack the right insights to improve the customer service experience or create a loyal relationship.
Types of customers: before the purchase
1. The potential customer
Let’s call this customer Potential Pat, the type of customer who is at the very beginning of your sales funnel - the so-called awareness stage. Technically, they aren’t your customer yet. However, you better give them the complete treatment to hopefully change that quickly.
A potential customer is a lead that needs nurturing and warming up before making a purchase decision. They already showed some interest in your business, either by filling out a contact form, signing up for a newsletter, or asking a question via your live chat products. Don't have one? No worries, you can test LiveChat for free.
That show of interest is what separates Potential Pat from other website visitors. You can use that spark of interest to convert them into new customers. It’s much more effective than carpet bombing every website visitor with offers.
Potential customers may have already researched the market or is looking to switch from your competitors.
How to approach a potential customer
- You need to attract attention by showing off the value of your product or solution. We recommend asking questions to know each potential customer's needs. Then it’s easier to be specific with your storytelling.
- Capitalize on their interest by clearly presenting what they can get from your product. You can do this out yourself or point them to a resource like a landing page or a case study. When sending a prospect to a resource, make sure that it’s accurate and relatable to the issue they are trying to resolve.
- Reveal yourself. Let potential customers know that they can ask for help or advice at any time. Even if the customer doesn’t need it now, they will appreciate your accessibility.
2. The new customer
Say hi to the fresh customer who just bought something from you. New Nic is still learning the ropes of using your product so you need to do everything in your power to make that adoption period smooth.
Even though you have already made a sale, you can’t leave New Nic without any support. If they don’t receive it, they may not discover the full potential of your product. The time you save by not helping New Nic will be less valuable than the future business they may bring. The case here is to make the new customer happy and in the end, to help them become a loyal customer.
Companies with great customer experiences report higher referral rates and customer satisfaction. This means higher customer loyalty and retention.
Satisfied new customers will talk positively about you - and word of mouth is the ultimate customer acquisition marketing tool that saves you time and money. Make sure to lead an outstanding user onboarding. After someone buys your product, you need to guide them and show them how to use it so they can benefit most from the features.
How to approach a new customer
Guide new customers to success by:
- Remembering to remove any obstacles from the initial stage and focus on a good customer experience.
- Creating a clear and digestible onboarding process.
- Investing time in explaining how your product works to the customer.
- Leaving a contact option open. Even if you offer automated onboarding to customers, have a live customer service option available - it will go a long way when a customer has a question that’s not covered in the onboarding.
3. The impulsive customer
This is the type of customer who usually makes a buying decision instantly, provided that the conditions are right.
You see, this is Impulsive Iggy. They don’t need much convincing to make a purchase so you don’t have to warm the lead-up too much with a value proposition.
What an impulsive customer wants is to make a clear and easy purchase. The fewer steps involved, the higher the chance that a customer like Impulsive Iggy will buy from you.
How to approach an impulsive customer?
- Clear the way to check out. Make sure nobody needs a manual to make a purchase on your website. The fewer clicks and information required to make a purchase, the better.
- Deliver quick and concise help. If you get a question from Impulsive Iggy, make the answer short.
- Stick to brass tacks. You also need to provide the response quickly. If you take too long, the buying impulse will fade, and Impulsive Iggy will leave your website.
- Make sure all incentives are visible as impulsive customers are still hunting for a good deal. Place incentives throughout the site, especially on key pages where they are likely to make this crucial decision.
4. The discount customer
Discount Drew is the type of customer who sees value in your product but won’t buy it at full price. Upselling your product to Discount Drew is nearly impossible.
This type of customer is usually looking for some extra information on the exact conditions of the deal or discount you are offering.
Once the deal runs out, it’s hard to keep Discount Drew as a customer. Discount Drew will usually leave once the discount you are offering stops applying.
To increase your chances of keeping Discount Drew as a customer, you need to show them that they are not only getting a product at a discount but also exceptional customer service.
How to approach a discount customer?
- Explain the deal. Provide all the necessary details about the deal to avoid any confusion. Discount Drew may also require help with entering a discount code or using a coupon, so make sure your team knows the deal’s details.
- Offer added value. You need to go beyond your initial offering to make sure Discount Drew continues being one of your customers.
- Add the cherry on top of the deal. Something they can’t get elsewhere. Stellar customer service can be the key advantage to keeping Discount Drew as a customer.
5. The loyal customer
This type of customer keeps coming back for more. Apart from having a significant impact on your revenue, Loyal Logan will also be your brand’s ambassador.
Long-lasting customers like Loyal Logan help you grow through word of mouth. They will recommend your business or product to friends and family, sending a healthy stream of new customers your way.
You should leverage their experience and learn what makes Loyal Logan satisfied with your business. When you have the chance, ask Loyal Larry which aspect of your product or business they like the most. Take note and try to replicate that experience so that other customers can become your brand ambassadors.
How to approach a loyal customer
- Give them a platform. You can help Loyal Logan spread love and feature them in a case study. Social proof like that will make your landing pages much more appealing to potential customers.
- Learn from their experience. See what turned Loyal Logan into a loyal follower and make sure that happens again with other customers.
- Don’t mess it up. Whatever you do, make sure that Loyal Logan stays excited about your product and business.
- Show appreciation with a loyalty program or special offers dedicated to loyal customers. Even the smallest reward can show your customers how much you appreciate them.
Types of customers: support situations
6. The angry customer
Angry Andy will be one of the toughest cases you will have to deal with when working in support. Angry Andy, as the name suggests, brings a lot of anger to the table. Sometimes will simply be annoyed, and on other occasions, they will be fuming.
This type of customer is angry for a reason. They encountered a problem when dealing with your business. Most of the time, their reaction will be exaggerated. However, you still need to do your best to solve their case quickly, no matter how overblown it may be.
When dealing with Angry Andy, make sure you clearly state what they need to get out of the situation. You have a limited window of opportunity as they will only get angrier. Make it quick and make it count.
How to approach an angry customer
- Keep your cool. If you both get angry, it won’t be productive for either of you.
- Prepare a plan. You need to know what you need to do to sort out Angry Andy’s problem exactly.
- Don’t stop at just words. Simply telling them that everything will be OK and then not following up will make the whole situation worse.
- Set a deadline. Tell Angry Andy when they can expect a solution and stick to it no matter what.
7. The confused visitor
Confused Carter most likely reached your website by mistake. This happens from time to time on 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 would be perfect here — a short explanation stating that a confused customer must be mistaking your business for another company. In most cases, simply posting such a response will allow you to handle 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, an email response template or a canned response on live chat).
It’s not mandatory, but pointing Confused Carter in the right direction can earn you some extra points. You never know, the next time Confused Carter comes to your website, they may want to buy something from you. And if you helped them last time when they were confused, you’re starting from a much better position.
How to deal with a confused visitor
- State who you are. You will avoid misunderstandings by being clear.
- Have a pre-made answer ready for confused visitors. You don’t want to type in the same explanation over and over.
8. The international customer
Companies that do business internationally will often come across an International Indigo.
International customers can turn even the simplest problems into giant puzzles because of the limits of communication. The name of the game here is the language barrier. This type of customer might use a broken version of your language or might not use your language at all.
To help International Indigo quickly, you need to offer the most straightforward explanation possible. Use short, simple sentences. Make sure you explain the trickier concepts with basic terms. And above all: don’t rush. Double-check if the international customer understands what you mean before moving on.
If that fails, you can fall back on a translation service like Google Translate. Try to decipher what International Indigo is saying and translate your responses into their 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 an international customer
- Use simple language. Make your sentences short and easy to understand.
- Don’t rush. Take your time and check if your international customer understands a part of the solution before explaining the next part.
- Use Google Translate. This is an ace up your sleeve if the customer doesn’t speak your language or when they don’t understand your explanation.
9. The mistaken customer
Another difficult situation you can face when providing support to customers is meeting someone who likes to think they know more than you. Mistaken Mason is a customer who thinks they know everything even if they are wrong.
Mistaken Mason usually knows a fair bit. However, when they make a mistake, they won’t admit it. Convincing them that something works differently than they think can be a challenge.
When dealing with Mistaken Mason, you need to provide proof - not to boast that you know more but to solve the problem more efficiently. Do it gently. Don’t leave any room for misunderstanding. Don’t make it look like you simply want to beat Mistaken Mason in an argument.
You can make a polite suggestion and imply that they will get better results if they try to solve the problem differently.
How to approach a mistaken customer
- 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 proof 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.
10. The praising customer
This is the cherry on top when you work in customer support. Praising Parker will always be a welcome sight at the end of a long day.
This customer type will simply drop by to say that they 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 Praising Parker received good support, you can turn them into a Loyal Logan.
Similar to the Loyal Logan situation, you can ask them to spread the love on social media. Some extra word-of-mouth recommendations won’t hurt!
How to approach a praising customer
- Listen closely. Praising Parker’s pep talk will be the morale booster that will get you through difficult days.
- Thank them profoundly. Ensure the praising customer knows that you appreciate the feedback.
- Ask for social proof. Check if they want to spread the extra love and make your happy customer visible on your website.
There’s no single right way to address a customer’s needs. All kinds of users will visit your website and each of them is unique and requires a different approach.
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Customer experience might be a deciding factor when it comes to purchasing. But a support team that changes its approach for different cases is the team that gets good results.