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When working in customer service, you will be dealing with many different situations and with various types of customers who want to resolve their problems. You have to help them. They could take their business elsewhere if you leave them without a solution long enough.
- What types of customers can you expect, though?
- How do you pick an approach that will work and turn new customers into loyal customers?
- And how do you deal with angry customers that could make chats difficult?
Read on to see the types of customers you can expect to meet when handling sales and support cases and how you can deliver top-notch customer service to them.
What is the best way to identify customer types for your business?
The first division is clear: you are dealing with people 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 go from someone who is just looking and not really thinking about making a purchase yet to a lifelong brand ambassador who 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 differently.
You should also consider the reason why somebody is buying from you. This will also change the conversation and help move a potential customer further down the funnel into a loyal follower.
Different customer types before the purchase
1. Potential customers
Let’s call this customer Potential Pat, the type of customer who is at the very beginning of your sales funnel - the awareness stage. Technically, they aren’t your customer yet. However, you better give them the complete treatment to change that quickly.
A potential customer is a lead that needs nurturing and warming up before making a purchase decision. They already showed interest in your business by filling out a contact form, signing up for a newsletter, or asking a question via live chat. 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 interest to convert them into a new customer. It’s much more effective than carpet bombing every website visitor with offers.
A potential customer may have already researched the market or wants to switch from your competitors.
How to approach potential customers
- You need to attract attention by showing off the value of your product. 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 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 they can ask for help or advice anytime. Even if the customer doesn’t need it now, they will appreciate your accessibility.
2. New customers
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 you can to make that adoption period smooth.
Even though you have already made a sale, you can’t leave New Nic without 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.
Companies with great customer experience report higher referral rates and customer satisfaction. This means higher customer loyalty and retention.
How to approach new customers
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.
- Leaving a contact option open. Even if you offer automated onboarding, 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. Impulsive customers
This type of customer 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 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 they will buy from you.
How to approach impulsive customers
- Clear the way to check out. Make sure nobody needs a manual to purchase on your website. The fewer clicks and information required to make a purchase, the better.
- Deliver quick customer support. If you get a question from impulse buyers, make the answer short.
- Stick to brass tacks. You also need to respond 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. Discount customers
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 extra information on the exact conditions of the deal or discount you offer. They are bargain hunters. Once the deal runs out, keeping Discount Drew as a customer is hard. 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 discount customers
- Explain the deal. Provide all the necessary details about the deal to avoid any confusion. Discount Drew may also require help 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 a discount customer stays a loyal customer.
- Add the cherry on top of the deal. Something they can’t get elsewhere. Stellar customer service can be key to keeping Discount Drew in your customer base.
5. Loyal customers
This type of customer keeps coming back for more. Apart from significantly impacting 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 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 Logan which aspect of your product or business they like the most. Take note and try to replicate that experience so that other loyal customers also become your brand ambassadors.
How to approach loyal customers
- Give them a platform. You can help loyal customers spread love and feature them in a customer story. Social proof like that will make your landing pages more appealing to potential customers.
- Learn from their experience. See what turned Loyal Logan into a loyal customer and make sure the same happens with all your other customers.
- Don’t mess it up. Whatever you do, keep customers satisfied and excited about your product.
- 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.
Different customer types in support situations
6. Angry customers
Angry Andy is one of the most demanding customers you have to deal with when working in customer service.
Most of the time, angry, unhappy customer reactions are 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.
How to approach angry customers
- Keep your cool. If you both get angry, it won’t be productive.
- Prepare a plan. You need to know exactly what to do to sort out Angry Andy’s problem.
- Set a deadline. Tell Angry Andy when they can expect a solution and stick to it no matter what.
Learn more about handling customer complaints and dealing with angry customers.
7. Confused visitors
Confused Carter most likely reached your website by mistake. If you want to deal with him smoothly, you must clearly explain who you are and what your company does.
If you use LiveChat for customer service, 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.
It’s not mandatory, but pointing Confused Carter in the right direction can earn you extra points. You never know when they will return to your website and become a new customer.
How to deal with confused visitors
- 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. International customers
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 they understand what you mean before moving on.
If that fails, you can return to a translation service like Google Translate. Decipher what International Indigo is saying and translate your responses into their language. It’s not a perfect solution, and there will be minor misunderstandings along the way. However, a partial answer is still better than no answer.
How to deal with international customers
- 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. Mistaken customers
Another difficult situation you can face when supporting customers is meeting someone who likes to think they know more than you. Mistaken Mason is a customer who insists 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 customers, 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 want to beat them in an argument.
You can politely suggest and imply that they will get better results if they try to solve the problem differently.
How to approach mistaken customers
- 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 leave 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 customer.
10. Praising customers
This is the cherry on top when you work in customer support. Praising Parker will always be a welcome sight after 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 some work and a couple of situations where Praising Parker received good support, you can turn them into a Loyal Logan.
Similar to loyal customers, you can ask the praising customers for spreading love on social media. Some extra word-of-mouth recommendations won’t hurt!
How to approach praising customers
- Listen closely. Praising Parker’s pep talk will be the morale booster to get you through difficult days.
- Thank them profoundly. Make sure 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.
Recognize the types of customers and enjoy customer success
There’s no single right way to address a customer’s needs. All kinds of users will visit your website, and each is unique and requires a different approach.
Customer experience might be a deciding factor when it comes to purchasing. But the teams with the best results are the customer service teams that change their approach for different cases.