Customer Service

11 types of customers and how to support their needs.

Ibukun Omotesho
April 24, 2024

What are the types of customers?

Customers are essential to any business and it is important to understand the different customer types like the palm of your hand. You can’t experience customers twice because each customer type brings unique characteristics that shape their interaction with your business.

In this article, we will look at the different types of customers and how you can meet their diverse needs as a business.  

What is the best way to identify customer types for your business?

1. Data analysis.

Data helps you identify patterns and trends in your customers' behaviors and preferences.

Common characteristics to look for when analyzing customer data include demographics, geographic location, purchasing frequency, and spending habits of the target audience.  You can tailor your marketing messages and product offerings to meet these needs and preferences better and work towards customer loyalty as a business.

2. Customer feedback.

Businesses can gather feedback by monitoring online reviews, social media mentions, and customer service interactions. Online reviews provide insights into customer satisfaction and areas needing improvement. Social media monitoring gives your real-time customer sentiment and allows for direct engagement with customers.

customer feedback

3. Customer segmentation and observation.

This involves closely observing customer behavior and categorizing them based on identifiable characteristics such as their shopping habits, product preferences, and interactions with marketing efforts. Customer segment allows businesses divide their customer base into distinct groups each representing a different type of customer. This approach makes it easier to provide an exceptional service.

11 types of customers.

1. Potential customers.

Potential customers are the type of customers who have shown interest in a product or service but are yet to make a purchase. They may have visited your company's website, signed up for a newsletter, or engaged with your business on social media. Let’s consider ways you can support the needs of potential customers:

 A. Personalized recommendations based on interests.

Personalization allows you to suggest products to customers based on their customer attitude. By looking through your past interactions to create personalized recommendations for every customer. 

For example, an online retailer can use previous purchases to suggest similar products to potential customers that have shown interest.

B. Trials or demos to showcase value.

Offering demos is a highly effective strategy for supporting the needs of potential customers by providing them with hands-on experience and insight into the benefits of a product or service. Demos allow customers to use the product's features and functionality before making a purchase decision. ]

C. Follow-up to address questions.

Following up to address questions is a way to show your customers that you are customer-centric.  After the initial interaction or inquiry, follow up with the customers and address any questions or concerns that potential customers may have. 

2. New customers.

 A new customer is an individual who has recently made their first purchase of a product or service from a business. They are at the beginning stages of their relationship and are targeted for retention or repeat buyers.

How to support new customers.

A. Onboarding assistance for a smooth start.

Providing onboarding assistance for a smooth start helps new customers feel comfortable and confident. Effective onboarding assistance involves guiding customers through the initial setup process helping them understand your features and also providing access to comprehensive guides and tutorials.

B. Clear instructions and resources.

As a business, your goal is to help your customers understand the product and features by giving them a step-by-step guide through tutorials on your website and if they have questions, the sales team if needed and the customer service teams should be there to help.

C. Regular feedback gathering.

Gathering feedback helps you discover new ways to support new customers and continuously improve the customer experience. With feedback requests from new customers, you gain valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and areas for improvement. This feedback can be collected through surveys, feedback forms, or one-on-one interviews.

D. Exclusive deals for customer loyalty.

Offering exclusive deals for loyalty leads to happy customers and is a way to encourage customers to continue engaging with your business. By providing exclusive deals, you can make new customers feel valued and special from all your other customers

3. Angry customers.

Angry customers are individuals who are upset about your business product, service, or experience. For example; if you run a clothing store and you were to deliver a gown in black but delivered the gown in red, the customer will be dissatisfied and angry. 

An angry customer may express their frustration through complaints, or negative feedback.

How to support angry customers.

A. Active listening and empathy:

Supporting angry customers starts with active listening and empathy. When a customer is frustrated, listen attentively without interrupting or getting defensive. This shows that you respect their viewpoint. You should maintain a calm tone and open body language to show sincerity. 

B. Sincere apologies and ownership:

When customers are angry, offer a sincere apology that shows empathy and acknowledges their concerns. The customer service reps should be proactive in providing solutions, such as refunds or discounts, based on the situation. 

C. Quick issue resolution:

Quick issue resolution means a lot to angry customers.  When customers encounter problems or are dissatisfied with a product or service, resolving their issues in a timely manner can make them feel relaxed.

To achieve quick issue resolution, businesses should prioritize efficiency and responsiveness in their customer service process. It’s important also follow up after the resolution to make sure these customers are satisfied.

4. Confused customers.

Confused customers are individuals who are uncertain or unclear about your product, service, process, or policy offered by a business so you have to help them understand the product.

For example, if they need a code to complete their purchase but can’t find the code on the website or email they will be confused, so it is your job to lead them through the sales funnel successfully. 

How to support confused customers.

1. Clear step-by-step guidance.

Supporting a confused customer requires clear and concise guidance to help them understand your business and features properly. One approach is to provide instructions that break down processes into easily understandable actions. This could mean creating user guides, tutorials, or FAQs that outline the necessary steps.

2. Demonstrations, FAQs or tutorials.

Offering demonstrations or tutorials is a unique way to support confused customers by providing them with visual and interactive guidance to address their questions or concerns and this can be in the form of videos or a pop-up message that comes up when any action is taken. These demonstrations or tutorials can be tailored to address specific pain points or challenges that confused customers may encounter. 

3. Encourage further questions.

Encouraging further questions is a way of supporting confused customers. By creating an environment where customers feel comfortable asking questions and seeking clarification, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to addressing customers' concerns.

One way to encourage further questions is to ask customers to reach out for assistance through various communication channels such as email or live chat. 

5. Loyal customers.

As a business, your loyal customers/brand advocates are the individuals who have been with you through thick and thin and are the best customers you can have as a business. They consistently choose your business over others, even when faced with alternatives. They don’t only make repeat purchases but also recommend your business to others for future purchases.

How to support loyal customers.

1. Gratitude for continued support.

Expressing gratitude for the continued support of a loyal customer is a way to strengthen the relationship between you and your customers. You can show gratitude through various means, including personalized messages,  emails, handwritten notes, or even phone calls to express thanks for your continued support. 

2. Personalized rewards.

Personalized rewards help you understand your customers' preferences and behaviors and you can offer rewards based on a customer's past purchasing behavior. For example, suppose a customer frequently purchases a particular product or service, you can offer them a discount or special offer on that specific item as a reward for their loyalty.

3. Early access or exclusives.

Early access allows loyal customers to get new products, services, or features before the public. Providing loyal customers with early access to new products or features makes them feel special and this creates a sense of exclusivity and excitement among loyal customers, as they are among the first to experience the latest offerings from the brand.

4. Regular communication.

There are several reasons customers continue to use your product and it can be your top-notch customer service. It’s important to continue regular communication to stay in touch with customers consistently and to keep them engaged and make them feel valued.

One way to maintain regular communication with loyal customers is through social media channels or email newsletters. You can send out regular updates to provide customers with relevant information about new products, promotions, or company news.

6. Impulse customers.

Impulse buyers are those who make purchases without planning or consideration. According to  Gitnux, 64% of impulse shoppers purchase additional items along with their intended purchase. To support an impulse customer, you should focus on creating an environment that encourages impulse purchases.

This could include displaying popular and appealing items in high-traffic areas of the store or website, to capture these website visitors.

How to support impulse customers.

1. Reinforce benefits and value.

Supporting impulse customers means reminding them of the benefits and value of the products or services to encourage these customers to make purchases. As a business, you can do this by highlighting key features, the benefits of the product or service or sending persuasive messaging and visuals across your multiple communication channels.

2. Offer complementary products.

Businesses can create bundles or packages that combine the original item with related products or accessories. For example, a clothing retailer might offer a complete outfit bundle to include a top, skirt, and matching accessories. Another approach is to position complementary products near the point of sale. This could be by displaying related items near checkout counters or including product recommendations for complementary products on the website.

3. Seamless shopping experience.

Supporting impulse customers involves providing a seamless shopping experience that allows them to make quick and effortless purchases and you can do this by making sure the location of the physical stores is easy. For e-commerce websites, this could involve designing user-friendly interfaces, implementing filtering options so it can be easy to use for a website visitor, and making sure the checkout page is easy to use.

4. Personalized recommendations.

To support impulse customers, businesses can provide personalized recommendations that cater to their individual preferences and interests by tracking customer interactions and transactions, businesses can identify patterns and trends to predict which products or services are most likely to resonate with each customer.

7. Discount customers.

According to CapitalOne Shopping, 67% of shoppers change their shopping behavior based on discounts and 54% of consumers can be influenced by discounts to make an impulse purchase.

These types of customers are very interesting because they are known for seeking out items at a discounted price and often prioritize getting the best possible deal over other factors such as brand loyalty or product features. They are also known as bargain hunters.

How to support discount customers.

1. Showcase value beyond price.

Supporting discount customers can be done by highlighting the value of products or services beyond their price. As a business, you can emphasize quality, benefits, and unique features and how they meet the customers' needs. You can win a discount customer as a loyal customer when you offer excellent customer service that they might not get at your competitor’s place 

2. Additional benefits like rewards.

Iimplementing loyalty programs is to reward customers for their repeat business by providing discounts, exclusive offers, and reward points for every purchase or free delivery. These additional benefits not only add value to the exceptional customer service experience but also contribute to building long-term relationships.

3. Educate on quality and features.

Educating customers on the quality and features of products or services can be instrumental in supporting their purchasing decisions. You can host informative webinars or online workshops to showcase the value of the products or create engaging content such as video tutorials, product demonstrations, or case studies to illustrate the real-world applications and benefits of their products or services. 

4. Create exclusivity for upsells.

Businesses can offer discounts or special upgrades to get the attention of discount members.  For example, an e-commerce platform that offers discount customers a basic membership with standard shipping options and limited benefits can introduce a premium membership tier with additional perks and services.

The basic membership might provide standard shipping with longer delivery times and limited customer support. 

8. Active customers.

Active customers are those who regularly engage with a business, they are consistently purchasing products or services and actively participating in your business interactions on social media. These customers are loyal advocates and are not just repeat customers but also contribute to the growth and success of the business. 

How to support active customers.

1. Acknowledge engagement and participation.

Supporting active customers means recognizing and appreciating their engagement and participation. Businesses can achieve this by sending personalized messages expressing gratitude, offering exclusive perks such as discounts or early access to products, and creating communities where customers can connect and share experiences. 

2. Encourage sharing and feedback.

Encouraging sharing and feedback from customers is important for enhancing the customer experience. Businesses can achieve this by providing multiple channels for customers to share their thoughts and actively listen and respond to their feedback.

3. Incentivize referrals or shoutouts.

Incentivizing referrals or shoutouts from customers can be a powerful strategy for businesses to expand their reach and acquire new customers. By offering rewards or incentives to customers who refer others to the business or share positive experiences on social media, you can tap into the power of word-of-mouth marketing. 

4. Offer opportunities for upgrades.

One approach is to offer tiered pricing or subscription plans with varying levels of features or benefits, allowing customers to choose the option that best suits their needs. Businesses can proactively reach out to existing customers with personalized upgrade offers based on their usage patterns, preferences, or purchase history. 

9. Lapsed customers or Need based customers.

These customers are individuals who were once customers of your business but have not made a purchase or engaged with your business for a while. These customers may have stopped buying from the business for various reasons, such as changes in their needs or preferences, dissatisfaction with previous experiences, or simply forgetting about the brand over time.

How to support lapsed customers.

1. Personalized re-engagement message.

Staying in touch with updates is an important aspect of re-engaging lapsed customers and maintaining communication. Once you've reached out with re-engagement messages and incentives, it's essential to continue nurturing the relationship by providing regular updates and staying top-of-mind with your customers. 

2. Special incentives to return.

Before reaching out with re-engagement messages or incentives, it's important to understand why the customer stopped engaging with your business in the first place. This could involve conducting customer surveys, analyzing feedback, or reviewing past interactions with repeat customer to identify any recurring issues or pain points.

Once you have identified the concerns or issues that led to the customer lapsing, it's important to address them directly in your re-engagement efforts. 

 3. Address concerns or issues.

Special incentives are a great way to make lapsed customers return to your business. These incentives can take various forms, according to the preferences and needs of your customers.

Discounts and freebies are a common incentive, offering lapsed customers a percentage off their next purchase. This allows them to save money while encouraging them to re-engage with your products or services. 

10. Unhappy customers.

Unhappy customers and angry customers are different types of customers but it’s easy to mistake them as the same. An unhappy customer has experienced dissatisfaction or discontent with a product, or service.

Businesses need to address the concerns of both angry and unhappy customers promptly and effectively to preserve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

How to support unhappy customers.

1. Swift issue resolution.

Swift issue resolution is important to the unhappy customer to minimize and help restore their confidence in your business. Immediately after a complaint is received, the customer support agent should reach out to them and assure them that their complaints have been received and are being worked on. 

2. Sincere apology and assurance.

When addressing customer complaints or issues, offering a sincere apology and assurance is essential for rebuilding trust and restoring customer satisfaction.

When addressing customer complaints the customer service agents can use phrases such as "We understand how frustrating this situation must be for you" to convey empathy and validate their feelings. By offering a sincere apology and assurance, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to customer service excellence.

3. Additional support or resources.

Offering additional support or resources to unhappy customers is essential for resolving their issues effectively. Access to self-service resources such as FAQs, tutorials, or troubleshooting guides can empower customers to resolve their problems independently.

This not only helps them find solutions more quickly but also demonstrates your commitment to supporting their needs. 

3. Follow-up for satisfaction.

Following -up is important after an issue has been resolved. Reach out to the customer to ensure that they are satisfied with the outcome and to address any lingering concerns they may have.  During these times, it’s important to collect feedback to prevent a similar issue from recurring to other customers. 

11. Referring customers.

Referring customers are those who recommend or refer your business and service to someone such as a friend, family member, colleague, or acquaintance. These referral customers bring new customers through word of mouth based on the positive experiences from your business.

How to support referring customers.

1. Appreciation for advocacy.

It’s important to show genuine appreciation to referring customers and recognize the impact they have on your business. You can implement a system to help track referrals and ensure that each referring customer receives proper acknowledgment so you can motivate them and encourage them to continue advocating for your business.

2. Recognition with thank-you messages.

Recognizing referring customers with thank-you messages is a meaningful way to show appreciation for their advocacy and support. Each message should be personalized to the individual customer, mentioning their name and the specific referral they provided, to convey sincerity and impact. 

Key takeaways.

  • Understanding and effectively supporting different types of customers is important for your business's success.
  • Active engagement, clear communication, and proactive problem-solving are essential for building strong customer relationships.
  • Continuous analysis of customer feedback, market trends, and competitors' strategies is necessary for adapting and optimizing customer support strategies. 

In summary, identifying your customers allows you to properly create a customer service strategy that works for your business take it to the next level, and make your customers satisfied

Ibukun Omotesho

Content Writer
I write and enjoy watching indian movies.

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