Types of customers and how to segment them
To ask ourselves why customers are essential for businesses would sound like debating if flying is possible for humans without using airplanes. The obvious answer is simple, but as it is with flying, when talking about customers it is not enough to acknowledge their importance for the business. The focal point for companies is to understand where to find their potential customers, who they are, what they like, what they need, and how you (the business) can bring customer satisfaction.
In addition to this, you will have to comprehend what the different customer types are. Nonetheless, as an entrepreneur, it is crucial to learn, understand, and apply tactics for identifying and serving all the different types of customers that you`ll encounter so you can grow your customer base. So let’s get right to it, and learn a few things about how the art of having a happy customer works.
What is a customer?
It might not sound very interesting to start with definitions, but it’s essential to understand what you need to grow your business. For example, if you are a brand like Ferrari, one-time-clients might be just fine because one sale can do the trick for your car dealership. But if you are a mere mortal among us and have a small-to-medium business promoted on social media, you`ll want customers. That means people who will come to you customary. Those are the people that will habitually return to you and allow your establishment to develop sustainably.
In economics and sales, the customer is simply the recipient of a service, product or any other good that comes out of a process. In exchange, the customer gives away money or different types of consideration. Not long ago in our history we had an economy based on favors which meant that commerce created somehow permanent human relations. As economics developed, we translated to more transitory needs, we began talking more about different types of customers and customer relationships.
When talking about different types of customers we have to understand the concept of customer segmentation. Logic tells us that a customer may or may not be a consumer too.
Customers are usually divided into two categories: the entrepreneur/dealer who purchases for resale and the end-user who buys in order to use that product/service. The tactics will be different when trying to win these types of customers; but for our purpose here, we shall talk mainly about those customers who come to your doorstep to make the purchase for themselves.
What are the different types of customers?
As brands developed and became more and more accessible, we started talking about customers not only as single entities that will buy our products. Still, we created a whole industry to understand better how many types of customers are out there in terms of how they make a purchase.
It is imperative to identify the types of customers before they make the purchase. That way you will be able to meet their expectations and win their hearts and credit cards. First of all, we have “the lookers” which are just scouting and only buying if something captivates their attention. We also have the “deal-of-the-day hunters” who are every one of us on Black Friday. They are attracted by a huge discount and great 1+1 deals and will buy in bunches if they feel they stumbled upon a bargain.
Next, we have The Researcher and on the other corner of the room, we have The Impulsive Customer. While the ones in the first category will spend lots of time looking for the best possible price and quality and will turn out to be loyal customers. With the others you might discover they just bought the whole shelf, and the only thing that might scare them is a complicated checkout process. Make sure you are ready for them because they are known to be disloyal customers.
We have the customers that buy while always having in mind the price of the product, and this is important mostly because we have a natural tendency to look for and then choose the lowest price we will find. Most people will be interested in finding the best quality/price ratio. Still, we can`t forget about those who will deliberately go for the highest price to emphasize their material status or just to have the feeling that they chose what’s best on the market.
While making a purchase, really important for a customer is the reliability of the product. We all have that uncle that is extremely proud of his 30-year-old car and who will always tell you “they don’t make them so good anymore”. Even though we are now millennials and we change phones and laptops every time a new version comes out, we all like things that we can rely on. Talking about nowadays` customers, compatibility is sometimes crucial when choosing a certain product over another one, and so is the experience we get out of its usage. Since we are no longer restricted to using only things that “will do their job”, we can now choose the best experience we can get. Having all the features that customers want or the best design in the market are also tie-breakers, but so is convenience, because we sometimes choose the accessible product over the one that needs 14 days to arrive at our door.
Key tactics for identifying and serving different types of customers
As we can see, there are certain patterns in this business. But identifying them it’s only the beginning of a complex process that might sky-rocket your conversion rates. Probably the most important part of the process is finding the best tactics to increase customer loyalty and attract these newly found customers.
Maybe the most active customer of all is “The driver”. Drivers are controlling and they make fast decisions. You`ll have to be there when they need you, otherwise, they will go looking elsewhere. They are not detail-oriented, but they have discipline. You can easily recognize them because they cannot listen, they will always come forward with comments and sometimes harsh inputs and they are in a constant need of control. The best way to transform them into buyers is to value their time as much as they do, act as an expert, cut short the small talk, and never be too aggressive.
We talked earlier about the researchers and will do it again because it is important to understand how to win this category. Opposite to drivers, the researchers are highly focused on details, they take their sweet time to come to decisions and they have high standards. You`ll recognize them for their tendency to ask lots of questions and this is the area where you can win this category: always bring your A-game in terms of data and make sure you use good and relevant examples. Have a lot of patience and be prepared for a long selling process that could look like an interrogation.
The easiest target in terms of customers might be The Buyers. They are usually sociable and friendly. Most important, they are great listeners and easy to get along with. When in your shop, you`ll recognize this type of customer because they use informal language and will need explanations in bunches. Winning them is fairly easy: make sure you build trust and pay attention to the customer relationship management and then just let the things flow. Act like you are their advisor and you are there for the whole purpose of helping them, ensuring they are making the best decisions, and showing constant interest in their needs. Always be a man of your word because this type of customer appreciates honesty.
Last but not least, we have to understand the ways of dealing with those customers who are emotional. They talk a lot, they make bald decisions and love being in the center of the action.
In front of them, your marketing strategy has to be simplistic: you will have to speak with great confidence and be able to show that you are up to the task. They will enjoy talking for its sake, so expect long conversations in which you will have to be at your best. The best way to deal with this type of customer is to explain how they will benefit from your service. Bring just enough data to understand that you have the expertise, but don`t get them bored. Also, speak based on your own customer experiences and present other`s opinions.
In conclusion, the key might be very simple advice: because every business’s goal is customer retention, be as flexible as you can be. At the end of the day, if they have money, they can be your customers.