Whether you own a bricks and mortar shop or sell to retail customers online, each customer who buys your goods or uses your service is unique. Understanding different types of customers from a sales perspective can ultimately increase revenue. Here are details to help you segment customers so you can engage properly with each type.
1. New customers
This is a fresh new customer who has just purchased your goods or services. The two main reasons customers disappear never to return again are because they don’t understand your product or it has little or no value to them. Put a customer onboarding policy in place to address these problems and try to nudge them into the loyal customer category. The HubSpot blog has an article to help you develop a plan: The Ultimate Guide to Customer Onboarding.
Nurture this relationship with powerful post-purchase emails or postcards campaigns. Greet returning customers to your site or store by extending special offers, acknowledging them, and thanking them. If customers feel valued, they’re much more likely to return with their hard-earned dollars.
2. Potential customer
A potential customer can be identified in many ways. They might be a looky-loo investigating a variety of products. Perhaps they signed up for your newsletter, asked a question via chat, browsed in your store, or simply visited your website. Being interested is what sets this customer apart from others and you need to capitalize on that interest.
First, clearly show the potential customer the benefits of your product by steering him towards a targeted landing page or sharing a blog post. Make it clear that you’re available for help, advice, or information at any time. Even if they don’t act on it, they’ll remember your responsiveness.
3. Impulsive customers
Impulsive buying decisions are often sparked by emotions and feelings instead of logic and planning. This type of customer may stroll into your shop or see an ad when scrolling through their social media feeds.
What this customer needs most is an easy way to make a purchase. Make purchases via your website simple – too many clicks and you’ll risk a customer bail out. If you do get a question from an impulsive shopper, answer quickly and succinctly. You don’t want that buying impulse to fade.
4. Loyal customers
Customers loyalty happens when a consumer consistently purchases your product, brand, or services over an extended period of time. Loyal customers typically represent no more than 20% of your customer base but contribute the majority of sales revenue.
Give your loyal customers a lot of love and care! They are likely your bread and butter. You don’t just want them to stick around-you’ll want them to spread the word through positive word-of-mouth recommendations and great online reviews.
5. Discount customers
This customer sees value in your product but won’t buy it unless it’s discounted. It’s generally hard to turn them into a repeat customer. Discount customers usually seek out additional information about the product and the deal you’re offering.
Be clear and concise when you explain the deal and don’t try to upsell – discount customers won’t go for that. Even if you’re not running a similar discount in the future, make sure your customer service is on point so they’ll think twice about leaving.
6. Dissatisfied customers
Pay close attention to dissatisfied customers. Some people are simply difficult to deal with and impossible to please. Problems you might face include:
- I've been waiting here forever!
- I keep getting shuffled from one person to the next.
- You don't seem to care.
- Your delivery took too long.
- I bought your product but it doesn’t do what it's supposed to do.
- I’m unhappy with your customer service.
You can’t make everyone happy but you can try. The SmartBiz Small Business Blog has resource with solid steps you can take to mitigate a negative situation: How to Handle Customer Complaints in 7 Steps.
Acknowledge the problem, stay calm, and make use of the feedback you receive. Dissatisfied customers are an excellent source of valuable information. Don’t just let them complain and disappear. Their input can help you to find problems and fix them.
Steps you can take to engage with customers
1. Target the ideal customer based on what you are selling
It’s more important than ever before to have a well-defined market. No business can afford to target everyone so you’ll need to define your ideal audience and nail down your Unique Sales Proposition (USP). Identify your USP by completing the phrase "Customers will buy from me because my business is the only..."
If you’ve been around a while, engage with your current customers and do as much research as possible. Answer the following questions:
- Who is currently paying for your products or services?
- What is their age, gender, geographical location, education level, marital status, household income, occupation, and hobbies?
If you’re a relatively new business. Perform a competitive analysis answering these questions about competitors both big and small:
- Who sells products or services the same or similar to yours?
- Have your competitors expanded with new products or services in the last 6 months?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the competition?
- What strategies are used by each competitor to achieve their objectives?
- How does their website look and function?
- What’s the overall market outlook in your industry?
2. Understand how the customer benefits from your product
Knowledge is power for small business owners. Understanding the benefits consumers gain from your product or services can help you market and make more sales. It’s difficult to effectively sell to a customer if you don’t have insight into how a particular product addresses their needs.
3. Choose the right channel
Is your customer base active on social media or are your shoppers less technologically savvy, reading local newspapers or listening to the radio? Look at your research to determine the best way to reach them.
For example, SmartBiz recently worked with the creators of the Infinity Strap, a popular yoga prop. Instagram has a robust yoga community and the business has attracted almost 55,000 followers using targeted hashtags and on-point photography.
4. Choose the right customer service type
Here are the different ways you can engage with customers once you’ve identified the type you want to target:
- Phone Support
According to a 2019 Microsoft report, this type of customer support is the most popular choice among all service types all over the world.
- Email customer service
On average, people send 269 billion emails every day so it’s safe to say that email is a top choice for most consumers. Email is convenient, allowing customers to submit a question, even beyond working hours. It’s far more common for companies to have an online contact form on their website than to have phone support.
- On-site customer service
If you have a bricks and mortar location, make sure your employees are extremely well trained and able to answer questions and address problems appropriately and swiftly.
- Live chat customer service
Live chat is a flexible website tool allowing you to support customers and increase sales by engaging the right prospects at the right time. It’s also a great lead generator.
- Social media customer service
Social customer service is providing support through social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to quickly answer questions. Customers visiting your social media channels are already engaged, answering questions quickly is a great way to convert.
- FAQ customer service
FAQ stands for Frequently Asked Questions. The FAQs on your website offer an opportunity to
communicate with the most important visitors to your website – consumer who have started the decision-making process. Some businesses use FAQs to post information they can’t fit elsewhere on their site and a well-crafted page is an effective way to provide all the answers.