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Three TOTALLY Different types of Customers; and how to aptly design their Customer Experience

Written by Vivek Jaiswal | Co-founder, Customer Guru

Not all customers are the same, then why are we designing the same customer experience for all?

It is common knowledge that how a company fares in the market is, amongst other things, dependent on how well it treats its customers. A startup, by virtue of having fewer and similar customers, can manage to stay closer to its customers and therein take full care of each and every customer. As a company grows, it builds a customer base which is seldom consistent. Which makes it difficult to delight everyone. Although it is natural to have a spectrum of customer personas, it is equally important to define the right mix of personas that the company is really looking to do business with. This will help them optimise their customer experience and deploy the right marketing and service mix for each customer type. Such an approach ensures a better return on investment not only for the marketing plan, but also for the customer experience design.

What are the different types of customers?

This article talks about the 3 kinds of customers who, in their own ways, help companies grow and how we must design customer experience for them.

The pillars of support

80% of a company’s profit is taken care by 20% of the loyal customers. Rain or shine, they stick with you. These are the customers who have done repeat business with you over a long time, and have nurtured their sentiments along with their relationship with you. They are also the ones who came out of nowhere and decided to stay, because they value the experience you have offered them every time. They are also your evangelists who talk about you wherever they go without you having to ask them to do so; just like Steve Dorfman claims that, “Loyalty begets loyalty.”

It is important for companies dig into their 5 year sales register and identify these loyal customers. Segment these loyal ones and reach out to them if you aren’t doing it already! Make them feel appreciated. Give them your time and attention. Give them a sneak peak of the ‘to be launched’ products. They deserve to be on top of your priority list. Include them in the company’s celebrations. Document their journey with you and pamper them with offers and discounts. Do not wait for a reason to delight them. How TD Canada thanked its loyal customers stands apart from the otherwise mundane ways companies gratify their customers.

The occassional visitors

These are the customers who do business with you during certain occasions, such as the time of sale or while accompanying their friends or family who happen to be your loyal customer. They might be encouraged by your loyal customers to visit you but they are still testing the waters. This type of customers usually take time in researching about your products and might also sign-up for your newsletter because they like you. You will see them occasionally during the sale season.

To earn the trust of these customers is not very hard. Although such customers are visiting only occasionally, they are eager to form a relationship with your brand because they certainly like your products or services. Include them in the loyalty schemes, which can prove to be a win-win situation. They get to shop more and spend less than usual, while you get to see them more often. With a little more effort in delivering better customer experience, these customers would easily convert into your brand evangelists. Let them know that you acknowledge their visits. It will make them feel valued and keep them coming back for more!

The nomads

They usually form the majority of a company’s customer base. These are the impulsive customers who go with their instincts than with the brand. They have dropped by your store because something about the store has caught their eye. They do not want to commit to your brand as they are very much interested in other brands too. They tend to spend a lot of time looking around, whether they intend to buy something or not.

Things could go wrong if you push them to do business with you. Instead, encourage them to spend more time with you, let them look around and allow them to compare you with your competitor. Impulsive customers do not look for anything in particular. This could be an advantage for your business because the more range of products you put in front of such customers, the more interested they get. In the end, they either buy nothing or a lot! The risk is worth taking. The key is to allow them to browse through all your products as long as they wish to and not give up on them; you never know when they’d come again. It is important to keep in mind that this group of customers are very hard to please. They wont care much of the customer experience, unless you consistently exceed their high expectation.

Every customer is a potential loyal customer as long as you give them enough reasons to become one. Categorising your customers as per above not only helps you customise the customer experience suited for each type, but also makes you efficient in dealing with them. It is also very important to accept customers for who they are. Perhaps Jeffrey Gitomer’s quote sums it up quite well,

You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day by day.

Has your company come across any other kind of customer that we might have missed? It would be great to learn about them; please share your comments below.

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