9 Types of Customers and How to Approach Them

Updated Jun 1, 2023.
Types of Customers

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Many businesses don’t pay attention to their needs despite their importance. Before you heave a sigh of relief and think your business meets the customer’s needs, answer this question.

What is your customer strategy? If you are like most businesses, you will mention strategies for your growing customer base without identifying solutions for different customer types. Now you can see why your customers are leaving unsatisfied and doing business with your competitors.

No customer is the same. Different customers have unique characteristics. Your job is to group them into categories, understand their needs, and the best approach to deal with them.

Let’s check the different customer segments and the best way to approach them to ensure they become repeat and loyal buyers.

Main Types of Customers

You will attract different types of customers in your sales funnel who are interested in what you sell. Your ability to identify them and know how best to manage them will determine if they will become loyal or pick a competitor.

Let's check out some of the most common types of customers and how best to manage them.

1. New Customers

Consider new customers as babies who recently came in contact with your product. They are needy customers that require attention, love, and patience to come to maturity and independence.

All customers begin at this stage. New customers willing to try your product for the first time will always be a part of your customer base. They form their first impression once they come in contact with your product and business, which can be positive or negative.

After their first purchase, they are receptive to any information you give them in this stage of the customer relationship.

First-time buyers may be overbearing. You must keep your cool and give them what they need. If you engage them politely, they will not become dissatisfied customers.

You can easily influence their purchase decisions, build loyalty, and strengthen your relationship to guarantee more sales.

Don't make the mistake of not following up after their first purchase. If you keep in touch with them, you put yourself in their consciousness. You can ask them for feedback and give them suggestions on how to better benefit from the product.

As long as you do your part in the relationship, they will give your product high ratings and good reviews that increase your customer base.

Importance of customer feedback
Source: Tidio

How to Approach New Customers

  • Welcome the Newbies Warmly: People can sense when they are welcome. Customer satisfaction goes beyond the product’s quality. Providing good customer service is essential. Send new customers personalized welcome emails to make them feel welcome. These emails should contain vital product information to guarantee a smooth customer experience.
  • Offer a Simple and Clear Onboarding Process: Play the role of a babysitter by guiding them on how to use your product. You can expose them to resource kits like walk-throughs, blog posts, demos, and tutorials. Once they understand how the product works, they will get committed to using it.
  • Keep Contact Channels Open: Since new customers are likely to have questions or face challenges, get your customer service teams ready to swoop in when needed. Ensure all the contact options are easily accessible and readily available to make every customer happy.
  • Strengthen Your Relationship: The quality of your investment in the relationship will influence customer loyalty. Customers tend to switch to competitors once they feel they are not appreciated and you do not offer them a positive personalized experience. If you invest in your relationship, you will have a lot of happy customers.

2. Potential Customers

Every acquired lead in your sales funnel is a potential customer who may translate into a loyal customer. Potential customers are called prospects or lookers. They gather information and look for the best deal before making any buying decision.

Don't joke with your potential customer because they may be your connection to a new community of customers. Since they have shown some interest in your product, do all you can to convert them.

Potential customers are like children that are yet to be born. Your healthy or toxic lifestyle will determine how they will end up. A toxic lifestyle involves neglecting to nurture your leads to maturity by avoiding them.

On the flip side, a healthy lifestyle involves giving them the necessary attention and causing them to make a buying decision by building on their interest. What becomes of your potential customers depends on your approach in their awareness stage.

Image of a Customer Journey Map Showing the Awareness Stage

Image of a Customer Journey Map Showing the Awareness Stage
Source: Questionpro

How to Convert Potential Customers

  • First Impression Always Matters: People tend to remember their first experience with you over others. Ensure the first contact visitors have with your product is compelling enough to attract attention. Invest in creating the perfect customer experience for your website visitors. Begin by eliminating things that can distract them like pop-up ads.
  • Display Your Value: What makes you different from your competitors? Why should they buy from you and not from others? You must answer these questions by demonstrating your values and making your product irresistible. You can use social proof like white papers, testimonials, and case studies to show them why they should choose you.
  • Nurture Responding Leads: Once you identify leads responding more than others, it's wise to give them attention and begin the nurturing process. You can share more valuable information and well-crafted resource files to influence their decision.
  • Make Yourself Easily Accessible: Assure your potential customer you are always there for them anytime they need help. If they have any questions, they can contact you with the confidence that they will get their answers. With this consciousness, they will be more comfortable doing business with you.

3. Loyal Customers

Loyalty is a virtue in business and is shaped by positive customer experience. If you want to convert your purchasers to active brand ambassadors, advocate for customer loyalty.

The more loyal customers you have, the higher your customer lifetime value (CLV). It’s cheaper and easier to retain customers than it is to acquire new ones.

Retention vs acquisition costs
Source: Struto

Every business desires to have loyal customers because they always come back for more. Their love for your product and company drives them to remain loyal and recommend your products to people in their sphere of influence.

While dealing with loyal customers, find out what keeps them glued to you and ensure you replicate the same for other customers to get similar results.

Loyal customers always make repeat purchases and are willing to try new products when they come out. Due to their loyal nature, they expect premium services from your company, particularly from your support team.

Do all you can to satisfy their needs and keep them loyal because of the advantage they give to your business.

What would you do for a brand you're loyal to
Source: Yotpo

How to Retain Loyal Customers

  • Celebrate their Success: Your loyal purchasers are deeply concerned about your products and would love for other customers to get involved as they are. Take advantage of their interest by uploading their testimonials in a blog article or as a case study. This exposure allows other customers to see how great your product is.
  • Loyalty Programs: Customers love it when businesses give back. A loyalty program will go a long way in retaining them. You can offer them special discounts and rewards for their consistent purchases. Additionally, a loyalty program is a good source of behavioral and purchase data.
  • Discover What Makes them Loyal: You must have something unique about your business that keeps your customers from leaving. Discover this feature and use it to get more of your customers loyal to your products.
  • Remain Consistent: Once you have discovered what makes your loyal customers tick, ensure you stick to it. Your discovery may be as little as the packaging, the smell of your products, customer support, or the effectiveness of your product. Whatever it may be, ensure you remain consistent in delivering the best.

4. Impulse Customers

Impulsive customers are very emotional when it comes to making purchase decisions. As long as they like the product, they do not require much convincing before they pay.

Researching product features is not their strong suit. In most cases, their purchases are unplanned. They act based on how heightened their emotions are when they come in contact with your product.

You don't need to put up a show or get them excited with too much value proposition. These customers help you to conserve your resources and efforts. Instead, focus more efforts on convincing potential customers who are unsure about what decisions to make.

Don't make the purchase process complicated. The easier the buying process, the faster they will jump right in and pay for the product. Cultivating loyalty among impulse buyers is easy as they don't hesitate before going for what they like.

An impulse customer is an advantage to your business. They are the best customers to have when you want to upsell. With them in your customer base, you will always make sales.

How to Approach an Impulsive Customer?

  • Simplicity is Key: Impulsive buyers love simple personalized experiences while shopping. Once the steps in making a purchase get complicated, they lose interest. Many pop-up ads on your landing page can distract them and turn their attention to something else. Ensure you eliminate every distraction and make the purchase process simple enough for a child in grade six.
  • Offer Timely Upsells and Cross-sells: By understanding this type of customer, you can take advantage of their shopping style by upselling and cross-selling offers of products they like. You can make recommendations of products via channels like shipping notices, checkout screens, order confirmation, and follow-up emails.
  • Offer Seamless Self-services: Impulse purchases attract situations that require customer support because of mishaps like returning or exchanging one product for another. Impulse buyers are a vital part of your customer base. A fully functioning self-service process will keep them happy and returning, irrespective of any issue.
  • Use Incentives: You can leave a trail of incentives on pages where you want them to make quick purchases so you can sell some products that are not moving fast. These incentives serve as a hook for them to buy the product without reading the fine print.

5. Discount Customers

Discount customers are known as bargain hunters because they are always in search of the best deals. Unlike impulse customers, they are not quick to make purchase decisions.

These customers prefer to spend time in search of valuable information on the most affordable model of your product or come back when you offer discounts.

Discount customers are not usually loyal to a particular brand or product because they only look out for themselves. They can buy from you today if your product is the cheapest and go elsewhere once they get a better deal.

Such customers are hard to satisfy and are never willing to pay the full price when they make a purchase. You can attract them by offering the best deal in the market they can’t refuse.

Psychology of Discounts Statistics
Source: Namogoo

How to Handle Discount Customers

  • Make the Deal Crystal Clear: Give them what they want, information about your product, and the deal you are offering. A discount customer loves to research various products and compare costs. Don't make yours a challenge. Show your cards and explain in detail your discount policy and how they can enjoy it.
  • Deliver Superb Service: Discount customers don't forgive easily if your services are not excellent. Ensure all your promo codes and productions function optimally. Keep your customer support team on standby in case they experience any issues during the purchase process.
  • Provide Added Value: You must be proactive when dealing with discount customers because they tend to be impatient while shopping. If you don’t have what they want, they move on. You can renew or extend discounted offers before they expire. Be willing to go the extra mile to satisfy bargain hunters since this customer type has unique needs.

6. Need-Based Customers

Need-based customers focus on the reason they visit your website. Their motivation for accessing your product is to see if it meets their needs. If you have what they need, they purchase it immediately and leave to do other things.

These customers are tough to upsell because all they want is a product that can satisfy their present needs. Any product that does not fall into this category is ignored.

Cultivating loyalty is a difficult task because these customers are motivated by their needs. They are quick to move to other businesses that can satisfy their needs if you can't.

In most cases, need-based customers are visitors who saw certain products, and when they needed them, they came back to purchase them. These customers buy without much convincing when the need arises for that product.

Common ways consumers are finding the perfect product
Source: Sproutsocial

How to Handle Need-based Customers

  • Establish Strong Connections: Trust is a vital aspect of business that benefits business owners and purchasers. Work on establishing a concrete connection with your customers. This connection will result in a positive impression of your business and keep your customers happy and willing to visit your store for their needs.
  • Offer Excellent Customer Service: With a well-trained customer support team, need-based customers will view your business as a place of refuge. Your customer service team should offer fast answers to questions and lasting solutions. If you meet their needs, they will always return when they have new things to buy.
  • Offer Step-by-Step Guide: Some need-based customers may not be knowledgeable about other products that meet their needs. Offer advice on what they need to make the purchase process seamless. Consider optimizing your website for mobile, allow guest checkout, and make various payment options available.

7. Wandering Customers

For most businesses, wandering customers make up their biggest traffic source but contribute the smallest percentage of sales revenue.

Businesses with many wandering customers and few loyal buyers are in trouble because their revenue will be small.

This customer segment has no desire to buy. You find them doing a lot of window shopping without making any purchases. Factors like boredom, brand image, or the location of your business are what attract them to your business.

When they eventually make a purchase, they may return the product or exchange it for another if they are unsatisfied.

Users behave Differently But You Can Win Them Anyway
Source: Scnsoft

How to Relate to Wondering Customer

  • Give Them Limited Attention: Once you identify a wandering customer, do not waste your time and resources. You can convert these vital resources into converting other customers who have shown interest in your products and services and are willing to purchase.
  • Gain Insight About Your Product: The attention they give your business has its positive side because you can gain insight about some flaws in your product. Wandering customers know about various products since they are mostly surfing different websites and online stores. Take advantage of what they know to make your product better.
  • Stir Up Interest: If you play your cards right by showing them the strength of your product, you can easily convert them into loyal customers. Expose them to certain materials that contain how your products can meet some of their needs and give them the instant gratification they desire.

8. Knowledgeable Customers

Knowledgeable customers are also called insistent customers. They seem to have in-depth knowledge about the product and are not shy to display their knowledge.

Researching product functionality is a hobby for them. They love to see the various aspects of the product and how best to optimize it to their advantage.

Knowledgeable customers are not impulsive. They love to sniff around before making a purchase decision. You can bet on them to always make informed decisions because they know about your product's flaws and strengths.

Dealing with this type of customer is interesting and overwhelming at times. They are full of technical questions that they mostly have answers to but they test your knowledge.

If your customer support is not excellent, they can become angry customers and go elsewhere to get what they want. Invest in the best helpdesk software like LiveAgent and Freshdesk to provide premium customer service for your customers.

How to Deal with Knowledgeable Customer

  • Massage Their Ego: Know-it-all customers love recognition for their knowledge. Give them attention and mention how impressed you are with what they know. This gesture gives them the right impression about your company and can convince them to become loyal customers.
  • Invest in Your Customer Support: Train your customer support team on the best ways of relating with knowledgeable customers. They must be polite and never lose their cool if the customer seems to be asking too many questions. Their response can produce positive or negative results and influence customers' purchase decisions.
  • Offer Superior Knowledge: Highly informed customer types require something more than what they already know to influence their purchase decision. If you can offer them easy access to a knowledge base and other vital information, they will help to solve their product-related problem. This factor makes you stand out from your competitors.

9. Angry Customers

You can’t run a business successfully without dealing with angry customers. This customer type is always very emotional and easily gets triggered if things are not going their way. Personal issues or dissatisfaction with the purchased product can cause anger.

Unhappy customers could be a problem at times, but they serve as a rich source of feedback. An angry customer will gladly spell out the flaws and inconsistencies in your products and services.

With the right insights from their opinions and complaints, you can make necessary adjustments to your product and service delivery. In most situations, their reactions are overly exaggerated.

If you can manage your angry customers effectively, you can turn them into loyal customers that freely perform the role of brand ambassadors.

The Stakes of Getting Retention Right or Wrong
Source: Yotpo

How to Handle Angry Customers

  • Have A Contingency Plan: While conducting your business, you will always meet unhappy customers. Train your customer support team on the best ways to handle angry customers.
  • Listen to Their Complaints: Look beyond the tone of their voice. Angry customers mostly have a point while expressing what's displeasing about your product or service. Don't dismiss their points. Hear them out, you will be surprised that by just listening, their anger leaves. Don't be eager to offer solutions until you understand their complaints.
  • Take Appropriate Action: You can redeem yourself by offering appropriate remedies to the identified problems. Ensure you use their complaints as a guide to get insights on what solutions fit the problem. You can offer a refund, a replacement, or even a letter of apology.

Delight Every Type of Customer With a Customer-centric Solution

The best and most effective solutions to customer-related problems are simple. Customers are not robots. They have feelings and want to establish concrete relationships rather than official conversations.

By understanding the various customer types, you can relate with them personally and convert them to loyal customers.

You can use data like basic contact information, purchase data, customer behaviors, attitudes, and preferences to offer premium services to your customers. While communicating with your customers, ensure you use basic terms to be more comfortable and expressive.

Here are the best software tools that help you provide customer-centric solutions for different customer segments.

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Martin Luenendonk

Editor at FounderJar

Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.