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Common Customer Types and How to Spot Them

Posted by Kate Seat on 3/13/15 3:23 AM
Topics: college store customer service

While every customer may be different, sometimes you can anticipate what sort of customer service they might need by grouping them into general behavioral types. In this excerpt from a post by Francesca Nicasio, she highlights some of the most common types and how you should approach them. Check out the passage below and then make sure you also visit Vend's blog for the complete list.


The well-informed shopper

Many of your customers will likely fall under this category. Consumers these days do a ton of research before making purchase decisions. They read product descriptions, compare prices, and check reviews, so you can bet that when they walk into your store, they already know a whole lot about what you have to offer.

Make sure customers can get information about your store, products, and services whether they’re on their phone or on the Web. And when they land on your site, make a good impression by offering compelling content and providing great users experiences.

Ensure that your social media accounts are active and if you have profiles on review sites such as Yelp or Tripadvisor, see to it that they’re updated and spruced up. Got negative reviews? Address them immediately so you can either explain your side, or even better, turn them into positive ones.

It’s also important to focus on value, rather than just features or prices–which they already know. For instance, if you’re selling something that can be found in other stores, highlight the things that only you can offer. Do you have a better guarantee or have more superior customer support? Let your customers know.

The showroomer

Showroomers are those who try on or check out products in person, but decide to purchase them online if they find a better price. You can usually spot them when you see customers using price comparison apps or scanning your products while browsing in-store.

Many large retailers deal with showroomers by matching their competitors’ prices. Best Buy and Walmart for example, have price-matching strategies to get people to purchase their products in-store. Of course, price matching isn’t always feasible, especially for small and medium retailers with tight margins.

To convert showroomers, you need to shift their focus from price to value. You can, for example, emphasize the fact that customers can take home the product immediately, instead having to order it online and wait for the product to ship.

Or, you can bring their attention to any in-store offers, loyalty programs, or benefits that only you can offer. The key is to position your merchandise and store as distinct.

The wanderer (aka: the “Just looking around” customer)

Customers who are “only looking around” should be acknowledged, but generally left alone. If someone tells you that they’re just browsing, respond positively to make sure they feel welcome and perhaps casually mention that you have some new arrivals or items on sale.

You can say something like “That’s great! Just so you know my name is Jane and if you need anything, I’m more than happy to help” or “I understand, and just a heads up everything on the shelf over this is on sale.”

Other than that though, it’s best to let them be, until they ask for help.

The customer on a mission

These are customers who already know what they want and intend to just get in and out of your store.

The best thing you can do is simply not get in their way. If they have questions, give them straight-up answers and don’t try to upsell.

Make the shopping process simple and convenient for them, so if you spot any barriers (like long checkout lines) eliminate them for the shopper. For instance, if checkout’s taking too long, open another counter or offer to ring them up on the spot.

The confused or indecisive shopper

Often, customers who are having trouble deciding either don’t have enough information, or have too much that they’re overwhelmed. Address this by figuring out their specific needs and educating them on what they need to know.

Ask questions. What are they looking for? Are they having any trouble understanding aspects or features of your products? What do they know–and don’t know–about your merchandise?

If they’re comparing products, give them the non-salesy lowdown on the items that they’re considering. Provide the pros and cons, and tailor your answers to their needs so they can make an informed decision.

Your main goal should be to help and educate. You don’t want to prod the customer to make a decision that isn't right for them, so be upfront about what your products can and can’t do. Be honest. Your customer will appreciate it and they’ll learn to trust you. (And as we all know, that’s so much better in the long run.)

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