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Do you know your customer?

There are different traits and characteristics that human beings exhibit. I would like to classify customers in 5 categories. Understanding them and serving them becomes imperative for enterprises. Customer service agents and tech support engineers should be fast in analysing the type of customer they are encountering and they should be able to handle each one of them accordingly.

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The five types of customers

1. The silent monk:

This customer is hard to predict. He never expresses his problems. Just because he is silent does not mean that he is happy with your product or service. He may be extremely unhappy with your service; yet he would not show it out.

"For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent. – White House of Consumer affairs"

This data point shows that 26 out of 27 customers are silent monks. If you are a firm who act only on customer complaints, you may be silently losing a large number of customers. Before you realise they might have all disappeared. So it is your duty to inquire deeply to understand the pain point in order to deliver superior customer experience.

2. The confronter

This is one customer you would not want to mess with. They are outspoken and are blunt in letting you know what's on their mind. Even though they are blunt, they may be right. Hence they should be handled with care. Resolve a complaint in the customer's favour and they will do business with you again 70% of the time. Source: Lee Resources

It takes talent and effort in resolving complaints put forth by the confronter. The best way to serve them is with a smile. "A man without a smiling face must not open a shop."- Chinese Proverb

3. The royal heir

This customer is one person who is a real life example of the phrase "The customer is a king". In fact he demands premium support because he also pays well. This customer hates hearing excuses. The Royal heirs can never be taken for granted. They require premium customer care support and you have to provide that to them.

4. The fussy pot

This customer will get on your nerves because he will call you up for all silly reasons. But that does not mean that he can be ignored. The art of patience is required to delight him. Once he gets happy with your service, he becomes a marketing evangelist for your company.

But in many cases fussy pots are confused with problem makers. I will explain about the problem maker in the next point

"80% of companies say they deliver "superior" customer service. But only 8% of people think these same companies deliver "superior" customer service". So the companies' assessment of themselves have gone totally wrong. All these companies cannot call the 92% people as fussy pots. Hence always survey customers for feedback and measure success that way.

5. The problem maker

This person is never happy. This person is not looking for a satisfactory response; instead he tries to get something that he doesn't deserve. He expects free service all the time. Maintain composure and respond as objectively as possible. Respond with firm politeness that is pleasant but not submissive - your team needs to be treated with respect, too.

If you know who your customer is, it becomes easy for you to serve them. But the sad reality is many a time, support agents do not have a clue on who their customer is. If Tony Hsieh's words "Customer service shouldn't just be a department, it should be the entire company" becomes the heartbeat of every enterprise, delivering extraordinary experiences to customers would become child's play.

- Prason


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