5 types of customers and different ways to engage with them

It’s a bright Monday morning; you walk into a cafe to have breakfast and coffee. Within minutes, you spot your good friend walking in. You’re excited to see her. You become happy, chirpy, straightforward, loving, and expressive. You don’t seem to hold yourself back. Engaging with her feels like a piece of cake. 

Within the next five minutes, your good friend’s friend walks in. You’ve already met him a couple of times. Now, there is a shift in your behavior. This time you’re careful of what you say. You understand that person’s behavior and respond accordingly. You have a natural tendency to please him.  

Later, that friend’s friend walks in. She is a complete stranger to you. There begins the actual game. Would you interact with this person the same way? Can you think of how you would automatically shift your behavior to suit the new person?

Now imagine this drill. The last friend’s friend walks in with a gang of people. A group with varied interests. How would you deal with all these people?

As humans, we are born to communicate, engage, and have conversations that appeal to others.

The story was to show you the importance of changing your way of engagement based on your target audience.

That’s something that comes naturally to us in human-to-human interaction.

But, why is it so hard for us to drive engagement on a large scale?

Customer engagement is just a bigger picture of the same scenario. Driving customer engagement in your business is all about enabling empathetic connections, driving customer relationship through interactions, and something as simple as hearing your customers out and providing value—at all times.

With more channels (like social media) gaining traction, brands are expected to behave human-like, empathize, and interact with people to create lasting impressions. Brands need to have a voice, persona, opinion, tone, and most importantly, a value to offer.

But, are they doing it right?

“Brands are becoming like people… but unfortunately the kind we hate” – Alex Smith, author of Generous Brands.

For brands, the most important step to achieving human-centric interactions or rather driving customer engagement effectively is to understand audience and formulate their engagement strategy accordingly.

I agree that it’s not an easy task. To make your life a little easy, I’m going to list down five major types of customers and the best way to engage with them to achieve maximum results. To make it interesting, let’s give them personas.

The quiet ones: Silent Sally 

Let’s start with the most difficult persona to deal with — Silent Sally. Silent Sally is either an existing customer who doesn’t respond to updates or a potential customer who doesn’t communicate or show interest.

Silent Sally opens your mails, views your answers on Quora, checks your social media posts, and reads all your blogs; but she doesn’t interact or respond.

This persona is confusing. Silence makes it difficult for us to judge if these guys are unhappy or happy. These customers mostly fall under three categories – a) they are exploring your product without any specific intention b) they don’t understand what you are talking about or, c) they feel that their voice is not heard.

How do you engage with quiet customers?

  • Help them identify the ‘WHY’. Tell them why they should use your product.
  • These are people who don’t understand the problem at hand. You need to help them identify the problems that they’re facing and provide necessary solutions.
  • Best way is to start with a proactive chat, phone call, or personalized email. Show them that you care.
  • Show them that you are here to not just provide solutions but also to target the right problem.
  • Ask more close-ended questions so that they don’t have to talk much.
  • These guys probably don’t like talking much. Use in-product FAQs in your live chat tool so that they can help themselves out.

The irate ones: Angry Andrew 

Angry Andrews are all over. The main reason you have angry customers is because you are not giving them what they want. They have expectations that are not fulfilled. They are angry because you promised to solve their problems but you failed to do so.

They are dissatisfied, unhappy, and frustrated with you. But somehow after all of this, they actually don’t mind giving you another chance.

How do you engage with angry customers?

  • LISTEN: You can solve most of the problems just by hearing them out.
  • Get on social media and respond to their angry comments.
  • Ask for feedback. Start conversations with them.
  • Apologize when they seem frustrated for genuine reasons.
  • Treat them like a king/queen. Chalk out personalized incentives.

The doubtful ones: Confused Cathy 

Confused Cathy actually likes what you offer but is doubtful of making a purchase decision. Confused customers want to know more about your product and how you differ from the rest of the market. They want to know if you can provide value for the money that they are about to shell out.

How do you engage with confused customers?

  • Talk about your value proposition on your website.
  • Send out case studies and customer testimonials via email.
  • Use live chat to reach out to them every time they get on your website.
  • Talk in numbers. Give them stats, pros and cons, and facts on why they should use your product.
  • Incentivize—Run in-app campaigns to provide discounts and other incentives

The forthcoming ones: Responsive Ryan 

Responsive customers are your potential brand ambassadors when handled right. These are people who are willing to interact with you. They are loud. They are present on every other channel that you are on. Only downside being, these are the guys who will be the first ones to announce when they are unhappy with your brand. So consider responsive Ryan to be your high maintenance friend. You have to be extremely cautious while handling these guys.

How do you engage with responsive customers?

  • Enable interaction and conversation through initiatives like AMAs. Check out #freshchathour for reference.
  • Collaborate with such people and try to make them your influencers.
  • Empower their social media voice. Promote their content.
  • Implement affiliate marketing – Give them incentives to promote your product.
  • Get regular feedback. Ensure that they are happy with your service. Monitor your CSAT.

The faithful ones: Loyal Laura 

Loyal Laura is the best type of customer to have. She loves your product and keeps coming back for more. Your only mission with these customers should be to pamper them and continue doing whatever you have been doing. These are the guys who spread the word about your product to their friends and followers. Laura and customers like her can act as your brand’s advocate.

How do you engage with loyal customers?

  • Form a customer success team and assign SPOCs (point of contact) who can pay individual attention.
  • Keep in constant touch with them. Shout out to them on social media.
  • Trigger in-app campaigns that incentivizes them whenever they pay a visit to your website.
  • Make them advocate your brand. Get their testimonials/social proof to market your products to your potential customers.
  • Write personalized emails/newsletters to inform them of updates that are being rolled out and how it impacts them.
  • Build case studies and best practices based on their stories.

Remember, empathy is the backbone of engagement and plays a very important role in helping you understand your customer’s pain point. Silent Sally, angry Andrew, confused Cathy, responsive Ryan, and loyal Laura are all people who deserve to be heard out and treated with due respect.

In the end, people, conversations, and the memories you have with them are all that truly matters!

Now that you are well versed with the types of customers and ways to engage with them, it’s time to get to action. Let the engagement game begin!