5 Types of Customers that Drive Businesses Crazy

In business, we deal with different types of customers every single day. Some customers we love, others we sigh with relief when we see them walking out the door. Everyone who has ever had a job knows there are certain types of customers who are incredibly difficult to deal with. Even the friendliest customer or the chattiest customer can be bad for business. Below are 5 types of customers businesses hate dealing with.

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The Indecisive Customer

Meet the Indecisive Customer. They show interest in your product or service, but are not always as motivated to buy as they seem. They might have some concerns that have yet to be addressed or find that there’s too many choices and they have no idea where to begin. For this customer, they’re more comfortable avoiding decisions and are more cautious and move slower than other customers. In most cases, it’s hard for them to trust that your product or service will solve their problem. Your aim is to make the buying process easier for them. This customer needs to be led to a decision.

The Indecisive Customer needs tons of handholding, and they can consume plenty of your time if you let them. You will have to be the leader in this relationship, but if you can earn their trust, they can be very valuable. When handling an Indecisive Customer, talk them through their pattern of indecision and find out if there were similar decisions they made in the past that they now regret. Be compassionate and remind them what the lack of making a decision can cost them. Demonstrate your trustworthiness with credentials, examples of past work, or customer reviews.

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The Tyre Kicker A.K.A The Time Waster

Don’t confuse the Tyre Kicker or the Time Waster with an Indecisive Customer. The Type Kickers are customers, who don’t say yes, or no, to your offer, but rather delay or drag on the sales process and waste valuable time. These customers ask a lot of questions about products or services, but then continue with some story or tangent. The difficulty is that many of these “customers” seem to be seriously interested in buying and most of the time you don’t realise they are just time-wasters until it’s too late.

Time is money and time spent with these individuals is like throwing money away. When deciding on whether they are a Tyre Kicker or an Indecisive Customer, be ready with solid probing questions that help you qualify if they’re going to be an actual buyer. This will help weed out the time-waster before you spend hours on follow-up and research.

Good probing questions, especially early in the sales process, can help uncover a Tyre Kicker. If they ask for the same information repeatedly, they may be a Tyre Kicker and you need to probe and find out the true story.

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The Distracted Customer

This customer has a wandering mind, roving eyes and their smartphone in hand just waiting for the next Facebook or Twitter notification. The Distracted Customer has a lot of their mind and while they might be interested in a product or service, they have no real urgency to buy. When dealing with a Distracted Customer, it’s your job to get their attention. To grab such customers, speak to them about the various positive features of the products or service, so that they develop a sense of interest and urgency (remember, you’re competing for their attention with all kinds of interesting cat pictures!).

Your priority is to grab the Distracted Customer’s attention and engage them. Strike up a conversation with them, but make sure that you listen to what they actually want. If you can quickly grasp their needs, queries, aspirations and any concerns about what you offer, you can successfully service them – despite having only part of their attention. Your aim is to get them to focus on what you guys do. But don’t waste too much time on small talk because you need to close this one quickly before they’re distracted again.

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The Know-It-All

We all know this guy. You meet them for the first time and immediately you know that they’ve done hours of research. This customer thinks they know what the problem is and what needs to be done to fix it. The Know-It-All has done research on you and your competitors, and spouts about all your strengths and weaknesses. The first 10 minutes of the conversation is basically the customer grilling you on specific points and asking you technical questions that might not even be relevant.

With blogs, customer forums and review sites, there has never been more information and knowledge out there for customers. The best (and really only way) to deal with a Know-It-All customer, is to be prepared. Rather than spending time answering questions, ask questions. The big problem with the Know-It-All customer is that they’re not very receptive to what you might have to say. In fact, often what they’re looking for is your respect – so give it to them! Compliment them on their knowledge and research. Tell them not many customers know as much as they do. And then use this rapport and ego to introduce new ideas to them and convince them about your product or service. Get ideas to go off in their head by asking questions that make them think about some of the other benefits of using your business. Your aim is to get them to believe they’re a really smart shopper and have made a wise decision by choosing your business.

customer 2The Grumpy Cat

This type of customer needs your help but for some reason, they’ve already decided that you probably can’t help them anyway. They’re pessimistic and impatient, but regardless, they have a problem and need someone to help them. Dealing with a Grumpy Cat can be hard because they might come with small dose of attitude and are therefore not very receptive to suggestions. When handling a Grump, the first thing to remember it to stay calm and listen. Listen to their concerns but also ask questions so that the they know that you are listening and are genuinely focused on solving their problem.

With a Grumpy Cat, make the decision process easy for them, by highlighting the benefits or the product or service. At the same time, give them plenty of time and space to express themselves, to say what they need to say. Don’t make them feel pressured into doing something – you’ll just upset them more!

Regardless of what type of customer you are dealing with, it’s important to note that even if they don’t end up buying, like the Tyre Kicker or the Grumpy Cat, you still need to provide them with a positive experience. If they walk out of the shop with their money in the pockets, the only thing they’ll leave with is the memory of their experience with you. Make sure they leave with a good impression of the business. If they don’t end up using you now, they might in the future.

Are there any other types of customers you find difficult to deal with?

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One response to “5 Types of Customers that Drive Businesses Crazy”

  1. claudia says :

    Of course there are lots more types of customers, what about the one who is always looking to find a fault in everything just to get freebbies everywhere? so they can justify not to pay …

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