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11 Different types of customers in South Africa and how to deal with them

Today we talk about the type of customers you are likely to deal with during the life span of your online business or any other business. We will guide you through each type and provide hints on how to keep any type of customer happy.


They say business success is defined by three things – strategy, good product, and employee training. Sure, those are all super important. However, after all is said and done, we are selling our products or services to people, our customers. Business longevity is determined by how you treat your customers. How do you attract them? Moreover, how do you keep them from leaving?


Humans are one of the most diversified species on earth. We have have different personalities, different needs and wants, and different things repel and attract us.


Does this make things complicated? No, in fact it makes everything easier.


Lets say you are selling dresses. So when are your target segment. What type of dresses do you sell? are they elegant and expensive? frilly and colourful? for girls? young adults? mature women?


Answer these questions , and you can segment the whole market into groups. Some of these groups will be your target group. By recognising customer types you can provide more fitted options and better communication.


You no longer have to prepare an offer that suits everyone, which by the way is somewhat of an impossible task.


How can we establish the different types of customers?


Most people segment customers by age, gender or depth of wallet however there is a more efficient way. This method does not only neatly divide consumers, it also includes essential factors like needs, frustrations and behavior. It also tells you how to deal with these customers.


Businesses can attract customers with an advertisement, celebrity/influencer and discounts. however, there has to be a need or want on the customer side to make this sale.


What is vital for any type of customer when making the decision to purchase?


Price – Some types of customers prefer products with the lowest price possible. Some are interested in the proper quality/price ratio. Other customers are seeking expensive products to underline their material status.


Reliability – in most cases products are made to last. Customers cherish brands that deliver dependable products.


Compatibility – in today’s world, with the whole eco-system of smart things and technology around us it’s even more important for a product to fit in with previously bought goods and also fit in with a consumers personality.


Experience – we use things because we need them. That’s kind of obvious. Yet, when presented with two similar products, we are going to choose the one that offers a better experience.


Experience can be defined by usability, ease of use, onboarding or even sensory perception.


Functionality – the market is so saturated that your product has to be better than the competition. This also means having all the features needed by customers.


Design – these days design is more than good look and excellent materials. Products need to be easy and pleasant to use to be considered well designed.


Convenience – product or service needs to be easy to find and buy; nobody likes to look for what they need.


By knowing the reason for purchase or interaction with your brand, you can quickly identify types of customers. By serving the specific needs of any types of customer, you can get an edge over the competition.


It’s also easier to prepare the right offer when it doesn’t have to be all around type of deal.

You can’t please everyone. However, you can please specific types of consumers with the right approach.


Here’s a detailed list of 11 different types of customers and how to deal with them.

  1. Indecisive Customer

They can’t seem to make a decision no matter how many questions they ask.

  • The thing to do here is acknowledge the indecision.

  • Avoid being push, instead

  • Help the customer with facts and possible best solutions for their needs.

  • Identify barrier to purchase.

  1. Highly Critical Customer

These customers are a huge challenge. They seem like they know it all and are very critical of your suggestions.

  • Be patient and attentive.

  • Don’t take anything personally.

  • Use clarifying statements, weaving in new information and ideas about the product of which they are being critical.

  1. Aggressive Customer

This type of customer is angry and feels their needs should be prioritized above all others.

  • Always stay calm and don’t argue with them.

  • Avoid responding to their outbursts, arguments or agitated manner.

  • Instead, show you understand, then look for alternatives and offer other solutions.

  1. Impulsive Customer

This customer is very motivated to buy, he may overlook details and have trouble concentrating.

  • Be brief, but specific.

  • Provide a positive motivational influence.

  • Once you determine what he wants, act quickly and make the purchase easy for them.

  1. Cautious Customer

This customer is worried about making the right decision, he is vague and asks a lot of questions.

  • Don’t over explain, show interest in his needs, give simple and factual answers and offer real solutions to what he wants.

  1. Talkative Customer

Although friendly, she tends to repeat herself, in most cases she’s only just looking for human interaction.

  • Listen carefully, paraphrase back what she says.

  • Asked closed questions for a YES/NO answer.

  • Narrow down what she wants.

  1. Complaining Customer

This customer amplifies the problem (if the problem existed in the first place), and is very hard to satisfy.

  • Be attentive and try to understand his point of view.

  • Avoid excuses and give a sincere apology.

  1. No Boundaries Customer

This customer will ignore your schedule or time and expects quick responses to their many requests.

  • Respond calmly

  • Anticipate their questions, set expectations and check with them regularly.

  1. Best Deal Customer

Very concerned about their budget, they’ll compare prices and they’re often difficult to reason with.

  • Always set clear expectations

  • Ask for a budget range and offer alternative options and highlight products in her price range.

  1. Demanding Customer

This customer knows what they want, they are entitled and can demand something you can’t deliver.

  • Be extra communicative, reassure them that you understand what they want.

  • Do the best you can to meet their expectation.

  • Provide a compromise if possible.

  1. Pessimist Customer

This customer is both opinionated and negative. They criticize everything.

  • Don’t take it personal.

  • Show empathy.

  • Ask questions to see where the negativity comes from and provide a real solution to their needs.

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