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GuidesCustomer research13 common customer types

13 common customer types

Last updated

29 April 2023

Reviewed by

Hugh Good

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Identifying your different customer types can help you not only market to that customer but also give better customer service. There are a variety of potential customers for your service or product.

You can assess the needs of a customer or potential customer by identifying the ‘type’. By creating a buyer persona, you can see your target consumer at a glance.

There are different subsets of customers that may come through your virtual or real-world door. While market research identifies your target market, a keen eye and attention to buyer behavior can help you identify their motivation and what it will take to retain them as a customer.

Let’s look at how to identify each customer type.

Types of customers and how to cater to their needs

We've identified 13 types of customers that can be part of any business. These customers all have slightly different needs and expectations. Understanding these will allow you to customize your offerings to provide a more pleasant experience and help attune your marketing messaging to attract your target customers.

Browsing customers

Also known as lookers or potential customers, browsers aren't your customers yet, but they are interested in your products or services. They want to explore their options before purchasing and are in the middle of the sales funnel.

While they are showing an interest in your product or service, it is up to you to explain how it can meet their needs. This customer type expects a great first impression with solid design and positive user experience, both of which demonstrate overall value.

Rather than a hard sales pitch, engage this customer type via testimonials and white papers to show how your product or service has helped other customers. Encourage customers to complete a contact form and nurture that lead with additional information, a compelling offer, and warm and engaging customer service.

Impulse buyers

The impulse buyer is quick to decide on purchasing what you offer. They don't do much, if any, research, and there is no need to coax them through the sales funnel. Impulse buyers need to be left to their own devices to complete their journey.

There are, however, a few helpful ways to influence their decisions. Impulsive customers need things to be simple and enjoyable; streamline the purchase experience and don't interrupt them with unnecessary distractions.

They may be open to upselling, but only if it doesn't take away from their primary purchase journey. Self-service is perfect for impulse buyers.


‘Researcher’ customers have already compared you with other equivalent brands or services; a pretty website and simple promotion likely won’t cut it for them. To cultivate this type of shopper, you need to provide evidence of your product’s or service’s value via testimonials.

Researchers are more interested in overall value, so show them how your item will give them superior value and provide the most effective solution to address their pain points. Comparing your product’s features with those of competitor products is also a good way to show, at a glance, how your product or service can benefit users in ways that others can't.

Bargain hunters

Also known as discount customers, bargain hunters are the opposite of impulse buyers. They focus heavily on cost, and while they desire the product or service and know it is what they want or need, they will search for the lowest price before they buy.

It is hard to turn these customers into loyal shoppers, but not impossible. To cultivate bargain hunters, make sure your whole team knows your promotional deals inside and out, so you can offer this group added value that they may not get anywhere else.

New customers

New customers have made their first purchase from you and have just started their relationship with your company. They are likely to be more receptive to your marketing at this stage of the relationship. Finding any customer at this stage is a chance to build loyalty and repeat business. 

Offer high-quality customer service and useful information, a proper welcome to make them feel appreciated, and ensure they have resources available by way of blogs, demonstrations, and other product tutorials.

By ensuring their questions are answered and that they feel valued, you're sowing the seeds for a long-term relationship with your new customers.

Confused customers

This customer subset has questions or concerns about your product or service. They need information to make a decision one way or another on whom to buy from. By acknowledging their confusion and creating ways for them to obtain answers, you can convince confused customers to buy.

FAQs are a good start, but having a live chat, or chatbot service, is another useful tool. Offer your customers the option to talk with a real person to get their questions answered. This level of customer service will make them feel valued and will give them the information they need to make a purchasing decision.

Uncertain customers

Uncertain customers are a cross between confused customers and browsers. They don't know whether your product or service is right for them, but they are weighing up their options. 

To win over uncertain customers, offer immediate contact options such as live chat or a chatbot. If these unsure customers can see the value of your product or service, how it is a solution to their pain points, and your accessible, high-quality customer service, they will turn into buyers.

Angry customers

No matter how well you operate your business, you will get an ‘angry’ customer from time to time. These types of customers provide a learning experience about what not to do and how to improve your company. If you find out what is causing their frustration and correct it, you can transform a volatile situation into one that could convert them into a satisfied return customer.

Be empathetic to their situation, acknowledge their problem or issue, and try your best to resolve it. The resolution should address the customer’s frustration; refunds and replacements are your best tools here. Your team should be trained on handling an angry customer with grace and confidence.

People who don’t speak the same language

Non-English speaking customers want accessibility. They don't speak the language and are discouraged if purchasing journeys are only in English.

To encourage sales from this group, offer translation services so your website and shopping pages can be translated into their language. Providing a language drop-down menu on the contact form can help you identify this customer type, allowing you to create better emails that make them feel valued and supported.

Loyal customers

These customer types are repeat buyers and already fans of your product or service. There isn't a need to "sell" it to them; you just need to continue to provide them with quality service. Retention is your goal for loyal customers.

To retain them, consider loyalty programs such as reward points and repeat purchase bonuses. You can learn about their experience through feedback forms which can give you valuable data to positively tweak and optimize your product or service for future customers.

Former customers

Former, or lapsed, customers were once customers but are not any longer. If you realize they’re a former customer before it’s too late, you can bring them back.

A customer service complaint file or a feedback form may tell you what went wrong and give you hints about how to fix the problem. Reaching out, apologizing for the issues, and offering ways to fix the situation, can help address any lingering problems and get former customers back on your side.

Referred customers

These people have been referred to you by other customers. They may not know much about you, your company, or your product or service, but you were recommended to them. Word-of-mouth advertising goes a long way, but you still will have the final task of winning them over.

By providing a smooth, informative, and clear procedure to feed them into your sales funnel, you can retain their interest and ensure they become a loyal customer. Interacting with them to figure out their personal pain points and needs can help you align your benefits and value proposition with referred customers.

Competitors’ customers

We’re not suggesting you go after your competitors' customers! We’re referring to people who are already putting out feelers because they’re looking to switch. They are already interested in similar products, but the fact they’re looking elsewhere indicates they are dissatisfied.

By finding out why they are unhappy, you can show them why your solution can alleviate their dissatisfaction. Discover what is missing, fill that need, and show them great customer service to help win them over.

In summary

There are several different customer types, and we’ve looked at 13 of the most common ones that can apply to most businesses. By pinpointing the types of customers that your business has, you can tailor your marketing and customer service to appeal to people at different stages of the customer journey and increase your chances of selling to them.

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