8 customer types that can inform service strategies

29th Feb 2016

With a growing diversity of customer segments and the availability of multiple and complex datasets, the era of big data means customer insight is increasingly significant as a source of competitive advantage. 

According to Professor John Murphy and Doctor Ram Raghavan, there are eight customer types, each influenced by different styles of commitment, loyalty and satisfaction. This model can help organisations look at their customer segmentation data in a new light and can be used to identify and classify non-buyers and develop strategies to convert them.

1. Drifters

While these customers are currently satisfied with service, they are neither loyal nor committed. That said, they evaluate interactions with businesses logically and rationally, and are prepared to take a risk on something new.

2. Mercenaries 

A step beyond drifters, these customers have no loyalty and are very happy to take risks. They arguably present the greatest opportunity for organisations looking to generate new custom.  

3. Stabilisers 

Like drifters, these consumers also take the time to evaluate products rationally, but while they may threaten to take their custom elsewhere, they rarely do so, instead choosing to remain with their current service provider.

4. Nitpickers 

This customer segment can take a long time to start using a product and will probably pick holes in it once they have. However, so-called nitpickers dislike the hassle of switching and therefore often stay on.

5. Squatters

Status-symbol-oriented squatters are highly satisfied and loyal to a brand as long as they believe it sets them apart from the crowd. 

6. Indulgers 

Also looking to stand out, these customers focus on self-gratification. However, indulgers are unafraid to try new brands, making them the perfect target for organisations looking to broaden their clientele. 

7. Angels 

These are the customers every organisation seeks. Highly committed, satisfied, loyal, angels dislike risks and rarely seek alternatives.

8. Drainers 

Finally, there are drainers, who leverage their emotional bond with organisations to extract more value. These customers can be a drain on resources, so organisations should aim to appease them as part of their wider service strategy.

Whether using the model above or other constructs, segmentation should form an essential part of an organisation’s customer service strategy. A professional approach will facilitate optimum customer management and allocation of resources – both of which translate into profit.

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