The 5 Kinds of Customers You’ll Meet When Starting Your Home Business (and How Best to Handle Them)
Ah, customers. You can’t live with them, you can’t live without them. It goes without saying that if you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. And while some of them can be the nicest people you’ve ever met, others can make you rethink why you started your own business in the first place. These are the 5 kinds of customers you’ll meet, and how best to deal with them.
1. The Loyal Knight
2. The Impulsive Treasure Hunter
3. The Discount Detective
4. The Needs-Based Secret Agent
5. The Wandering Ghost
1. The Loyal Knight

You love this guy. Not literally, of course. Okay, maybe just a little bit literally. You could have won him over in a number of ways: excellent customer support, a superior product, or even a great brand story. These are your most steadfast supporters, your most faithful followers. Some of them are vocal, shouting your praises from the rooftops and actively converting their friends to your cause. Others just silently chug along in the background, never showing themselves openly but reliably purchasing from you like clockwork.

You might think you don’t need to handle this type of customer, but you do. Just like in any relationship, if you take them for granted, they could get stolen away. Make sure to reward your loyal knights with rewards programmes and discounts for repeat orders. For the quieter knights, encourage them to be more vocal with incentives for tagging your store online. If your business model allows for it and you have a significant number of loyal knights, adding a subscription service would not only appeal to these repeat customers, but also provide a more consistent revenue stream for your business.

2. The Impulsive Treasure Hunter

They’re a wildcard, a rogue. They may not play by the rules, dang it, but they get results. Impulsive treasure hunters shop based on instinct, rather than with a specific purpose in mind. They’re spontaneous, free spirited, just as likely to bulk purchase your biggest order for the month as they are to just keep scrolling past. And you can never guess what they’re going to do next.

Impulse Treasure Hunters are your next highest generators of sales revenue, right behind your loyal knights. While by their nature it might seem difficult to target them in particular, you can increase the odds of impulsive buyers interacting with your shop by making your storefront more appealing and attractive. Treasure Hunters can also be converted into Knights if their experience with your shop is particularly impressive, so be sure to leave them with a good impression!
3. The Discount Detective

You’re innocent, of course. But that’s what they all say. You feel like you’ve been caught red-handed, for some crime that you didn’t commit. They’ll stack the evidence against you - price quotes from competitors, advanced cost estimations and projections, accusatory questions about your morality and lack of heart. All to extract that precious confession from you: yes, prices COULD be lower.

Discount Detectives can come in many forms. A majority of them won’t be so vocal about their feelings. But they all share one thing in common - a desire to find a bargain price. Some of these detectives already see something valuable in your product, but hesitate to pull the trigger on the purchase without just a tiny bit more of an incentive. Others aren’t actually that interested in your product at all, and are simply on the prowl for the thrill of a good discount.

Discount Detectives can really come to the rescue when you’re facing inventory turnover issues, and need to move product fast. Discounts, coupons, and limited time offers are sure to reel them in. But in general, these detectives are difficult to convert to knights, and will move on to better deals once the sales season is over.
4. The Needs-Based Secret Agent

This customer knows exactly what they want, and will stop at nothing to get it. They’re men/women of focus, commitment, sheer will. They’ll enter your store and do a quick scan of what’s available, assessing your products with a cold, ruthless efficiency. If they don’t like what they see, they’ll move on, just as quickly as they came, like a shadow in the night.

It can be difficult to appeal to these secret agents due to their purpose-driven approach to shopping. But if you manage to deduce the mission driving them, you’ll find it’s a cinch to convert them into paying customers. To better capture this market, be sure to look at what your competitors are doing, or any needs that aren’t presently being fulfilled by the market. You’ll find that if you can fulfil the agent’s needs better than anyone else in the market, it’s a cinch to turn them into loyal knights.
5. The Wandering Ghost

You’re not even sure this customer exists. Your balance sheet sure isn’t providing any evidence to the contrary. The only hints to their presence come in mysterious signs - traffic numbers with no action or purchase, charged ad click-throughs without any sales, views on your social media posts without any likes or comments.

Wandering Ghosts are there to just browse, and make up the vast majority of traffic to your website or social media page. They have no intention of purchasing anything from you, no specific desire or need that drives them, but are simply there to silently judge and observe you. Whereas in traditional, brick and mortar stores, it’s relatively simple to engage these window shoppers and show them attention and care, the nature of online businesses and social media has changed the dynamic of interactions. While spending too much time trying to bring them to corporal form can distract you from your core profitable customer segments, simple engagement tactics like opinion polls or giveaways can help these ghosts to manifest.
At the end of the day, your customer base is what makes or breaks your business. Every customer is unique, and it's especially important to take an individualised approach to customer service rather than just blindly putting them in different boxes. Still, these broad stereotypes can help you get a quick grasp of the different customers you are likely to meet. Just don't say it to their face.