Types of customers on your chat channel, and how to handle them

Variety is the spice of life, or so they say. But is your live chat service ready for all those flavours?

The world is full of different people with different personalities. And so, you’ll encounter different types of customers landing in your chat queues. And each type demands specially catered service to match.

With that in mind, here are the character profiles of the different types of customers that will grace your chat channel. (And how to serve them.)

The friendly

A.K.A: the positive mindset.

Friendly customers are one of the nicest types of customers you’ll encounter. They have a positive mindset, and they’re pleasant to deal with — they just want their issue fixed.

When handling a friendly customer, be sure to thank them for getting in touch. Personalise their service and show you know them, where applicable. In short, keep the good vibes going. A positive experience here could lead to brand advocacy.

The demand-maker

A.K.A: the impatient.

The demand-maker expects you to drop everything to help them. They don’t care if you’re busy, or if the problem takes a while to fix. You must fix it now.

Live chat software is useful for dealing with these types of customers. Its real-time nature means that you’re accessible when the demand-maker wants you. (If out of hours, a chatbot could act as a buffer.) When fielding their demands, remain calm. Keep them updated with what you’re doing to address their problem.

The over-chatter

A.K.A: the flibbertigibbet.

The over-chatter likes to chew the fat. These types of customers bring up unrelated topics in their chat. Although friendly enough, over-chatters can eat away at your productivity. Meanwhile, your chat queue expands.

When chatting with an over-chatter, make sure you keep the topic of the chat focused on the support need. If the chat starts to go off-topic, ask a question that guides it back to the issue at hand. Concurrent chats can help you help others while helping an over-chatter.

The complainer

A.K.A: the never satisfied.

You’ll know when you’re dealing with the types of customers in the complainer category. Complainers are seemingly allergic to being happy. Even if you solve one problem, they’ll inevitably find something else to complain about.

Most customers will come with a complaint. What makes complainers different is that they’re there to vent. Use empathy statements to show you understand the complaint. Validate their feelings, before you solve the problem.

The abusive

A.K.A: the out-of-line rude.

Sometimes, an abusive customer may land in your chat queue. These types of customers are different from difficult chatters. Abusive customers threaten, harass and bully. (And often put your profanity filter to work, too.)

Dealing with an abusive customer is never pleasant. It’s important to stay calm and respond firmly. Follow the three-strike rule. (Give them three chances to stop before disconnecting the chat.) You can use user blacklisting to prevent repeat offenders from chatting again.

The satisfied

A.K.A: the ray of sunshine.

Satisfied customers are another of the types of customers that will grace your chat sessions from time to time. But a satisfied customer won’t have an issue to report or get help on. Rather, they’re landing in your chat just to say thanks.

Satisfied customers are easy to handle — there’s no work needed to make them happy. For the most part, the satisfied customer won’t stick around your chat long. But, during this time, be sure to thank them. You could also ask them if they’d like to leave a review or provide a case study.

The snob

A.K.A: the frontline-skipper.

A snobbish customer is one that turns their nose up at frontline support. When they connect to chat, they tend to ask for a supervisor or manager, rather than try the solutions you suggest.

Handling these types of customers comes down to how empowered you are as a frontline team. If you have the authority to make decisions, you can assure the customer that you’re capable of helping them. Advise against transferring to a supervisor unless they really do need to talk to one.

The mistaken

A.K.A: the know-it-all.

At some point, a know-it-all will connect to chat. These customers won’t accept answers they don’t like, insisting they know better than you. It’s often impossible to convince them they’re wrong.

When handling a mistaken customer, don’t try to explicitly tell them they’re wrong. Instead, validate their concern, and explain how the product, policy or service should work. Give them relevant help files, and let them graciously bow out, without having to admit their mistake.

Types of customers

Live chat software connects you with your customers. And that means being ready for all the different moods and personalities that come with them. Knowing how to handle the different customer mindsets, then, is a hugely important part of the agent role.

Now you know how to handle the different types of customers. But do you have a chat channel to put that knowledge to use? Get started today, with a 30-day free trial of WhosOn.

Useful links

Flibbertigibbet, parrot, gasbag: the historic perceptions of chat

25 ways to give bad customer service

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