Customers categorically complex: Traditional demographics demolished in report

17th Feb 2014

A recent study, carried out for Verint Systems Inc., has revealed that traditional consumer groups (those determined by gender, age, income, etc) just don’t fly anymore. The study explored attitudes towards organisations such as banks, broadband providers, retailers and utility companies, and unearthed four main categories of customer:

Brand champions
Basically, this is the group that will arrive home from a restaurant after a particularly enjoyable meal and promptly log onto TripAdvisor to wax lyrical about the whole evening.

This group show the most loyalty, with 85% staying with a provider for three years or more and 53% feeling valued as a customer. They’re happy or very happy with the service they receive, and are very likely to make this known to friends and family.

At the restaurant, these guys will inevitably still be eating ten minutes after everyone else has finished because they’ve sent their meal back so many times. They’ll probably wangle a discount on the bill because of it though, so it’s not all bad for the rest of the group. Just don’t let them catch you sneaking a tip to the waiter.

This group are the least loyal, with 44% having been with their supplier for less than two years. Only 20% claim to have received any form of thanks for their custom, and they’re just as likely to post online about bad experiences as good ones.

Fence sitters
Fence sitters are harder to spot. This is mainly because they’re halfway under the table, having slid down their chair in embarrassment – hoping that the ground will oblige in swallowing them up – while their friend complains to the waitress (even if they do partly agree with the gripe).

This group are largely indifferent to service; they don’t really interact with companies or share experiences – good or bad. Almost half of them have been with the same provider for three years or more, with 23% unable to even remember when they last changed suppliers.

Silent likers
This group are, on the whole, satisfied with their service and are rather low maintenance. They’re likely to leave a respectable tip and walk out of the restaurant in a suitably good mood. Then never speak of the evening again.

Silent likers are the second most loyal group, with 68% having stayed with the same providers for three years or more. They are the least likely to complain but also the least likely to receive appreciation incentives from their suppliers. With the right nurturing, they have the potential to become brand champions. But mostly, they just go unnoticed.

It’s suggested that organisations should make an effort to recognise these groups and react accordingly to each, in order to maximise their business. It couldn’t hurt to give it a go; at the moment only 24% of consumers across all groups think that voicing their views is more constructive than simply hitting their heads against a brick wall.  No wonder over half have never bothered to lodge a complaint.

This study really urges companies to listen up, and they do seem to be evolving ears for the job. A considerable 95% of UK service providers are investing more in listening to their customers (good news), although 45% admit they hardly ever analyse social media posts and 80% are using dated feedback surveys and complaints analysis (not so much). Seems they need to press those newly grown ears up to some different walls. 

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