This article deals with the different types of clients we come across on a day-to-day basis. Please note that the definitions mentioned below are not based on any recency, frequency and monetary (RFM) value of the clients; they are solely based on my experiences with each of these clients. They do not apply to any specific client segment or nationality - the definitions mentioned below are very general in nature.
1) Partner - clients falling under this category are also known as super-loyal clients. They consider themselves to be a part of your organization and help you in improving your services/products. They do not wait for feedback requests - they will give it to you on their own. Such clients are usually your “first" clients or have gradually reached this level due to high-quality service. Once a client reaches this stage - no matter what he asks for - we have to give!
2) Loyal - no matter what your price is, no matter what your competitor is offering - these clients will always stick to you and come back with their requests. They will either give you feedback on their own or wait for your request. They have the potential of becoming a “partner". One has to continuously focus on such clients and give our best. Losing such clients can be detrimental to your business - you have probably worked hard on getting them to this level one big mistake and you have lost them for good.
3) Endless clients - grammatically this is an incorrect term but a friend of mine used it and I really liked it. These clients expect you to work on the same thing again and again. They believe in multiple rounds and will not be satisfied until and unless they get what they want. Some of these clients can be considered as perfectionists - they will not move ahead until and unless they get what they want while others might be super-confused souls. It is very difficult to differentiate the types of endless clients - one has no option but to work on their multiple rounds!
4) Freebie clients - do not expect anything from them. In fact, they are the ones expecting something from you - discounts, freebies, etc. They will either expect a 100% discount or some gifts in kind. Do not worry about such clients as they will not be able to give you the business you would like to get.
5) Tough-cookie clients
Beware of this category - they can give you a lot of stress at times. They are the real perfectionists. They will tell you what they want and you have to give it to them as is. Such clients are so fussy, that they cannot even tolerate silly typos in your mails. They will seldom speak good things about your service. Nevertheless, they will always use your service if you have met their expectations. Do not expect to get detailed feedback from them - getting another order from such clients is as good as a “positive" feedback.
6) Distrust clients - this category too has two types. There are some clients who don't trust you while there are others whom you don't trust.
A) Category 1 - something might have happened in the past due to which they have lost trust and eventually stopped using your services/products. There is only one thing you can do - understand what went wrong and forget them! They won't come back!
B) Category 2 - there might be some clients whom you don't trust. These clients might have a bad history with you - they might have been defaulters (payment), or might have had a history of canceling jobs upon confirmation, etc. Just don't bother about such clients - deal with them on a case-by-case basis.
7) Suspicious clients - there are a few annoying clients who fall under this category. They can be your competitors spying on you or some random client who wants to use your service or product and then disappear without paying. Very difficult to track such clients - you never know which client of yours falls under this category (of course, only new clients will fall under this category not your existing ones). Try to keep your eyes open and be vigilant at all times.
8) Quality-conscious clients - such clients give more importance to the quality of service/product. They don't care about the price so much. If you are successful in giving them good quality work/product you have converted them for good. They can be your Loyal/Partner clients.
9) Money-minded clients - such clients are only worried about the price factor. For them quality may or may not be important. They can never be your Loyal/Partner clients and can possibly move over to your competitor if your price increase or price doesn't meet their expectations.
There can be many such categories but we need not get into those now. I might come back with a sequel to this article but for now this should be it.
We all need to focus on the following categories to get the most out of them and expand our business - Partner, Loyal and Quality-conscious clients. Also, focus on the “tough-cookie" clients - while they may not be as loyal as the previous three categories, you can expect some good business from them - if and only if you meet their expectations! After all, it's all about client focus!