Customer behavior is an interesting topic. The way customers behave differs although certain similarities can be discerned. Irrespective of the deviations that customers reflect, attitudes, personalities and motives influence purchase decisions greatly. Based on the varied behavior of consumers, different selling approaches such as consultative selling are employed. Such methods lead to varying degrees of success depending on the behavior of customers. Cutting across disciplines such as psychology, sociology, social anthropology and economics, the customer behavior is a reflection of the decision-making process both at an individual or group level.
Consultative selling has grown in stature owing to changing market dynamics. Consultative selling sprang up following the failure of content selling. Previously focus was on features and benefits attributable to products. However, it emerged that marketers could have been providing benefits, which customers did not value (Khosla 2010). Similarly, there was a possibility that marketers were not providing benefits that customers look for. Consultative selling involves understanding the primary needs and motives of customers. Based on the understanding, producers should ensure that products fit the requirements of customers. Since customers have different needs and motives, producers should also diversify their products to meet the differing demands. The main drawback of consultative selling is that interests of organizations take a back seat, as focus is on customers’ needs.
Classifications of customer behavior
The class of chronic complainers is considered first. Chronic complainer customers are those who are difficult to satisfy (Blackwell & Engel 2006). This group is never happy no matter the quality of offered services,. In most cases, these customers enter stores and scoff at any business agent or representative. Chronic complainers assume that each business entity swindles customers. Concisely, each aspect of selling gives chronic complainers reasons to grieve. Despite the incessant complaints, these customers continue visiting similar outlets, an issue that contradicts their dissenting behavior. The behavior exhibited by this group of customers is reminiscent of people who have lived life being ordered around. Thus, it is possible these people are looking for opportunities to vent out their frustrations. Forcing others to behave in a certain way gives chronic complainers a chance to be on top of something. Therefore, it helps to satisfy their egos.
The other customer behavior is professional complaining. This behavior is different from the chronic complaining conduct. This behavior is associated with customers who do not just complain for fun. Groups of customers that exhibit this behavior complain because of the gains that follow complaining (Deaton & Muellbauer 1980). Hence, such customers explore products to find defective parts. After spotting imperfections, the customers demand discounts. Thus, this behavior is natural for price conscious customers.
Another customer behavior is reflected in habitual conduct. Habitual buying behavior does not reflect perceived deviations among or between brands. Thus, habitual behavior has low customer involvement. This behavior is exhibited when purchasing regular products. For instance, people buying bread would most likely purchase the brand they are used to as opposed to new ones. The implication is that consumers do not search for information when buying regular products. Sales agents of habitual products often use lower prices to enhance the practice. Producers of such products may use adverts to achieve the desired end.
Another classification reveals that there is a variety seeking behavior among customers. In this behavior, customers lack high involvement although there is a perceived difference among various brands (Howard & Sheth 1968). Consequently, customers are likely to switch product brands. Switching brands is necessary in determining a preferred brand. The implication is that consumers would select new brands simply to enjoy a different experience. Commonly, this practice affects products such as energy drinks, cookies or luxury foods.
Based on another classification, dissonance-reducing antics characterize the behavior of some customers. Dissonance-reducing behavior reflects high levels of involvement. Purchase decisions that are highly involving are risky, expensive and infrequent. Customers often do not perceive differences among brands. For instance, purchasing computers is difficult since there are limited differences among brands. Therefore, buyers often compare prices and pick products based on cost convenience.
Characteristics of each behavior type
The key distinguishing features of chronic complaining behavior are closing of arms, scowling and malevolence. These striking features should help one to identify chronic complaining behavior of customers. Distinguishing features of professional complainer customers include possession of knowledge and willingness to take slightly defective products at a lower price.
Based on the above discussion, dissonance-reducing behavior is characterized by high involvement levels. In addition, the behavior is attributable mostly to customers of expensive products. Moreover, customers lack adequate information regarding a product. Contrary to dissonance reducing behavior, variety-seeking customers do not exhibit high levels of involvement. Customers also understand differences among brands. As such, they are deemed as adventurous consumers. Concerning habitual behavior, customers do not perceive differences among or between products. Similar to variety-seeking behavior, habitual conduct has low customer involvement.
Tactics required in dealing with each type of behavior
Dealing with chronic complainer customers is a difficult proposition as it could get an employee sacked. The only way to handle a frustrated person is to show a high level of humility. However, humility has to be shown to each customer. When an agent shows humility, chronic complainer customers are likely to back off, since they excel in environments of hostility. Simply put, kindness or humility weakens foundations of complaints. As such, I advocate using stark sincerity when handling customers with chronic complaints.
Possibly, handling professional complainer customers could expose employees to dismissal. Consequently, a high level of professionalism is necessary on the part of employees. Since, professional complainers find defects in products, the surest way to handle them would involve devising solutions. Ideally, a sales agent should repair a product before engaging such customers.
To counter customers who are variety seeking, sales agents need to stock their shelves with a wide array of brands. Equally, advertisements would prove instrumental in an attempt to influence consumers. Similar measures are useful in handling customers who exhibit habitual buying behaviors. To succeed when dealing with dissonance-reducing behavior, establishing care centers is advocated. Additionally, sellers should establish strong customer policies and guarantee after sales services for customers.
How to modify my own behavior in accordance with customers
Based on the above discussion, customers reflect different conduct. Thus, marketers or sales agents need to modify their behavior in order to suit the prevailing circumstances. Irrespective of customer behavior, showing humility and kindness when dealing with customers is a primary requirement. In addition, giving customers time to raise their concerns is necessary. A move of this nature is important as it allows customers to feel appreciated. After understanding customer needs, taking the necessary action also becomes paramount. Consequently, I will proactively deal with customers. In this regard, I will also improve my knowledge on the products that I sell. Concisely, I will make efforts to understand needs and devise measures to respond any demands raised by customers.