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This article is about today’s social customers, the rapid growth of inbound consumer engagement and how brands respond.

There are six types of social customers nowadays.

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The venting customer

The venting customer might be complaining on social media channels but they don’t need a response. This kind of customer is just seeking attention from their networks and usually makes a lot of statements.

The passive customer (and hopefully not “used to be”)

This customer is definitely in need of customer support. But they don’t need it every day and they don’t expect a response quit yet. They are more patient than other customers. They seek help while mentioning the company directly. Often they also include the famous #fail hashtag. In this scenario, it’s imperative for customer support to be flagged and either fix their problem directly or send the customer information about how to fix it. You better not ignore a passive customer because that can turn the passive customer into a “used-to-be” customer.

The collaborative customer

This is a happy customer. These people seek out venues for suggesting new products or enhancements to an existing product. Allthough this isn’t a customer support issue, customers like this should be flagged and paid special attention to because they could potentially be turned into advocates. In this case, a marketing or a community manager should engage directly and start building a relationship.

The customer advocate

These types of customers talk about a brand, product or service. These customers don’t need incentives, they talk about a product because they’re thrilled with what it does for them and how it makes them feel. Marketing and PR departments should be flagged immediately and should reach out of these advocates. It’s good practice to invite advocates to private communities and give them sneak peaks into future products, seeding them with new products or just asking them for specific feedback.

The future customer

The future customer can either be a new customer or a customer who is considering an upgrade to a new product or service. They are thinking about getting new or extra. In a B2B environment, this could be an existing customer talking about upgrading the hardware in the data center. The account manager should reach out to them directly before the competitors do.

What’s important to note is that this is not a life-cycle. Social customers interact with business and brands differently based on their emotions and how they are feeling. One day they might be a collaborative customer, and the next day they might be with a competitor. Much of this can depends on a company’s reaction.

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