10 scenarios and 10 psychological intents of insane customers! What do they want?

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I will start by posing this thought to you about the so called ‘Insane Customers’- intriguing some view them as, ponder on this:

Small-minded companies call them insane, average-minded firms view them as mundane while smart businesses see them as leads.

A few days ago I ran into a gadget enthusiast and we got chatting about the latest devices- like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, IPhone 6/6s and a host of others. I then got to ask him about the device he uses. This opened a lot of insight around the subject area of ‘insane customers’- the psychological intents behind their actions. He talked about how cheap his price-plan is- about £20 for a free Nokia Lumia 1020 handset, 600 minutes, unlimited data and text. He said this: “I always like to negotiate my deal, I call them up and give them a hard time until I get the deal I want.” He further went on to say: “At times some companies call me to offer a deal and I ask them, I want a deal for £3 a month, that gives minutes, text, data and a free phone.” I looked at him with disbelief and he continued: “They think I am insane or mad, but I Know what I am doing, I am testing them.”

My vast customer/client facing experience and independent research, coupled with this informal but insightful chat, with the above customer has led me to identify 10 scenarios and 10 psychological intentions of the so called ‘insane customers.’ Now if you are wondering who Insane customers are, they are those that seem to give you a hard time (not rude customers), the once you just consider to be unreasonable, irrational and unrealistic.

10 Scenarios that highlight the activities of insane customers:

1) Asking for more discounts after a discount
2) Doing all the talking and no listening
3) Asking weird and unrelated questions
4) Saying half-truth and unfounded statements about the competition’s offering
5) Asking the same question in different wordings and format
6) Taking up your personal space or leaving so much space
7) No intention to buy but an interest to waste your time.
8) Making repeat visits with similar enquiries
9) Too frequent communication across multichannel
10) Making too much or too little eye contact.

10 psychological intentions of insane customers:

1) They want your attention (like toddlers): Customers do seek attention like toddlers. In some cases out of boredom, they go window shopping and just want to have a chat with the retail staff. At times, out of the good and friendly nature of the retail employee, some customers make a purchase.

2) They want a reaction: During my conversation with this gentleman, I did ask him how the sales staffs over the phone react when he demands for a £3 a month deal; he did say some laughed it off and others dropped the call.

3) They want to evaluate your brands’ tone: Harriet Cummings, wrote a very good piece about the tone of voice for brands, how the tone of voice could set you apart from the competition, build trust, persuade and influence. Polite and positive brands, coach, train and monitor that their frontline staff speak in that manner. Insane customers want to ascertain if your brand’s tone of voice is one that they could trust.

4) They want to know if you are organised: He gave me an intriguing and puzzling look as he expressed his disappointment on some companies that call him without reading previous interactions he has had, regarding a request for a £3 a month deal- following up on previous conversation, he thinks, indicates how organised a company is- in terms of storing and relating with data.

5) They want to know if you are aware of the competition and their offerings: Tom Whitney’s ‘10 ways to stay ahead of the competition,’ has knowing your competition, their products and USP’s as the number one element. Customers respect companies that know what the competition is offering, as it shows your products, price and strategy is well thought out.

6) They want to know if you can negotiate: Geoffrey James wrote a very good piece on inc.com regarding: ‘the 15 rules of customer negotiation,’ where essentials in customer negotiations like: not competing with the customer, not chickening out and maintaining credibility are stated. Most customers do not like companies that are too rigid, unbending and too proud to negotiate- they want to see you give in a little and be willing to show you want their purchase.

7) They want to know if you are social: Now this does not refer to your social media presence- or the number of likes on Facebook or followers on twitter and LinkedIn. It refers to your company’s ability (through frontline staff) to listen, respond and interact with customers- in a thoughtful and genuine manner

8) They want to know if you have a sense of humour and can have a laugh: During my interaction with the gadget lover, he highlighted on how he liked how some of the telesales staff, were able to have a laugh whenever he made mention of a ridiculous package like that of the £3 a month one.

9) They want to see what you think of them: Insane or somewhat ridiculous customers, act that way in some cases, to see what you think of them- as crazy or just fun customers.

10) They want to feel in control: Some do feel good, when they mess about with staff with unreasonable deals and attention seeking efforts. They feel they are in control of the negotiation and interaction whilst your think they are less observant and rational.

Insane customers or the ones with unreasonable demands and lopsided interactions are not that crazy, some are putting your staff and company to test. Companies that pass the test, gain themselves brand advocates and leads for more business opportunities.

Dateme Tamuno
Dateme Tamuno (Tubotamuno) is currently working as part of the SEO and PPC delivery team for UK based digital agency, Cariad Marketing. He has also completed a book on user-generated content marketing.

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