As anyone who’s worked in retail knows, certain customer types are apt to pop up over and over again. These people may seem to have nothing in common at all until you interact with them. It is at this time that you realize this customer behaves exactly like one you had yesterday, last week, and the week before that. Here are 10 common home improvement store customer types.
#10: The Good Old Days Customer. This customer may be very old or only slightly older than you. He will reminisce about “the good old days” when a faucet cost only a dollar or a light bulb could be had for a dime. He conveniently forgets that the average income was also much lower at that time.
#9: The Buy American Customer. This customer will only buy products made in America. No drill, light, or carpet is good enough for him unless it bears a “Made in the USA” sticker. This would be fine, except he fails to understand that American workers are typically paid higher wages for making the products than overseas workers are, so the finished product will cost more. He will complain bitterly about the price discrepancy in foreign and American made items.
#8: The Condescending Customer. This customer is most often encountered by female home improvement employees. He will not allow a female associate to wait on him, even if available male associates tell him they know nothing at all about Product X but the female does. He sometimes operates under the false assumption that female associates work in home improvement retail to snag a man, and will often hit on every female he encounters in the store.
#7: The Yard Sale Customer. This customer firmly believes the price on the shelf is just a suggestion. He will offer less than the retail price for no particular reason. He often gets angry when his offer is declined.
#6: The I’ll Go Elsewhere Customer. This customer will try to extort anything he can out of management by threatening to shop at the competitor. He will actually follow through on his threat most of the time, even if it means spending $20 or more in gas to get to the competitor’s store.
#5: The Name Dropper. This customer is your Store Manager or District Manager’s next door neighbor, best friend from high school, or 2nd cousin 3 times removed. He will drop your manager’s name at any opportunity, to try to get special treatment. In most cases, your manager has really never heard of this person before.
#4: The Millionaire. This customer would have you believe the company was built solely on his purchases. He frequently uses phrases such as, “I pay your salary” or “I spend thousands of dollars here every year.” The store often has few records of actual purchases made by this customer.
#3: The Damaged Customer. This customer himself is not damaged. But in his opinion, everything in the store is, and he should therefore get a discount on whatever he buys. Rarely is the item he wants truly damaged-more often the “damage” is that the box is dented, open, or just dusty, but the product inside is perfectly fine. Sometimes this customer causes the “damage” himself.
#2: The Renter. This customer shows up in times of natural disaster. For example, if there’s a flood in the area, he will purchase a wet/dry vacuum or sump pump. After the flood has passed and his home is dry, he will attempt to return the used item for a full refund, often claiming it was defective. By doing this, he obtains what amounts to a free equipment rental by defrauding the store.
Finally, the #1 type of home improvement customer is The Combo. This customer is a combination of 2 or more of the other 10 common home improvement customer types. He is especially crafty, as he can change tactics and arguments at any time, depending on how the conversation goes. It’s best to hide in the break room when he shows up.
If you’ve recognized yourself or anyone you know in any of these customer types, please take it easy on the employees. They are just doing the best job they can by the policies they are given. Happy shopping!