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Article 6 min read

Silent customer: learn about their characteristics and how to deal with them

By Douglas da Silva

Last updated April 23, 2021

In previous notes, we spoke about the characteristics of each customer, we introduced a customer service script, the importance of loyalty, the qualities of customer service, we pointed out the types of customers we always meet at work. But there is a customer profile that we haven’t spoken about yet. They are not easy to detect, but once you come across them, you will need to know how to deal with them – a silent customer.

In this section, we’re going to explain what a silent customer is and what their characteristics are, how to detect if you have this type of customer and some tips that will help you deal with this type of customer. So, let’s start talking about:

The characteristics of the silent customer

This type of customer is the typical customer that “listens more than they speak” and the worst thing is that they don’t show signs if they have understood you, if they have any doubts, if they like a product or don’t like a product. It is difficult to make them talk and give their opinion or point of view about your product or service.

Moreover, they are the typical customers who will never give you a refund. In other words, they don’t complain, but they don’t give a final answer either, leaving you without any sign at all regarding why they didn’t like your product or why they preferred to go to the competition.

We usually say that after “yes”, the best answer for a salesperson is “no”. Well, you are unlikely to hear either response from the silent customer. Just as they came from nowhere, they leave all of a sudden as well. No matter how hard you try to communicate through the same means of communication that you used to chat at the beginning in order to get an answer, they stop replying to you.

How do you know if you have a silent customer?

A survey carried out by Bain & Company, a global strategy consulting company, revealed that large companies typically lose half of their customers within five years. We know that if customers are unhappy with a brand’s services or products, they will slowly drift away until they never buy again.

Through the sales control system, we have the possibility to measure not only the sales volume, but also the customer volume. If the number of customers starts to drop, it is a sign that you have silent customers in your company.

You must be thinking: “I don’t think so, because my sales have increased!” Well, you may have increased your sales with a smaller number of customers and these customers are the ones who have bought more from you.

That’s why it’s extremely important to control your customers’ data. In your system, it is essential to not only have their name, telephone number and email information, but also to have detailed data in the sales CRM regarding when this customer last made a purchase, what they bought, how much they bought and how long this customer took to buy from you. 

By measuring this data, you will have the information and the exact number of which customers became silent customers.  

How to deal with a silent customer

The main point about how to deal with the silent customer is to give them space to communicate with your company. We’ve spoken about Chatbots, WhatsApp web and Omnichannel. These open channels of communication give silent customers the space they need to write down why they are or are not happy.

If your company has these tools, it is an opportunity to make sure that your customers do not become silent customers because they will have the chance to interact and give their opinion about the products or services they have bought.

There are the types of customers who complain. We all have these customers who always have something to say. Listening to the customer is a way to accept constructive criticism and to improve your service in a certain way. But could it be said that the silent customer can be worse than the complaining customer because if you don’t give them digital tools to speak anonymously, they will never leave you any sign of why they stopped buying?

Tips for dealing with a silent customer

Interacting with a silent customer is undoubtedly a challenge for any sales consultant.

Once you’ve detected who the silent customers of your company are and you’ve included the necessary tools to leave a communication channel open for them, you’ll have to include small details to add value in this contact with the silent customer. Here are 3 tips you should follow:

It is important to listen to the customer

But you’ll only be able to listen to them if you look for them. Don’t wait for them to write to your Chatbot or leave a message on your WhatsApp Business. If you have their email address, send them some information that you know they will be interested in, such as a promotion of a product that they have bought before.

Ask them about their main problem to understand how you can help them by providing a solution. This is the information that you need in order to know their opinion about your service. This may be an appropriate time to arrange a coffee to discuss the issue.

Have you called this silent customer today?

Well, if you know that this customer hasn’t bought from you for a long time, don’t leave without contacting them. No matter what types of customers we are talking about, it is always important to listen to the customer. Whether it’s a call to find out how they are doing, if they need anything, if the last purchase they made brought them the results they needed etc.

Look after your silent customer so that one day they will become a loyal customer. The work involved in dealing with a silent customer is not easy, but if you keep persevering and take advantage of the means of communication you have, you’ll surely be successful.  

Are you prepared to deal with objections?

An objection is when the customer asks you many questions that enquire about your service. Here, you not only need to have knowledge about each product that you sell, but also how the service works in general.

In order to do this, you have to inform the silent customer of the details of everything they bought or will buy. This will gain their trust and add value so that this silent customer will contact you again when they need to.

The silent customer will never go away, but at Zendesk, we will give you all the information that you will need to be able to deal with this type of customer more and more efficiently. Our blog will always be updated should you need knowledge on how to deal with a silent customer as well as all the other types of customer.  

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