Segmentation: Ways to Think About Your Customers

Any successful customer experience improvement initiative requires intimate knowledge of who the customer actually is. There are classic pieces demographic and background information, such as geographic location, gender or age, but these elements alone don’t tell the whole story. In order to accurately meet and improve service to customers, businesses need to think about the different types of customers that come to them, and tailor their service accordingly. As you push to improve your customer experience, consider the following factors:

Product/Service mix

The unique combination of products/services your customer solicits could make them entirely different from another customer, especially as your product/service offerings broaden in scope. For example, a financial services customer with a simple checking and savings account has a unique set of needs from an individual with a mortgage and auto loan. Despite both being customers of the same financial institution, the information important to them, the way they expect to communicate, their concerns and their monetary responsibility to the financial institution greatly differ.

This is an easy way for financial institutions to group their customers and create personas to better understand how their service delivery expectations will change. Grouping customers by the suite of products they use, understanding the unique needs of people who typically use each combination of products and proactively addressing their concerns creates a distinguishable level of customer satisfaction that will turn them into brand advocates.


The individuals or institutions represent impact their choices and the way they interact with your business. For individual consumers working with financial institutions, their family status and those they are directly responsible for play into their decisions. This is especially true if they oversee multiple accounts or loans for their children.

For business customers, a point-person from a company may have an entire portfolio of products/services they use and are responsible for related to your financial institution. The context of their business, such as their company’s valuation, net monthly revenue, and their industry all play into the way they think about their financial service needs.

Preferred Channel

Perhaps obviously, the preferred channel an individual does business through impacts their overall needs and the way they’ll perceive their overall experience with your company. A digital-first customer for a financial institution will develop their opinion of your company largely by the efficacy of your app and the ability to get issues resolved that exceed beyond the capabilities of the app. Compared to a person who prefers to physically come into brick and mortar branches, a digital-first customer may have a lower tolerance for getting issues resolved in a face-to-face or over-the-phone environment, for example. These nuances are important lenses to look at customers through to meet their needs.

Personal Situation

Perhaps most importantly, it’s important for financial institutions to learn about their customers up close and personal once they get a chance. Learning about an individuals unique circumstances and set of needs from that individual not only is the most fool-proof way to learn about a customer, but also provides an opportunity to create an interpersonal relationship, exceeding the parameters of competitive edge and traditional value adds businesses focus on. In this sense, interacting with the customer and creating a special relationship is more valuable than ever in an increasingly digital-only world.

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