How These 4 Types of Customer Segmentation Will Improve Your Customer Service Team's Emotional Intelligence

Nathan Resnick
Nathan Resnick


When you use emotional intelligence in your marketing campaigns and customer service, you can better empathize with your target audience and more effectively understand what they care about.

customer segmentation and emotional intelligence

By making the effort to understand what matters to your customers, you can deliver messages that are better targeted to what they value — and what they need.

Of course, most businesses target more than just a single demographic. That means developing a strong rapport with what could be several very different groups of people — and this is where segmentation comes in.

By focusing on the right types of customer segmentation, you can have more emotionally-driven conversations that help you better serve your clients and achieve your business's goals.

The right segmentation models will enhance your communications at every stage of the customer's journey. As you use quality information to enhance your emotional intelligence, you can deliver the right messages to the right people, generating far stronger results for your brand's bottom line.

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Segmentation Models to Enhance the Customer Journey

1. Demographic Segmentation

Demographic segmentation seems to be the starting point for almost every discussion on segmentation — and for good reason. Basic demographic information can play a key role in the types of products and services a customer is interested in, as well as what messages will be the most relevant to them.

With demographic segmentation, you would typically segment customers based on the information you might find on a census form. Age, gender, marital status, income level, and education are just a few of the factors that you might use to segment your customers. Geographic location is sometimes included as part of demographic segmentation, but some segmentation models make geography its own separate category.

While individuals within a single demographic group can have sharply different interests and preferences, demographic information can help you understand in broad terms a customers' likely preferences in regards to your brand.

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For example, segmentation data could help you learn that customers over the age of 40 prefer to communicate with your brand over the phone, rather than email or an app. Or you might find that interest in your product or services is higher among single individuals than married couples.

Demographic data is some of the easiest for brands to obtain, thanks to census data, surveys, and the information your customers supply themselves. While demographic data is typically only the starting point, it gives you a better idea of a customer's lifestyle and interests so you can communicate more effectively.

2. Firmographic Segmentation

Demographic data doesn't just apply to individuals. For B2B businesses, firmographic segmentation can be a valuable method for categorizing your brand's distinct target audience.

Firmographic segmentation can address a variety of grouping factors, such as the size of the company, the positions within a business that might be interested in your services, the industries your clients serve, or even the stage a lead is at in your company's sales funnel.

By segmenting B2B customers in this way, customer service representatives can better focus on the unique challenges each industry or position might face, and how your company can better address these concerns. After all, the challenges faced by someone in the healthcare industry will likely be quite different than those confronted by an engineer — even if your brand can serve both user groups.

Firmographic segmentation can play a role in all stages of the buyer's journey, beginning with customized landing pages and social media ads to how a customer service rep approaches a client after onboarding.

As with demographic segmentation, firmographic segmentation is more of a starting point. True emotional intelligence requires that you dig deeper to understand clients on a more individualized level so you can address their needs. But by performing quality segmentation early on, your team will be better equipped to “speak their language” and communicate effectively.

3. Behavioral Segmentation.

Behavioral segmentation is where you begin to really dig deep into your customers to understand what they want and need. Behavioral segmentation doesn't focus on how people behave in their daily lives — instead, it focuses on their interactions with your brand.

This information can be especially beneficial for customer service representatives because it offers direct insights into where someone might be in their relationship with your company. Behavioral segmentation data comes directly from your owned platforms — your website, social media channels, apps, and other content.

Behavioral segmentation allows you to organize customers based on factors like their stage in the buyer's journey — after all, a new lead will require different support and messaging than a loyal customer.

Website actions, such as clicking a call to action or visiting a particular landing page, can also provide insight into a customer's needs or the type of messaging that will most appeal to them. For example, makeup brand Sephora sends customers a 20 percent discount email after they spend over $200.

behavioral segmentation: sephora

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Perhaps the most valuable piece of information for behavioral segmentation comes from simply keeping track of their last interaction with your brand — this is where a good CRM database comes in handy.

Common segmentation options based on brand interactions include abandoned carts and upselling. Of course, if a customer has a negative interaction with the brand, the customer service team should be brought in as swiftly as possible for proactive efforts to improve the relationship.

In these instances, good information from your brand's owned platforms leads to improved emotional intelligence and more positive interactions. A customer who just had a negative experience with one of your e-commerce products isn't going to respond well to an email encouraging them to buy a related item. But they are more likely to improve their perception of the brand if a customer service rep reaches out to find a way to resolve their complaint.

This segmentation can be particularly effective at driving sales and retention.

According to Omnisend, sending three abandoned cart emails can increase order rates by 69 percent. Using the information that is already available to you through owned channels ultimately allows you to segment your audience so each individual gets the right message at the right time.

4. Psychographic Segmentation.

Finally, psychographic segmentation helps brands divide their audience based on their personalities, attitudes, interests and hobbies, values, and lifestyle. While such information can be harder to quantify than behavioral data, it can make all the difference in ensuring that your message is truly on-point with your target audience.

Psychographic segmentation enhances your emotional intelligence because it doesn't just tell you what to talk about, or which messages should be sent at what time. It directly informs how you communicate.

When you understand a person's core values, you can understand their priorities in life, as well as their pain points. Sales teams and customer service reps can better empathize with the customer's situation, and use language that helps the customer feel like their concerns are being heard and taken seriously.

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The importance of understanding the psychographics of your target audience is perhaps most easily seen when a domestic brand attempts to expand to other countries. Companies that fail to adapt to cultural differences (which encompass values, lifestyle, attitudes, and more) often fail to make an impact.

For example, in the 1970s, Avon found that it needed to adjust its traditional door-to-door sales approach when expanding to Asian markets.

In Japan, sales representatives would not knock on strangers' doors as they did in the United States, because this was considered an unwelcome intrusion. This cultural mismatch was just one of many reasons why the company struggled to ever make much of an impact in Japan.

While the average domestic brand may not need to worry about potential cultural barriers that come with expanding overseas, segmenting your communications and branding based on the unique psychographics of your audience will prove key in making a lasting connection. There is a big difference in how you should speak to a California surfer and a farmer in Kansas.

Using Segmentation to Enhance Your Emotional Intelligence

When you use these forms of segmentation to gain a greater understanding of your target audience, you will be better able to tailor all communications in the customer service sphere.

Today's buyers have higher expectations for customer service than ever. Many competitors in your niche who offer similar services to yours make it surprisingly easy to switch over, meaning you must consistently go above and beyond to solve their problems and meet their needs.

Segmentation helps you understand your customers. And when you truly understand your customers, you are far better equipped to help them succeed.

By using marketing segmentation to enhance your emotional intelligence, you can take strategic measures to ensure that each interaction with your brand delights customers and strengthens your position in their daily lives.

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