Know your Customer

Friday 12th, February 2016
happy executives photo

Photo by International Information Program (IIP) 

We seem to be caught up in a world where we are trying to prove (to God knows whom) how smart we are more than anything else. But if we really want to succeed in this business world, the emphasis is not on yourself or how smart you are, but on how well you know your customers.

Let’s look at some areas where we would do well, to think, not like a smart person trying to prove he is smart, but like someone who knows and thinks like his customers.

  • SEO

The first thing that comes to mind is Search Engine Optimization. What kind of key words are we optimized for?

The need to really know your customer, kicks in here. Instead of just building our SEO around what we need to be known for, it would help to build it around words that our customers would use in order to find someone like you. So in order to think like your customer, you need to know them. Know who they are. What they are looking for. Once that is clear, it is easy to build an SEO strategy around it.

  • Personalization

Personalization is a huge buzz word today – customers feel good when they are known. In many ways, personalization is like going back to the time when the man in the small grocery shop around the corner knew all his customers personally and could make recommendations on what they liked or needed. Today’s customer enters the store expecting the retailer to know and understand his likes and preferences, provide relevant mobile deals to him and make a personal connection. Data collected from various touch points in the business is a treasure trove of information about the customer. When analytics can derive insights from all this data it helps the smart marketer to make smart and relevant recommendations to his customers. And that is such a win-win situation for both the customer as well as the business.

On the other hand, sometimes, some personalization can be a bit much. So how much is too much? Knowing the customer can answer that for you. Instead of being smart and showing that you know everything there is to know about the customer, if you think like him instead, you will know when personalization can go too far.

  • Marketing

It is every marketer’s dream to know his customers. There was a time when it was possible to only guess who one’s customers might be. Purely groping in the dark, marketing was based on clever guesses. Sometimes that worked. Sometimes it just didn’t. And then we moved to a phase where customers were segmented based on some kind of criteria. Now with big data and analytics, it is possible to know one’s customers, not as groups or segments, but as individuals. You know who he is. What he likes. What he needs. What his wish list might look like. You know what his life looks like – the big events and the small things that affect his life.  Armed with this kind of information, it is then possible to send him the right message, at the right time. The customer is not put off by some random communication that has practically nothing to do with him – and the marketer can truly connect with him. This is meaningful engagement – not blind marketing.

  • Customer Service

If a person has a complaint with a bank, for example, and calls a customer service executive to express some displeasure, it would be ideal if the executive knew the whole history of the customer’s relationship with the bank. On the other hand, what ends up happening is that the problem isn’t resolved at the first point of contact. It carries over. When the customer calls again to follow up, and talks to a different executive, he ends up having to tell his tale of woe all over again. In a perfect data-driven world, all the data from various touch points, including the information about the customer’s relationship with the bank, would all be accessible to any executive. So the issue that the customer raises, can be resolved in the most efficient and pleasant way possible.

Analytics and Data makes knowing the customer possible – anything that is based on data – strategy, planning, SEO, marketing, etc. – makes the process effective.

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