When you are building a Next Generation Organisation and shaping the future through innovation, one of the key factors which defines success is a deep understanding of your customers. Sure, you may have done a ‘know your customer exercise’, you may have asked people to fill in questionnaires and you might have even talked to a few focus groups; but none of that will have given you the sort of intelligence which you need to drive real solutions for your customers.
But I have to ask, have you ever stopped to think that customer intelligence runs two ways. However deeply you delve into gathering an understanding of what drives your customers and however much you use this to try and create products and services which meet their needs, if you don’t use some intelligence in your interactions with customers you can actually end up alienating them.
I’ll give you a couple of examples. First up is the supermarket which has sent a colleague a number of tempting offers ‘specially selected for you’. The trouble is that this colleague is vegetarian and all of the offers were for meat and fish. The second example comes from an organisation which sent an unsolicited ‘personalised’ house insurance quotation. The trouble with personalising a quote is that it has to be accurate and in this case the quote for a three-bedroom semi-detached brick house was wrong in every aspect.
Gathering customer insights, developing a deep understanding of the world in which customers and consumers live today and intend to live tomorrow is a complete waste of time unless you are prepared to interact with people on a more realistic level. If you want to send out a generalised offer or quote then do so but don’t pretend it has been personalised. You may be fooling yourself, but all you’re really doing is annoying the client of today who may well be someone else’s customer tomorrow.