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Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

Posted by Louise Palmer on 23rd July 2018

Last week saw the return of Get To Know Your Customers Day — observed on the third Thursday of each quarter (January, April, July and October).

Apparently, it’s the day to reach out to your customers and really get to know them better. Now, I’m not one to look for a wave of incoming calls or emails from brands that want to get to know me well, but oh how I wish they would make more of an effort.

Because last week alone I’ve been contacted by a couple of brands about things that simply aren’t relevant. These aren’t companies that are sending unsolicited emails or cold calling — they can already count me as an active customer, one who has opted-in to communication and willingly shares personal information.

Take my bank (of which I’ve been a customer for more than 10 years). Would I like to make an appointment to discuss opening a savings account? Umm, not really — I’ve had a savings account with you for more than eight years.

And then there’s my insurance provider, who emailed to highlight its understanding of how families with young children have a lot to think about, which is why they were offering me free life cover for every child. I’m pretty sure my other half would have quite the shock if a couple of toddlers suddenly appeared from the cupboard under the stairs.

Do instances like these cause me anger and frustration? No, not really. They’re certainly not enough to compel me to make the effort to become a ‘non-customer’. But it does leave me in a trough of disappointment.

For around 10 years, Wildfire has worked with marketing tech companies who offer retail and financial services brands (among others) the tools and apps to create really great customer experiences.

Personalisation has been the ‘digital trend’ in this space for years, yet it’s clear from my own experience that we’re still far from close to the personalisation promise land, where we’re all understood and treated as a truly unique customer.

As digital analyst and author Brian Solis said in his Forbes article recently: “After years of talking about personalization, 1:1 and individual marketing, and people-to-people engagement, retail marketers are still, well, talking about it.”

Yet the technology is available to really understand customer behaviour. Brands can track and measure any number of elements of engagement, such as spending habits, psychological behaviour on a website, Net Promoter Score (NPS) results and email open rates.

Perhaps more importantly, brands can go beyond simply capturing data to really get to the heart of who a particular customer is, gaining a rich, single view of what they like, what and why they buy and, critically, why they choose their company over any other.

Brands don’t need to make assumptions or second guess me — there’s a wealth of information at their fingertips if only they chose to look for it and bring it together.

If I’m of child-bearing age, don’t blindly assume I have a child that needs to be insured. Why not look at the travel insurance quote (for two adults) that I’ve saved in my online profile and give me a little nudge to buy it.

And don’t call me about a new savings account just because I’d been browsing your products online (because I was just checking my interest rate). If you looked at the last time I used my mobile app, you’ll see I used your mortgage calculator; now that would be a nice deal to tie me into.

So, brands, don’t approach me with something that you think I might be slightly looking for. Be bold and be brave — you may find that your customers would actually quite like you to get to know them better.

Louise Palmer

Deftly switching between business and consumer accounts, the focus for Louise remains the same; how can Wildfire tell clients’ stories in a way that is faithful, relevant and engaging? Her wide technology PR experience makes Louise an agile and versatile Associate Director and fantastic resource for the team, combining the strategic management of PR programmes with a hands-on approach to get under the skin of clients and motivate her teams.