Do you really know your client?

By Oliver Tams

Everybody thinks they know their client best. But translating this knowledge into loyalty is becoming a rare commodity these days, as far as the product and service supplier is concerned.

To know your client you need touch-points, research, staying connected and insights not intrusions. I’m amused every week when Qantas sends me a marketing email on their latest wine offers. They’ve been sending them for the last decade and haven’t worked out I don’t drink. Yet they have plenty of touch-points to find out more about me, at the lounge, in the airport, online and even onboard and still I get the emails.

The best possible client scenarios are about creating environments where your client feels comfortable and safe consuming your product or service and where you know everything there is to know about them but you keep researching because their circumstances could change at any minute. The best examples of such closed client environments, include companies such as Apple, Alibaba and Tencent who research and collate what their clients buy and consume, what they use, how they do things and how they pay. They exploit that knowledge and insight to stay connected with their clients everyday. If I lived in Northern China today and bought sunscreen, a new pair of thongs and a snorkel set on all on Alibaba, they would then turnaround (via their Fliggy site) and send through some great deals on beach resorts. All because they own all the touch points and are able to provide insightful recommendations based on those touch points.

Longevity of platform use and constant connection will eventually engender trust and motivation to buy, something Qantas hopes to take advantage of with its new Fliggy relationship.

If you don’t have the platforms it all becomes about research (not stalking), made simpler nowadays with social media sites and internet search capabilities, where you can find out things your clients may not discuss in business settings. Don’t ever stop asking questions after the initial client integration or on-boarding. My favourite start to a client conversation is always “so has anything changed since we last talked?” Give your clients every opportunity and as many touch-points as possible to interact with you and the insights will come naturally. A good benchmark result of all of this is when you end up on your client’s Christmas card list, not the other way around.

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