Monday, October 01, 2007

Knowing me, knowing you

No,its not a rendition to Abba ...

“How do you gain an edge on your competitors? The answer lies with knowing your customers.”

Alison Clements
writes in the Times today, that - Pioneers of business-to-consumer customer management have inspired organisations around the world to be closer and more responsive to their customers. In the last ten years, Tesco’s Clubcard and the sophisticated data mining technology behind it, has changed how the global supermarket group serves its customers. In-depth customer knowledge has been instrumental in Tesco’s tremendous and highly profitable growth. Insight gleaned from analysis of shopping patterns has shaped actionable marketing and retailing programmes, so that busy mums are delighted by discounts on nappies and wipes, and young gadget fans hear of the latest deals on phones and electrical goods.

Clements goes on to say that - US supermarket heavyweight Kroger has followed the same path, like Tesco harnessing marketing company Dunhumby’s expertise in the field. “Customer relationship management has helped me reset my understanding of what the customer is after, and it helps replace intuition with actual data and actual facts,” says David Dillon, CEO of Kroger. He adds: “It’s those facts that are driving our decision-making.”

I agree, if only more companies thought the same way, they would be getting it right everytime ... like in Clements observation of Amazon - is equally erudite in its relationship-building activities. Customers are sent regular email alerts for product recommendations and discounts that really appeal to that individual, based on their known shopping and reading habits. The web giant impressed the UK book industry this year when it was able to start taking pre-orders for the new Harry Potter book well before the publication date was even announced. This was possible because was already in email contact with a database of signed-up Potter fans, built up through purchases and enquiries for previous HP titles over the years.

Alison Clements is right. Knowing your customers and being in constant contact with them puts you ahead of the crowd. Just look at the giant's in industry who have invested in CRM solutions (better results - happy customers - more profit)

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