In the business world, most businesses will happily receive money from their customers without much of an incline into the background of who the person they are doing business with is. But if there is an industry that will seek to ‘dress you down’ before accepting your money, it is the banking industry. Having worked in banking for a better part of my career, I became very familiar with the policies governing the operationalization of bank accounts. KYC also referred to as ‘Know Your Customer’ is one such policy. This means that for an account to be compliant, the account opening officer will need your identification documents, as proof of who you are; your most recent utility bill, as proof of your place of residence and a document from the employer / business as proof of the source on income you hold. As you operate the account, the bank will monitor the transactions to determine your financial patterns as well as track any suspicious activity which if detected, will be flagged, and reported to the relevant authorities.
And if you think your good financial behavior is enough to give you credit when you need some extra cash to undertake a project; then I am guessing you haven’t tried taking a loan yet. You will still be required to submit a plethora of documents to prove to the analyst that you can indeed pay for the facility you are requesting for. And just in case you didn’t know, they will also be undertaking some discreet inquiries around your background, experience level, market opinion to assess your character.
While the banking industry is a highly regulated industry, the extent to which they strive to really know their customers is something that we can all learn from.
Reminds me of a case just recently when I reached out to a certain provider who had serviced me a while back seeking for an extension of their services. While my email was clear on what additional services I required this time around, my supplier seemed to have forgotten any previous interaction we had had and instead sent through a fresh quote covering the already delivered services.
I felt like a black hole. Had I not left an impression from our previous interaction? I was hurt! So much so that I decided to take a chill pill from his services. I will probably go back for the service, but for now, let me just to lick my wounds.
How well you really know your customers will reflect on your business as well as on who you are as an individual.
How then can you REAALLY know your customer?
- Identify with their long-term vision: Do you have an idea of what your customer’s dreams are? Where would they like to be in 5 years, 10 years? And are you a part of this future? A business that sees into the future of its customers will be adaptable enough to support the needs of the customers as they grow into their dreams.
You know the way the bank will discretely sass out your character before they decide to give you any long-term credit, your business too is long term. Get that deep knowledge on what your audience seeks to achieve with their life, and you will win their hearts.
- Be their secret admirer: Secret admirers are known to send gifts as a gesture of love and admiration while staying hidden. Get to know what cords warm your customers hearts and surprise them with moments of appreciation. Smaller businesses can discharge this with ease. A story is told of a business that would send cakes to all its key customers on their birthdays as a sign of appreciation. Though this gesture is not ‘secret’ in nature, the intention is to show admiration and the loyalty that comes from such an initiative cannot be measured.
For me, I must say the simple birthday message from my bank must be one of those warm cords. Their message comes long before those close to me recognize I was even born.
- Remember the small details: Do this, and you will show your customers that you listen. When you give your customers the impression that you are attentive to the small matters, they will assume you care for them and if they sense you care for them, they will trust you with the big matters. Please don’t be like my supplier. Keep a journal if you must, just be sure to show your customers that nothing is too small to matter.
These tips and tricks work for personal brands just as effectively as they would work for business brands. In personal branding however, the customers are the audience that you want to know you. The more effort you put in trying to understand your audience’s likes and dislikes, their aspirations, their goals, the more you will find areas of synergy that you can create a connection with.
A great personal brand must master the power of connection with its audience.
When you truly master your audience, you automatically become the one person that they would not live without (kinda like a date!).
Focus in on your audience and #standout4growth.