KYC – “Know your customer”. How many times have you heard that phrase?
It already became one of the must-have tools if you want to deliver value for your customers successfully. In each situation, the goal is the same, to get as much information about your customer as possible.
But how to achieve it? What is more important, how to achieve it effectively?
Regarding my own experience, my major goal is to design with a customer an analytics platform, reporting application, one single go-to point for key metrics which will be relevant, appealing and informative for end users. The better we can design it, the higher adoption it will have, and more data-driven the organization will be.
“Know your customer” for me is a process, and like any other process, it has some steps. Those steps we can arrange into two, parent groups. The first group refers to information, which is gathered externally without contact with a customer and a second internally – gathered during workshops and interviews with a customer. However, before even putting a foot on a customer’s office floor is good to know some key facts about customer business.
You can ask why to take time? You are not coming to building a new strategy or develop new products. Aren’t you? From my experience, starting works on designing and implementing a new analytics platform within an organization boosts other positive actions like changing approach to manage some processes within an organization, optimize them, allow people make better decisions thanks to having proper metrics which describe and monitor business performance. So, in the end, I can say that work has a direct impact on creating a new strategy and developing new products. Another motivation to take time and do some pre-research is to be a partner in discussion with a customer in upcoming workshops and interviews.
In this post, I’m going to cover my best practices regarding the first group of steps – externally gathering information about a new customer. I’m using simple methods which are easy to remember and easy to apply. I would say that they can be arranged into check-list. To illustrate an example, let’s imagine that there is a new project on the horizon.
There are a few areas which I’m willing to research myself as a starting point:
1. Customer company. The first research is about customer company to get familiar with basic facts like industry, size, products, vision, values, markets—everything possible to read on the company webpage and beyond.
2. Customer industry key characteristics. This step gives you an overview of customer industry opportunities, threats and challenges. That information helps you understand the business environment and customer market. For instance, a company from logistic industries has different objectives on their radar than finance institution.
3. Business function top KPIs. Mostly, when I start my work, I already know the initial assumptions like the area of business for which the project will be run. It can be finance, controlling, logistic, sales, production or other. Each of those functions has specific, crucial measures for monitoring performance and their health. The internet is a great source of knowledge, so even then you are not an expert in finance or production, you can easily find top KPIs. Those top KPIs will help you understand better particular department challenges.
4. Customer industry business news. Besides the above information, I’m looking for some success stories for industry leaders, especially regarding technology or business optimization activities. That is a great opportunity to learn about the latest trends and growth directions.
The better you are prepared, the more professional you look and the more successful you can be in your role. So spare no time and get to know your customer.
Do not forget to get more hints in part II.