Know your customer. In business it’s a mantra which it is hard to get away from. If you want to innovate, to produce eye-catching adverts, to deliver products which resonate with your client base then received wisdom says that knowing your customer sits at the heart of success.
But isn’t that just half of the story? After all it’s one thing to know your customer, quite another for your customers not only to know your business but also to understand the products which you have on offer. Take the recent Financial Lives survey* from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for example. More than 12,000 people were interviewed about a range of financial products including pensions and insurances, loans and credit cards. Some of the survey’s findings are worrying indeed. For example, 17 million adults with motor insurance don’t know what ‘no claims’ protection means, 12 million people don’t have enough knowledge to decide between protection products, and 2 million don’t understand their defined pension contribution statement.
The FRC intend to use the findings to inform the thrust of their regulation efforts but it’s also a wake-up call to the financial services industry to make great strides in delivering product clarity. It’s also a wake-up call for all leaders no matter what the sector. Know your customer is one thing but if you really want to build a strong customer partnership then the information flow has to be two way.