All transactions between different entities create information (individuals or companies). In many cases this information seem to be utilized in very limited way and thus benefits remain untapped. Often customer information is also observed one-sidedly from enterprise point of view. There are plenty of benefits for producer of that information too.Benefits are quite obvious for company collecting information from their customers. They are in better position to modify offering and availability of products or services according to customer expectations. The common handicap here is that only what has been purchased is observed. Deeper analysis could reveal hidden purchase needs. Based on analysis company could recognize new ways how customer expects to be served and deepen also the relationship.
What customer would benefit from giving and receiving wider scale of information? Basically plenty of information is already available without any additional activity need from customer. Good example is marketing automation. As soon as employees of potential customer became active towards seller organizations product information, the level of interest can be estimated. After it reaches adequate level, sales team can contact the customers purchase organization. Everyone saves time and contacts can be made well targeted. Seller understands buyers potential challenge without cold calls like “how could we help you and with what”. Buyer would have also general understanding after this interaction that seller would potentially be capable of solving his problem. Open information exchange makes this possible. Additional information can help target the interaction even more precisely. So basically companies should open their sensors and observe their customers and try to get to know them better with their own observations combined with information collected from other reliable sources.
Mutual benefits were obvious and readily available in good old days, when merchant knew personally all customers. With this knowledge stored in his mind, he was able to make clever decisions helping him serve customer better, but also survive with competition. Customer felt comfortable with ease of doing business as basics of his needs were already know and service was thus better matching the needs. Also exceeding the expectations was possible to occur, if merchant was clever enough to combine his information into wider knowledge. Later customers became a mass or in some cases at least segment. I think it should be about time to move back towards era of individual. With current technology and information handling capabilities that should be possible and i believe first movers have already seen the benefits of it.
If you have limited view of your customer, you might lose the big picture and big opportunity with it. Information is good, knowledge is better. Full knowledge can only be obtained and utilized by combining customer behavior and expectations in both physical and online environments. If this newly acquired knowledge is utilized to create mutual benefit, all are happy.