Nick Patchitt

Walking in the shoes of your customers

Nick Patchitt
Walking in the shoes of your customers

Much is often said and written about the need to understand customers: what they are looking for, the issues they face and how this impacts how they run their business. Unfortunately, whilst much is often written, there seems to have been a historic reservation in actually doing so, or perhaps some confusion as to who the ‘customer’ actually is.

For some, things seem to be changing - there are now many sources that can help provide more understanding; from secondary/desk research through to the vast array of insight that insurers and brokers alike invest in and share. Interestingly, we are now seeing some clients adopt a much more ‘personal’ approach to gaining better understanding, supporting what they can source with deeper knowledge. Rather than being ‘remote’, they are beginning to immerse themselves in the markets and segments that they have identified as matching their risk appetite and proposition. This isn’t to try and change the way in which the product is purchased, but it is giving them a more direct view of the things that matter to the customer: speaking directly to them, being part of the normal day-to-day dialogue, closer to their business decisions and the risk-drivers that keep them awake at night. The two sectors that we have seen the strongest interest in at the moment are aviation and energy.

Having helped clients to gain an understanding of what their appetite for the sector is, getting to understand and speak directly to a variety of audiences within is reasonably easy – well, as ‘reasonably’ as these things can be! There is a huge number of opportunities, many digital, but getting direct time means attending events spread across Europe allowing you to speak with customers ranging from the very small to the very large and having content/materials that reflect that understanding is certainly a starting point. Trying to enter a dialogue with a segment when you have no knowledge of the sector is always a difficult starting point.

Our advice to anyone looking to engage with a sector to allow them to better understand the risks and drivers are:

  • Identify a sector and take time to review publicly available information about the sector, secondary research/Google etc.
  • Understand your risk appetite and proposition and how this could respond to the sector – try not to just ‘sell’ them what you have, think about how it can be packaged/tailored.
  • Look to speak to the sector – probably the easiest and cheapest way is to find a few tradeshows. There are many around and they provide a great opportunity to just walk and talk to people/exhibitors; they are normally quite friendly and keen to share more about their businesses.

So, having made a start, you will certainly be more informed than some. Based upon our experience with clients, we know what works best for them. To speak about this in more detail, contact Martin on mwiggins@brandformula.co.uk