Give the family a bit of credit

Recently, a bank refused a credit card application from my wife Jane on the basis that she doesn’t earn a salary. Never mind the fact that I earn a healthy wage, over which she makes 99 per cent of the spending decisions. Jane was furious that they wouldn’t take into account my salary (even with my permission) and so was I. The bank lost not one, but two potential customers.

The bank’s decision was no doubt made using its customer relationship management (CRM) system, which it has deployed in order to identify, win and retain customers.

The bank believed it had made the right decision about Jane’s credit-worthiness based upon its view of her individual credit record. But customers are, of course, much more than individuals. For instance, Jane is also a wife and mother, and the person who controls our household budget. When viewed as a member of the household, Jane is an extremely valuable prospect.

If marketing took into account a view of the household, companies might arrive at a completely different set of conclusions about who are their most valuable customers.

Viewing customers in this way can maximise profitability by giving a clearer view of the collective value of a household, as well as the relative value of each member.

It can bring in savings through reducing the duplication of marketing efforts and avoiding some of the potentially damaging mistakes that often occur when using customer information.

Mike Healy

Senior vice-president

Innovative Systems Inc (ISI)

Woking

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