Identifying Customers



Giving an identity to the customer is a step that must be done by the company after identifying the name, address, desires and needs of the customer. Giving identity is intended so that companies can pass different customers differently.

How to Give Identity to Customers

There are 2 ways to provide identity to customers. The difference in how to give identity to the customer is based on the situation faced by the company, whether the company can face to face with the customer or cannot face to face with the customer. For more details, will be described as follows.

Face to Face Situation
According to Peppers et al (1999, pp. 38-39) there are 2 ways companies can use to give identity to customers if the company can come face to face with customers.
1. The name of the customer himself
When customers interact directly with the company as when registering at the front office to book a room at a hotel, the hotel can use the customer's name as an identity.
2. Frequency marketing program
By using a frequency marketing program, each customer will be provided with a magnetic card that they must carry each time they interact with the company. Inside this magnetic card is stored information about the customer that can be used as an identity for the customer.

Situation Face To Face Indirectly
According to Peppers et al (1999, pp. 41-42) there are 4 ways that companies can use to provide identity to customers if the company cannot meet directly with customers. Giving an identity in this situation is done through the media customer interaction center (CIC).
1. Social security number
In this way the company can correctly recognize individual customers, because social security numbers are designed for each person differently. So it is impossible for an error to identify the customer. In addition, customers do not need to carry a membership card, just write down their own social security number each time they interact with the company.

2. Personal passwords
Another way to make it easier for customers to identify themselves, namely: by providing a personal password. So that every time they will interact, they only need to write their personal passwords, the company will be able to correctly identify them.
3. Combined data
By using the name and address of the customer, to recognize these customers individually.
4. User name
To make it easier to recognize customers individually. Can be used a combination of a series of characters which can be letters or numbers. Determination of the combination of characters used is determined solely by the customer.

Identifying customers in more detail
According to Peppers et al (1999, p. 4), the first step in customer relationship marketing is to identify customers in more detail. Not only identifying names or addresses, but also includes desires, and needs.

So it can be concluded from the description above that, identify is a stage where the company recognizes individual customers more than just names or addresses but also includes the habits and needs of these customers. Companies can obtain or dig up information to identify customers individually, by using a series of questions that aim to explore information about customers not only their name and address, but also includes habits, desires, and needs of customers. 

A series of questions can be listed on the warranty card, registration form or it can also be through dialogue conducted by the company with its customers directly or indirectly (Peppers et al. 1999, p. 25).
1. How to Identify Customers
How to identify customers can be divided into 2 types of ways of identification. The distinction is based on the situation faced by the company, whether the company faces a consumer market situation or a business market situation. To further clarify the way companies get detailed information about their customers, it will be explained further as follows.

a. Identifying Customers in Consumer Market Situations
In identifying customers in the consumer market (consumer markets), the company will face two types of circumstances, namely: where the company can face to face directly and circumstances where the company can not face to face directly.

i. Face to Face Situation
If the company has the opportunity to meet face to face with customers, then the way to identify customers is as follows.
1. Using a computer database that is directly connected to the cashier so the company can find out and record all the products purchased by customers, and if someday the customer returns the company staff can provide recommendations for a product to the customer based on the customer's needs (Peppers et al. 1999, p. 29).
2. A free lifetime repair guarantee that covers all repairs, such as that done by Zane's bicycle shop in Branford, Connecticut. This shop offers every bicycle buyer a lifetime repair guarantee, so in this way the store can identify the customer from the warranty form filled out by the customer and ensure that each customer will be well served personally (Peppers et al. 1999, p. 29) .
3. Can also be done through a list of reservations in the form of names and telephone numbers as practiced by Indigo a famous restaurant in Atlanta. Where this restaurant only provides table reservation services to loyal customers or customers who often visit this restaurant (Peppers et al. 1999, p. 29).
4. If the company has many branches, then the company can do it by implementing a frequency marketing plan, namely: a tactic that can help marketers to get information from customers. And provide rewards in the form of points or discounts to customers every time they identify themselves (Peppers et al. 1999, p. 30).

ii. Situation Face To Face Indirectly
If the company does not have the opportunity to do face-to-face meetings with customers, the company can do the following things.
1. Product web sites and registrations
2. Recipies and cooking clubs for food product consumers
3. Contest and sweeptakes
4. Toll-free product information and comment centers

2. Identifying Customers in Business Market Situations
Like companies that are in a consumer market situation, companies that are in a business market situation must also continue to identify their customers. The problem faced by marketers in the business market situation is identifying the end users of their products, according to Peppers et al (1999, p. 43) to solve these problems, the company can do the following things.
1. If the company manufactures complementary products such as ink and recording paper and others. Then the company will get information about the customer when the end user completes the order form or when contacting by telephone or maybe through a web site.
2. If the company produces products that require detailed instructions for using the manual. Then to obtain the identity of the end user is to offer user instructions that are formatted according to the needs of the end user in question.
3. If the company's products require routine maintenance, the company can get the identity of the end users when they carry out routine maintenance.
4. Complementing the product with connection facilities through a web site (web enabled connectivity). Complement the product with the ability to connect directly with companies through a web site.
5. Encourage the end user to register the product he bought with the company that made the product concerned, which can be done by telephone, web site, or by mail.
6. Offering a catalog to customers, so they can get information about the product or include a special magazine subscription form for users of the product for free.

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