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A client asked me the other day:
“Why do I need an Ideal Client Persona? That’s marketing stuff … Why can’t we just get on and fix operational efficiencies here?”
“We could”, I said, “but let me ask you a question: who’s perspective would you use to decide what is right what is wrong?”
“Well, ours, of course… the business, I mean.”
“And that would be great”, I replied, “if you are the one who buys your own product, but that isn’t the case, is it?”
“Hmm… No… I see… Yeah… It’s the client’s perspective we need to consider, then.”
“Well it is both really,…. but you have to start with the client in mind and build on that. So that’s why first you need to understand who your ideal client is and focus your entire business operations on servicing them in a way you would become their only choice, in a way no one else can do it for them. No one else would be just right. Once you know what that means, you can start looking into your own operations and structure / restructure in a way that it is profitable and efficient, while delivering remarkable value for your clients. Then, your marketing will be easier too, because now you know exactly who are you talking to, you know who will hear what you have to say and you will know what story they will be interested in.
“Yes… I see how you mean”, my client nodded his head, “Ideal Client Persona, so how do we do that?”
“We’ll get to this in just a moment but let me start with a short story about Jenny & Jets Café.”
It is 8h00 in the morning. Jenny, a 40 something professional woman, is hurriedly walking down the street. Jenny had a rushed morning with the kids and a slightly cranky husband before leaving home. The tube was packed and it annoyed her, because she was hoping to read that report once again, the report she needs for the 9h30 meeting today.
So Jenny hurries down the street, when the smell of fresh coffee reminds her, she hasn’t had one yet… didn’t have the time… she looks at her watch and decides she can stop in, maybe even take few minutes to read that damned report…
Jenny enters the Jets’ Café. First thing she notices are few people standing near the counter. Now she is worried the service might be slow… Wondering if she’ll be ok on time. Jenny looks around and crosses the eyes of one of the service staff, a young woman, smiling at her.
“What can I get for you?”
“A regular Late, please”
“Would you like it to takeaway, or have it here?”
“Oh… I will have it here… will find a place to sit.”
“Great… there are few tables at the back there, I will bring your Late in couple of minutes…. Would you like something small for breakfast with that?”
“No thank you”, Jenny says, “I don’t have the time”.
“I understand”, the young woman replies, “Contactless payment?”
“Thank you. Please have a sit and I will bring the late in a minute”, the young woman says and smiles again.
Jenny walks to the back of the cafe, finds a seat and looks around the place, while pulling the report out of her bag. It feels cosy, she thinks.
And before the couple of minutes have gone, the young service woman is next to her table putting the cup of late down, with a smile and a little treat, organic / homemade mini cookie:
“Here’s your Late and a little cookie from us to you… Its so tasty, it takes no time swallow at all… And we hope you have a magical day.”
Jenny is pleasantly surprised, smiles back and thanks the young woman . She realises her entire mood / state has changed from earlier today. She is feeling noticed, appreciated as a customer and her comfort seemed to be important to them.
Jenny turns her attention to her report and 15min later leaves the Jets’ Café feeling ready to get on with her day. As she exits, she looks around trying to see where the kind young woman who served her earlier is… Their eyes cross again from afar. Jenny smiles and exaggeratedly mouths a silent “Thank you”. The young woman smiles back, puts a hand on her heart and slightly bows her head while mouthing “You are welcome”. Jenny exits The Jets’, thinking good move… I needed that moment… I feel ready for the 9h30 today…. Turns around and takes a quick look at her reflection in the café windows, then one quick glance at the sign Jets’ Café
“This place feels good”, she thinks before walking away.
You see, Jenny didn’t wake up that morning thinking “I’ll go and spend few pounds at the Jets’… nor she thought I will go there and spend several hundred over the next few months”… no one ever does. That is not what people’s priorities are, not what their life is about. In fact, Jenny didn’t even consciously know the Jets existed before that day… A cup of coffee is a commodity, but somehow the Jets’ turned it into something unique that day… something very personal for Jenny.
And the story of Jenny and the Jets’ Café doesn’t stop here… because of how they made her feel that morning, Jenny started to stop by almost every day. It became almost a habit. On several occasions, she even planned to get there earlier, so she could have a breakfast while quietly catching up with the news. She went back with colleagues and noticed the lunch menu is healthy and changes often and the service is as quick and efficient during lunchtime too. It wasn’t the closest location-wise, nor the cheapest in the neighbourhood, but it has become Jenny’s favourite and 80% of the time, she rather walk few more minutes, and consciously give her time, attention and spend her money at a place and with people she likes.
Every now and again the Jets’ staff continued to surprise her with small treats… nothing exceptionally big, but the thought and warm service counted. And the funky names of those mini magic cookies made her smile every time.
For Jenny, the coffee at the Jets’ was not a commodity anymore. There was an emotional connection, which would be difficult, perhaps impossible to replace.
And that is the essence of why and how we need to think about a client persona avatar… defining how we can create those emotional connections and organise our operations, train our teams so we can build a loyal client base. It’s the most profitable type you can have. It is the ideal client a business can have.
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