Dilemma: As we are struggling to break out of the neat little boxes someone has defined for us, the ‘box office’ is following suit with ever more detailed and in-depth persona descriptions.
While personas no doubt are a prerequisite for precise and targeted communication, it is important to accept, that no one considers themselves or wants to be treated as a type or category. We must face the fact, that we can never know, understand or predict everything about an individual. And maybe we even want to feed our curiosity and leaving room for surprise.
For me, it is a showstopper, when someone (especially a stranger) says: “I know exactly what you need!”. Hell no, you don’t… It may in fact piss me off to the extent, that even if he or she nailed my need head on, it would magically vaporize for good.
By understanding or assuming to understand too much, we are in danger of being lead astray by false assumptions and prejudices. Our curiosity in other people is often the very thing that makes them feel special. And this last piece of individual mystery may well be best foundation for a trusting and equal customer relationship.
My point is just to stay open and inquiring, as we make our mesh finer. Take care not to kill your curiosity and keep wanting to know your customers better – even if you have already labeled them. Strive to know your customer better than your competition, but never think for a moment, that you know them better than they know themselves.