Research shows that customers don’t mind sharing more information as long as it helps lead to a more personalised journey across customer service channels, in fact, Accenture reported that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to create a more personalised experience – but where is the line?
How much personalisation is a good thing?
With 80% of companies reporting an uplift in revenue since implementing personalisation (E-consultancy), it’s clear personalisation can help your business reach its revenue targets. It’s an important element to any CX strategy; too much personalisation risks alienating your customer base.
Customer expectations have adapted over the past decade, with businesses like Netflix and Amazon leading the charge on personalisation with their intelligent use of customer data enabling them to develop customer profiles that genuinely meet the needs of their consumer base.
It’s easier than ever before for a company’s marketing department to utilise customer information to understand their typical customer’s needs and determine not only how their consumer base shop, but also what might help them make a key purchasing decision, or when to apply personal touches to drive increased sales.
Why bother personalising customer experience?
The goal of personalisation is to deliver more personalised customer service, which helps your customers to feel understood, and valued and offers them a customer experience that feels tailored to their needs. When we feel like our needs are being met we are usually far more loyal, and in turn, will spend more with a brand.
Our customers want to know we see them as people, not just revenue.
“84% of consumers say being treated like a person, not a number, is very important to winning their business.”
Not only is creating a more personal journey important for driving a loyal customer base, but it’s only logical to recognise that if increased personalisation enables you to show more relevant products and services to your customers and the right moment, they are far more likely to opt to purchase from you than if you take a scatter gun approach and try and show them everything you have in your arsenal all at once.
In essence, applying the personal touch to your customer’s experience will increase customer loyalty, customer satisfaction and the lifetime value of your customers to your business.
By utilising demographic data, purchase history, CRM systems and even talking face to face with your customers to understand their expectations and their needs, you can remove the guesswork and deliver excellent customer service and a wider experience.
Which parts of the customer journey can be personalised?
Personalisation isn’t about making everything you do within your business targeted to your customer types, or trying to find out everything you can about your clients.
The advances in technology over the past decade mean that we now have access to more information about our customers than ever before.
With a click of a button to accept the terms of website privacy policies and cookies we often give away our shopping habits, our locations, and even the contents of our Christmas wish list.
The data is out there for companies who want to use it, but that doesn’t always make it the right thing to do.
Information an individual has willingly and knowingly shared with you to help you deliver a more personal journey is far more likely to lead to a positive feeling and experience than information they don’t realise they were sharing.
For example if on the first login to your website you explain that the more information they offer you, the more sections they complete, and the more tailored their experience will be, then it’s likely that if your customers choose to populate the information they will be more receptive to any offers you then subsequently place in front of them due to that information.
If on the other hand, you know their browsing history through data you’ve purchased from a third party that they’re planning a camping trip soon and you show them advertisements with tents in them combined with the message – “get ready for your camping trip” your prospective customer might feel spied upon and instead of trusting your intentions to deliver a personal experience, they might just get a slightly icky feeling and avoid you all-together.
A personalised customer experience creates loyal customers
When it comes to which elements of your customer service experience you should personalise, there’s a lot of value to mapping the customer journey properly, talking to your customers and finding out from them where the key moments in that journey are, where personalisation might make the biggest difference to them, or where it could even go against you.
As with most elements of customer experience design, talking to your customer base and letting them be your strategic reference point can be powerful.
With key expectations identified you’ll be less likely to make mistakes and more likely to be able to use personalisation in a way your customers feel excited and engaged.
Using the insights you’ve gathered to make the customer feel like their experiences have been tailored to them wherever possible, will drive greater loyalty and increased lifetime value.
Ways to personalise customer experience
We’ll discuss a couple ways to improve and personalise customer experience.
Collect the right data to meet key expectations and drive customer satisfaction
It’s not solely about asking the right questions at the right time or conducting a relationship survey a few times a year. In fact, you can actually start delivering a better quality customer experience before you ever even implement any personalisation.
The best service reps know that collecting data isn’t enough. By clearly explaining why you’re asking for more personal data, how it will be used, the benefits to your potential customers of capturing that information and how safe their data will be, you can start to build increased trust in your brand.
Not only will your customers feel valued, feel clear on your intentions and trust that you want to deliver great customer service – but they will also feel less like you’re asking questions for the sake of it, less like you are wasting their time.
A crucial element to the service experience is to ensure that customer care is central to your operations and that the right questions are asked to give you what you need to deliver a better service – it shouldn’t ever be about collecting data for the sake of it.
If you’ve ever heard the term data rich, information poor then you’ll know why this is so important!
Offer customers more choice for a customer-led personalised experience
One of the simplest ways that you can create a personalised experience for your customer without overstepping the privacy boundary is to enable choice.
By giving them the freedom to choose how they interact with your brand you can let them personalise their own journey, ensure they have their contact preference needs to be met and you can do it without asking them any personal or intrusive questions.
By simply offering a genuine omni-channel service experience, with well-staffed channels and an easy way of switching channels whenever a customer needs to, you give your customers the gift of control and catch-free personalisation.
Email personalisation on a day-to-day basis
When it comes to implementing personalisation using customer-centric data, email marketing can be a low-cost and impactful area to focus on. Did you know that according to HubSpot personalised calls to action convert 202% better than default or standard calls to action? or that 71% of consumers say a personalised experience would influence their decision to open and read brand emails?
Encourage your service reps across the entire service department to collect accurate information from your customers to help deliver targeted and personalised email content, then use your customer’s purchase history to deliver dynamic marketing campaigns that are more likely to tempt them to click on an email.
There are plenty of companies out there that supply demographic data to help you inform your customer experiences, messaging apps that can help you collect the details you need or you can even go the old-fashioned route of speaking to your customers to gather data you can use to personalise email communications.
Why not try a beta test when it comes to personalised communication vs standard comms – which one works best for your business?
Don’t replace core customer service principles with personalisation
Personalisation is a good tool to have as a part of your toolkit, but it doesn’t replace the fundamental elements that go towards building a customer experience.
You should have a clear customer-centric vision statement that all your employees understand and that helps them to deliver the customer service experience your customers are expecting.
Having customer design principles that help clarify the vision statement and offer your teams a strong sense check to ensure they are moving in the right direction can also ensure all interactions are consistent, and that the pursuit of personal data to inform personalisation doesn’t accidentally get in the way of delivering the best service experience possible.
Tie in your CX design principles
For example, if your customer experience design principles state that you must always inspire trust in the brand, put your customers’ well-being first and be transparent in how you work, those principles should be used to inform process design when it comes to collecting data.
Ensure your methods for data collection, your communications around collections and your subsequent use of that data fit with your principles to make your customers feel valued, communicated to and able to trust in your motivations.
In conclusion, whilst there are potential dangers to avoid when it comes to customer relationship management and collecting data to personalise your CX, there is also a lot to play for.
Offering self-service increased choices and a CX that your customers can tailor to meet their own needs can be a powerful way of offering personalisation without the need to mine lots of sensitive customer data.
If you want to go further, and offer products based on purchasing history, personal preference and demographic data then you’ll need to do so with a little caution and a lot of transparency.
Enable your customers to access customer service that feels like it was made just for them though, and you’ll be hitting the jackpot when it comes to excellent service, increased loyalty, and ultimately increased revenue.
To find out more, contact us today!