Do you want your customers to connect with you? Do you want them to stay committed to your brand? Then personalize the experience. One of the major takeaways from a recent report that surveyed more than 1,500 adults in the U.S. on what they (as customers) expect from the brands they do business with, was the stat that said:
79% consider personalized service is more important than personalized marketing.
Personalized marketing is a good strategy. For example, Nike sells hiking shoes, running shoes, basketball shoes, and general training shoes. And personalized marketing is more directed towards a particular persona. Nike would not try to sell running shoes to someone who buys only basketball shoes.
Personalized customer service, however, is different. It goes a level deeper, up to an individual level. You’re no longer interacting with a large group of customers. You are dealing with one customer at a time, giving each one a unique and personal experience. And customers want you to know everything about them. They want you to know their history with your brand, their previous purchase, their previous conversations with you, and they want you to use this information to your mutual advantage. So, the question goes. How do you plan to provide all this? What all goes into providing a personalized customer experience? What are your strategies? Worry not; I am here to help. In this article, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about personalization in customer service! I’ll talk about:
- What Does Personalized Customer Service Mean?
- Forms Of Personalized Customer Service
- Why Does Personalized Customer Service Matter?
- 7 Ways To Deliver Personalized Customer Service
- Personalize or Perish
Let’s start with the nuts and bolts first.
What Does Personalized Customer Service Mean?
Personalized customer service means the support rep “knows” the customer they’re talking to! This can be possible because of the data collected by the brand, like customers’ personal information. It is a technique that helps brands tailor their communication with each customer, either during interactions or while sending out individualized messages.
For example, imagine a local baker who knows that you’re a customer who buys sugar-free cookies. If they have your personal information, they may be able to tell you about a fresh batch or a new type of sugar-free cookie coming out soon. Easy, right?
Now imagine, how can this experience be transferred to high-growth brands, B2B, or even in the digital world? It turns out there are many ways. A very common way is by using automatic product recommendations. For example, you must have come across Amazon’s site recommendations in the list titled “People who bought this product, also bought these products,” “frequently bought together,” or other tailored lists.
There are many other ways to implement personalization into larger and digital environments. We shall talk about it in the later sections of this article.
Forms Of Personalized Customer Service
Personalization has many forms, and there are different processes for each form.
I. Based on Persona or Segment
This form is driven by customer segmentation and the development of buyer personas. It does not personally cater to each customer; instead, it caters to a group of similar customers. Brands try to predict their preferences based on what they know about each segment as a whole. These parameters may include location, industry, job title, characteristics, needs, the intent of purchase, and more.
II. Based on Automated Individualization
The example of Amazon that we saw above was a result of automatic, real-time data collection which is based on the customer activity. Amazon’s recommendation algorithm draws information that is specific to the customer. For example, it fetches their search history and then suggests various product offerings, personalized coupons, etc., based on that.
III. Based on Individuals (Personal)
Let’s say you use software that allows you to see previous interactions from customers who reach out to you. Your support agents can directly talk to customers and say things like:
- “Oh, I can see you’ve faced this issue before; let’s try a more permanent fix.”
This is the most personal personalization (yes, I said that) any brand can get toward.
Let’s find out why personalized customer service matters so much.
Why Does Personalized Customer Service Matter?
Go back to that local bakery in your neighborhood again. It’s a small business, right? They usually have lower day-to-day sales volume. What do small businesses like that do to become better than other competitors?
Thanks to their lower sales volume, they can easily know their customers and what they want. Maybe the owner greets each customer by their first name. Maybe a sales associate can remember what a particular customer bought before and recommend other relevant products. This service makes a difference in people’s lives! As a customer, I want this experience when I interact with any brand and not just the local small businesses.
Imagine if you, being a bigger brand, can serve this kind of experience to your customers; your customers will become raving fans of your business! That’s your customer retention right there! No need to do anything else! Still don’t get it? Let me list its benefits for you:
- It improves customer satisfaction
- It helps you practice superior customer retention
- Works out best for lead generation
- It drives customer loyalty
- Improves overall conversion rates
This makes personalized customer service extremely important for businesses worldwide, regardless of their industry niche. It makes sense, right? Let’s quickly look at multiple ways to drive a personalized customer experience.
7 Ways To Ace Personalized Customer Service
Personalized customer engagement strategy reports a quantifiable boost to business outcomes. This shows that delivering personalized customer service has become vital to staying competitive in the marketplace. There are multiple ways to walk the tightrope. Let’s look at them:
1. Deliver an Omnichannel Experience
Customers today expect brands to offer support through multiple channels. Not just multiple channels, but channels of their choice! Not just this, they expect brands to be able to shift from one channel to another. For example, they reach you by email but then switch to a chat window for more immediate service. They should be able to do it seamlessly.
As more companies meet the demand of omnichannel customer service, personalization tools can help provide superior services across channels. Through personalization strategies and methods, the support agent can know that the customer is getting in touch (or trying to get in touch) with them for the second time. This would mean that they do not need to ask for the same details.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, messaging has grown faster than any other channel. Multiple companies have enabled customer service through WhatsApp, SMS/texting, and in-app messaging services. And many businesses have caught on.
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2. 360 Degree Customer Profiles
As a brand, you should focus on knowing more things about your customers, especially when it comes to your loyal customers. I’m sure you would be successfully recording customer information as they contact you. However, you need to dig deeper and understand them better than anyone else. After all, this is what personalized service is all about! If you do it without a proper understanding of who your customers are it is like driving while keeping your eyes closed.
Helpdesk ticketing systems can help you achieve this by enabling you to save a 360-degree customer profile. A helpdesk tool can centrally store different customer profiles and help you understand their purchase behavior and personality types fully. Your support reps can then easily skim and segregate customers based on their likes, and expectations and offer unique solutions to each of them.
3. Use Data Responsibly
No, you don’t want to get famous as the brand that goes overboard on personalization. You don’t want to be overly invasive. You don’t want your customers to find you “creepy” by thinking that you know too much about them. So, how to strike the right balance with personalized customer service?
Use customer data responsibly!
Balance technology with human considerations. Relying solely on data and interpreting it thoughtlessly can lead to embarrassing missteps. For example, targeting customers with ads for products they viewed for less than a minute is not the right way.
4. Be as Unique as Possible
Example: MyMagic+ Wristband Technology
MyMagic+ wristband tech gives Walt Disney World’s employees the information they need to create memorable, personalized experiences for their visitors if someone is wearing a Disney MagicBand and has made a reservation for dinner,
- The host will greet them by their first name when they arrive.
- The host receives a signal on their mobile device when they are a few paces away. The host can prompt the kitchen to start their pre-programmed food order.
- When the guest is at their table, a receiver detects their MagicBand to let the server know to bring out their meal.
This experience feels like magic! Aim for serving such a unique experience, and you earn a loyal customer for life!
5. Inculcate Empathy in the Company Culture
Delivering personalized customer service has everything to do with adding familiarity (or rather a human touch) to every interaction. It is notoriously infuriating to deal with a disinterested and robotic customer service agent. It gives customers a negative impression of your brand.
Treat every customer humanely and pleasantly regardless of the channels they choose. That’s the bare minimum. Foster an environment of respect and cordiality beyond mere utilitarianism by inculcating these values in your company culture.
6. Leverage Tech (AI, VR, Chatbots, etc.)
These days brands are trying to adopt AR and VR technologies to take the customer engagement game to a whole new level. It completely redefines the landscape of service and support. 61% of customers say that they prefer retailers that offer AR experiences.
These are immersive approaches and can drive the “WOW” element in the customer experience. It also helps you fill the gap between real-world and online experiences. Using AR and VR can ensure that the customers get their sensory feel while being in a store.
You can also automate personalization by using a chatbot. Your support teams can leverage chatbots during their offline hours and have conversations later when they’re available.
7. Implement Feedback And Reviews
Feedback can be a beneficial tool for companies to improve their services. Customers expect businesses to listen to them and stay open for feedback. A study states that 55% of customers would break up with a brand (stop using their products/services) that ignores their feedback.
If you ask for and collect feedback, you’re setting a great example for customer service personalization. It shows that you value your customers and take their opinions into account. Once you have the feedback, rectify your processes accordingly. Change your policies and strategies accordingly. Once you implement the feedback (or suggestions given by customers), they can feel the air of individuality.
Handle all feedback with a great deal of professionalism. You can also send a proper personalized response to your customers to acknowledge their feedback and tell them when you successfully update those changes.
Personalize or Perish
Personalized experience pays off in multiple ways. It is so much more than just repeat business. It creates evangelists and loyal brand ambassadors. Remember that this type of recommendation, i.e., word-of-mouth, is your best strategy. It doesn’t get better than to have customers who’d sing your praises to other potential customers. So, get to know your customers. Make it personal!
Train your support agents and empower them to deliver the one-on-one experience customers want, and take advantage of technology, too. Empower your teams with the latest technology tools to track customer purchases and preferences. The technology lays the foundation for your support agents to relate to customers personally, giving them the human connection they crave. And as you build relationships, you’re building your brand right along with them.
Personalization: Win-Win For All
Leverage personalized customer service to bolster omnichannel support, and you’ll be able to provide excellent service no matter where your customers are. Let DeskXpand take care of it.