Delivering A High-Impact and Personalized Customer Experience
Providing a personalized customer experience at scale is hard. In an era where customers can buy your services instantaneously and goods globally, personalization is increasingly difficult. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but there are ways to simplify your approach. Here’s how:
Acknowledge Customer Loyalty and Reward it.
Reward customers for their continuous support. Sending a surprise, sharing a thank-you message or providing exclusive offers are some of the ways you can achieve this goal. The actions will go a long way. “The Loyalty Report 2017” (registration required) by Bond Brand Loyalty, which surveyed more than 28,000 North American consumers, found that 76% of consumers think loyalty programs are “part of their relationship with the brand.” Delight your loyal customers even if they are not part of a rewards program.
Offer Several Channels for Customer Service.
Customers have different preferences in customer service channels when they need support. Providing customers with a choice of channels goes a long way to show you consider their needs. That is not to say you should offer all available options. But how you are best able to respond to your customers in a way that is fast and convenient for them?
For example, it is often easier for someone with complex or multiple queries to speak to a person directly via phone. Someone with a non-urgent query might be content to resolve it via email. An easy-to-navigate FAQ section on your website might help someone quickly find what they are looking for. Increasingly, live chat is a preferred method for quick queries and quicker resolutions. Social media channels are also important, as they can help or hinder your brand in a very public forum.
According to Accenture’s “Life Reimagined” report, more than 50% of those surveyed said they would switch brands if a brand “doesn’t create clear and easy options for contacting customer service.”
Empower your Customer Service Agents.
Instead of sticking to a script, allow your agents to control the conversation to give the customer a personalized experience. According to First Round Review, Dana Kilian, who was vice president of customer service at Eventbrite, explained in an interview that the company’s customer support team only has “basic tenets that we make sure everyone is familiar with and that reflect the quality of service we want to provide, but the rest is really up to them.”
Along with hiring and training programs, your customer service agents are your partners in problem-solving and often the voice of your brand. You want them to be able to think quickly, build rapport and show empathy to clients. The sixth “gold-standard” service value at the Ritz Carlton goes a step further: “I own and immediately resolve guest problems.”
Acquire and Leverage Customer Data.
Making customers feel like you know them is an important aspect of personalizing their experience. Knowing their preferences and history is beneficial in many ways. Your teams will come across as organized and informed, the customer will not have to repeat themselves to escalating teams and, ultimately, the customer will feel valued.
Call Customers by Name.
Human beings react differently when referred to by their name. It makes them feel heard, important and relevant. Using a person’s name is the basic tool to foster a human connection in a transactional world. A customer is not just a data point; they’re a human leveraging your product or service. It’s not surprising that this seemingly small detail is essential in the mindset of top customer service giants. Using the Ritz’s gold standards again, two of the “three steps of service” include using the guest’s name.
Create Self-service Options.
Provide your customers with avenues to help themselves. This can be as straightforward as creating a section for FAQs on your website, creating explainer videos or using chatbot technology for quick redirections or resolutions.
A 2022 guide (registration required) by Boost.ai said conversational AI is estimated to mature into an $18.4 billion market by 2026. Already, automated chats can understand natural language and provide a chat-first approach to customer service, where customers get resolutions quicker than staying on hold to speak with a representative.
Provide Support Through Social Media.
Social media is no longer optional; your customers expect you to meet them where they are, and they are online. Supporting your customers via social media means that you are providing an opportunity to interact, whether you’re responding to a query, complaint or positive feedback.
To do this, know where your customers are. Are they mostly on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest? Monitor social channels for comments that relate to your service. Develop a systematic approach to your response. To build rapport with your customer, answer quickly and consistently. Be mindful that customers are using your exchange with other customers to see whether they like you as a brand. In my experience, if negative feedback is met positively and with humor, customers will often leverage your service or product because of the way the complaint was handled.
Develop guides to keep your tone consistent across interactions. Will you respond publicly, or will you invite the customer to discuss it privately?
Keep in mind that social media metrics contain rich data as well. Leverage reports to further build your customer service efforts and refine your personalization experience.
Act on Customer Feedback.
All interactions with customers become part of the customer feedback loop. Make it a continuous practice to gather customer feedback and act on it in order to improve your product. By asking for feedback on interactions with your brand through real-time surveys, you can collect data, mine it for the key improvements and work those improvements into your service or product.
Notifying customers of changes—in a “you answered, we listened” campaign, for example—will show them their feedback matters and they’ve been heard. Your customers will feel like you are partners in their journey—the ultimate personalized experience.
You can also read this article at Forbes Council.
About the Author:
Emilia D’Anzica, Founder, Author, Growth Molecules™
Emilia has personally onboarded 1000s of customers in her 20+ year career and is an early Customer Success Manager in SaaS. She has held every title in customer success ranging from Support Manager to Chief Customer Officer. She believes that customer onboarding sets the trajectory for churn or growth. After helping companies like WalkMe experience exponential growth, she is now helping companies build teams, processes, and systems to scale. Emilia holds an MBA from Saint Mary’s College of California and a dual BA from the University of British Columbia. She is also PMP, and Scrum certified. She is the co-author of Pressing ON as a Tech Mom.