Isn’t it strange how, despite living in a day-and-age where we as marketers have as much data as we could want – and often more – the customer experience remains depressingly generic?
As marketers, we’re data-obsessed. We do our best to glean every little detail of a person’s life in the hopes of understanding our customers better, and yet customers are increasingly wary of giving their information. When they do, they don’t perceive any actual value in having done so.
Delivering genuinely personal customer happiness and services is the best way to create a lasting relationship with clients, and when clients are happy, your business is happy (and growing!). Whether your client is big or small, they all want to feel important. People inherently want to feel important no matter what level of business they are doing with you.
Personalization presents unique opportunities for businesses to connect with customers. It’s an excellent chance for marketers to harness the data they’ve been collecting and combine it with the personal touch many consumers are looking for, from the companies they interact with.
We have to be careful not to go too far, however. Recent data leaks and scandals from companies like Cambridge Analytica have, rightly so, made consumers wary of how their data is used and shared. In our zeal for better targeted product recommendations, cross-selling, upselling and so on, we also need to demonstrate value to loyal customers.
Customer personalization has the chance to change the cold, big business experience that has squeezed out the personalized, boutique experience. By using data to understand consumers better, it empowers brands to scale their user experience by getting to know their customers and tailoring an experience to their specific needs and interest.
How To Make Your Customers Feel Welcome
It’s a sad, but actual fact, that companies like Chik-Fil-A are consistent leaders in customer satisfaction in the fast food restaurant industry because they’ve merely trained their staff to say “please” and “thank you.”
While it may seem small, and certainly feels expected, don’t underestimate the power of small pleasantries. A smile and a warm welcome can go a long way.
While this same interaction isn’t possible for e-commerce businesses, that personal touch and caring attitude is still applicable. Start by remembering them without them having to log-in to an account for every interaction.
Continue that with genuine questions built to acquire data points, but also to increase the customer experience. A simple yes or no question about how they liked a product or an interaction with an employee can go a long way. It can also give your brand valuable insight into how you’re perceived in the marketplace and how your product is doing.
Trust In Your Associates
Large corporations struggle to scale initiatives and create customer-centric, authentic experiences. It’s easily one of the biggest challenges marketers face. But how can you create these experiences without them becoming cumbersome and resource-intense?
E-commerce brands have found success in small localized campaigns in a few markets their brand has a good base in. Through the power of social media, they can bring the masses to one spot and create an authentic experience that lets people behind the curtain of your brand. While not necessarily personalized, it does feel all-inclusive. Like everyone is welcome, and this is a safe place for customers and fans of your brand.
Brick-and-mortar brands can take advantage of their best resource that they already have deployed in all of their locations.
Your associates are on the ground, at the local level managing stores, stocking your product and interacting with your customers on a daily basis. Who knows them better? Put your trust in your employees to manage the customer experience. With a tablet to gather customer data and the autonomy to provide a one of a kind experience, your associates can quickly become your greatest weapon.
Your sales associates know your best clients, they know which ones are the VIPs, so empower them to provide not only better service, but the best service with positive emotions. It is this personalized service that takes away the big-brand mentality and creates the personalized boutique experience.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle marketers face when coming up with initiatives is getting buy-in from senior leadership. Logically it makes sense that a happier customer and a customer that has been given a great experience will increase revenue and brand loyalty, it’s just tough to prove.
Net Promoter Scores (NPS) have been created as perhaps the best measuring stick for brand equity. Typically a high net promoter score (NPS) translates to a brand having high customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
As a savvy marketer, you can utilize NPS as a jumping off point for selling leadership on the value of brand equity and customer personalization. Like all campaigns, you should evolve them as you acquire increased data sets, and be sure to utilize A/B testing for campaign optimization.
NPS coupled with other hard data is a great way to sell leadership on brand personalization by presenting them with irrefutable evidence that it works.
Great brands build relationships with their customers. They are continually striving to make the user experience better and have made it their mission to get to know their customers better at every opportunity.
Take Amazon for example. Their entire business model is based on trust. When you click on an order you trust that the reviews are accurate, the price will stay the same, and that the package will arrive at your door promptly. Meanwhile, Amazon takes note of what you’ve purchased and makes recommendations, as well as sending you progress reports and finally a follow-up email. They’re getting to know you better, but also making sure that you’re happy with your experience.
Spotify has revolutionized the music listening experience. It’s hard to believe that only a few short years ago the concept of music ownership consisted of purchasing individual albums. Now with a monthly subscription, you have access to a world of music. But it doesn’t stop there. Spotify has taken personalization to the maximum by recommending new music and introducing customers to artists similar to ones they like. They have fully embodied the idea that every customer action deserves a response. In this case, it comes in the form of music recommendation, and daily mix playlists.
Each of these brands, and many more know that growing their businesses and retaining their customers loyalty comes down to always striving to serve them better. They’ve made it their mission to get to know each user better at every opportunity and to then personalize the experience they create. While a good product is needed to get started, it’s the relationship that elevates a brand from good to great.