While your company may have many customers, no two customers wish to be treated the same way. It’s no longer enough to send the same marketing offers or product recommendations to all of your customers at once. The modern customer wants to feel valued as an individual and know that your brand can offer what he or she specifically wants and needs. Personalization is therefore a critical factor in a great customer experience.
Personalized customer experiences begin with understanding your customers better. By paying close attention to their research and purchasing habits; noting their preferences for specific products, services, and communication channels; and listening carefully to their feedback— collected through surveys, online listening tools, and through contact center data analysis—your company can tailor your products, services, and communications to the individual needs and tastes of both current and future customers.
Customers today simply expect personalization. According to a Salesforce study, 74% of customers want brands to offer personalized experiences. Even more specifically, PwC reports that 63% of customers expect personalization when communicating with customer service. These customers want to be recognized immediately when they contact a brand, for customer support. This means that an agent must have a complete view of the customer’s profile, purchasing history, and interaction history with the brand in order to offer truly personalized service. A contact center solution integrated with a CRM or ERP can equip an agent with the knowledge needed to meet this goal. This customer data can be used, for example, to offer quick resolutions to a customer service issue, support VIP customers who belong to a loyalty program, or make relevant upselling and cross-selling offers when appropriate.
Many customers also expect an omnichannel experience when interacting with brands—typically with a preference for specific channels. Contact centers must meet the challenge of personalizing every experience every time and on all channels, and provide a seamless experience. According to Zendesk, 87% of post-sales service employees affirm that customers have increased their use of digital channels during the current pandemic. However, tackling this challenge is well worth it, as Salesforce further reports that 82% of customers wish to resolve difficult issues by engaging with a single agent. By personalizing every customer service interaction, you can ensure that happy customers remain satisfied and assist unhappy customers quickly before their negative experiences affect other company departments and lead to customer attrition. According to the 2021 Achieving Customer Amazement report, 75% of consumers surveyed stated that they were more likely to be loyal to a company that delivers personalized customer experiences. Personalization is therefore a key brand differentiator, and customers take notice of the brands that are going the extra mile. If you can meet your customers where they are and offer them personalization at every step of the customer journey, you are on your way to winning their loyalty.
Personalization offers numerous benefits for your brand. Most notably, personalization makes your customers feel appreciated. They feel greater satisfaction, which in turns leads them to buy more and become loyal brand followers. According to the 2020 Gladly Customer Expectations report, 84% of customers spend more money with brands that offer personalized customer service. Offering personalization clearly motivates customers to buy more, driving increased revenue and brand success.
In addition, when your brand leverages all the customer data available—especially from a CRM or ERP—you can reinforce a customer-centric culture. Your employees will all be on the same page, using customer data to make specific recommendations or offer tailored support when customers contact your brand. Personalization essentially becomes a daily habit for your entire company, with everyone working toward the goal of offering great customer experiences. And when agents are armed with the data, they need to help customers, they will feel good about their own efficiency. Their work not only becomes easier but more satisfying, as customer satisfaction also grows in parallel.
Personalization can happen in many ways. First and foremost, always address your customers by name in every communication—both spoken and written. This is a first simple step to showing them that they count as individuals. When making outbound calls, personalization is key to convincing customers to purchase. Customers need to feel that they are in a true relationship with your brand and not just another number. Using knowledge of previous purchases, agents can describe products and services of interest using a friendly and approachable tone. The kind demeanor combined with detailed customer knowledge can lead a prospect or current customer to purchase from your brand.
As for customer service, always make an effort to listen to customers with empathy. Frustrated customers especially need to feel that agents understand them and are willing to help. When customers need support of any kind, make references to previous interactions or products and services that were purchased to show them that you remember who they are. This could be asking how they are enjoying something they bought or if a previous technical issue remains resolved. When customers navigate your website, you can use a pop-up chat window to ask them if they need any assistance. After every interaction, always follow up with customers to thank them for their time and let them know you are available to assist.
Your company can also use technology to offer greater personalization. As mentioned, a CRM or ERP can offer your agents the critical data needed to optimize each customer interaction. This can be especially important when communicating with high-risk customers who may abandon your brand as well as VIP customers who are major brand supporters. These customers may be moved to the front of a queue for faster service when needed. Agents can make real-time updates to keep all data current. Agents can also make more personalized outbound call campaigns by using lead data. The CRM also integrates real-time web leads in outbound call campaigns, allowing agents to target the strongest leads by offering the most relevant products and services.
Different kinds of AI technology also enable personalization. Smart pairing ensures that customers are paired intelligently with the most qualified agent available based on relational skills, ensuring more efficient and personalized service. Text-to-speech technology empowers customer autonomy, as voice bots are able to imitate the human voice to assist customers with simple tasks such as paying a bill or checking an account balance without agent help. Speech-to-text technology enables human speech to convert automatically to text. This permits your brand to retranscribe phone conversations between customers and agents and analyze customer emotions. The retranscription is then stored and archived in the CRM and can be consulted for quality management purposes.
To truly satisfy your customers, personalization is key. Offering customers tailor-made experiences shows them that they matter to your brand and will convince them to support you for years to come.
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