Getting Personal: Know More Than a Customer’s Name

Despite access to more data than ever before, brands still don’t fully understand what motivates customers.

Customer Experience (CX) is now an established framework that, if managed correctly, can drive fierce loyalty and establish an unbeatable competitive advantage when it comes to developing a deep understanding of the expectations and perceptions of customers.

Over the past year, our experts have noticed customers talking about their desire for personalisation in a much broader way. We found that while customers worldwide appreciate personalised experiences along all points of their journey, some countries prioritise one type over another.

This reinforces the importance that there isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to personalisation. Brands must delve into their customer data to fully understand their customers’ needs and expectations to ensure they are providing them with an accurate personalised service.

In our 2017 Global CX Trends report, we’ve dug deep to determine how consumers and brands prioritise different aspects of personalisation. A lot of brands around the world have used data to send targeted messaging to customers across a variety of platforms, but research has shown that consumers are looking for the next level of personalisation and if brands can get it right, they’ve got the golden ticket to satisfied, reassured and most importantly, loyal customers.

The Three-Types of Personalisation

The three key pillars of personalisation that have come out of the report are support, purchase, and advertising. Interestingly, customers in every country ranked personalised support as their first priority.

Personalised support can be defined as when customers reach out for help. No matter how a customer reaches out to a brand, they already know who that customer is and what they have purchased. In particular, consumers want service companies to know their history so they don’t have to retell the same story to each successive employee they encounter.

In North America and the United Kingdom, customers ranked personalised support higher than the average (45 percent) at 54 and 53 percent, respectively.  Personalisation of this nature will not only improve the overall user experience, but will result in the customer getting the information they need in a faster and more streamlined manner.

Following support personalisation, customers ranked purchase personalisation as a key contributing factor to brand loyalty. Customers expect brands to know them and their needs, as well as offer expertise in what they are selling and make helpful recommendations.

This isn’t just a simple case of upselling products at the point of purchase, but understanding the reasoning behind the product purchase and assessing what will aid the customer in their journey.

This is of particular interest to Spanish customers, who ranked purchase personalisation at 41 percdent, compared to the global average of 35 percent. That said, customers from across the globe want e-commerce sites and in-person sales associates to know who they are and offer the relevant assistance.

Companies who can get this right can expect to reap the rewards. Research suggests that if consumers enjoy personalised interactions, they are happy to purchase more when they feel those experiences provide real value.

Finally, advertising using personal marketing messages that include being addressed by name and offers relating to suitable products is probably the most recognised form of customer personalisation, but surprisingly it was voted the least important globally at just 20 percent.

Companies such as Channel 4 have taken advertising personalisation to a new level by personalising adverts with viewers’ names as they watch content through the broadcaster’s video-on-demand service. Channel 4 has described this service as ‘an immensely powerful marketing tool’, however in the UK, only 17 percent of people thought personal marketing messages were effective.

The Insights

The key insights from the report indicate that operation leaders tend to understand personalised experiences in the support and purchase departments as they fall within their areas of responsibility.

Marketers on the other hand often associate personalised experiences with well-targeted advertising. For consumers, it’s about the total journey. The well-targeted advert may drive the traffic to a brand and get customers thinking about a product, but if the support and knowledge from staff isn’t there to make consumers feel safe and reassured, the result can be detrimental.

With the majority of organisations now reporting marketing as the ‘owner’ of the customer experience, it’s particularly important for these leaders to understand and support personalisation in a much more comprehensive way.

The Guide to Getting Personalisation Right

  • The heart of any company is its employees. To ensure they are giving your customers the best possible service, they need to be motivated and feel empowered. Make sure each individual has the skills and training they need to offer the best service possible. Encourage employees to share their experiences so they can learn from one another. As Benjamin Franklin once said: “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
  • Having the right people on the front lines with the right attitude sounds obvious but it can make an astounding difference to what customers think of your brand. All it takes is one disgruntled customer to have a conversation with one not-so-helpful employee and you’ve lost a customer for life. What’s more, news of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good customer experience*, so employees need to get it right every time.
  • Gathering quality customer experience data can also make a massive difference to how brands communicate with their customers. If brands have the right software in place to capture feedback and insights along every point of a customer journey, then they’ll be well on the way to offering targeted personalised support which will enhance the overall user experience.

About Author

James Bolle VP Head of Client Services EMEA

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