Is your Service a ‘Personal’ or ‘Personalized’ Customer Experience?


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Is there a difference between a Personal and Personalized Service Experience for the customer?

Most companies use the word personalized when delivering a service experience and instead end up giving a personal service experience. It seems like nit-picking between the meanings of the two words. But their impact on service and the business goes way beyond those four additional letters; ‘ized’. 

I was at the bank recently. Fourth in queue to talk to the service rep, I waited my turn patiently, while listening in on her conversation with the other customers.

She spoke with undivided attention to each customer. Attentive, courteous, smiling, empathetic when required; single-mindedly dedicated to that one customer at a time. All 3 customers left with smiles. When it was my turn, I got the same individual treatment. It felt great to receive such a personal experience at the bank. But I couldn’t get what I came for, though she promised to get back to me with a resolution as soon as she could. I too left with a smile.

As I walked back to my car I realized that all three in the queue before me had got the same response that I had. She could not resolve our queries then and there, and would have to get back to us later. We all had different queries, with the same off-the-rack send off. We’d all walked away happy because of how nice the lady was to us. But once back home or at the office, we’d realize that not much was accomplished by the visit. That would take some of the sheen off the lady’s niceness.

We all had got a great personal experience, but it wasn’t personalized (or customized, as some people like to call it). It is that crucial difference between the experience the company delivers, against the experience the customer desires.

Companies still tend to confuse the delivery of a personal experience with the assumption that they have personalized the experience for the customer. It isn’t too late to wake up to the error and correct it. Not only is there a difference between these two kinds of experiences, the results of both these experiences is hugely different.

A personal experience makes a customer momentarily happy.
A personalized experience develops a loyal customer.

It’s your choice to go that extra mile.


Cartoon Image: courtesy @TomFishburne,

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Sunil Panikker
Sunil Panikker is a business consultant specializing in customer service, operations and business strategy. He has honed his expertise over 30 years of experience, working in senior management positions, with companies having global footprints, and responsibilities that have been cross-functional & multi-locational. His blog shares the experience and expertise assimilated from managing customer experience across multiple diverse industries.


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