Having a personalisation strategy is practically mandatory these days if you want to be good at CX. And there are countless opportunities and practices to introduce personalisation to your business to change and improve customer experience. Customers have grown to expect and value personalisation, but only to a point. The growing problem is that some companies can be a little overzealous in the way they approach personalisation, ultimately alienating their customer base. Sending congratulatory marketing messages about a new baby or impending nuptials, for example, can set off red flags for your customers who are increasingly concerned about data privacy and protection. At the same time, when used appropriately, personalisation is an essential tool to improve customer loyalty and retention and decrease levels of effort. When it comes to personalisation, look for opportunities to bring value to the customer, not just introducing personalisation for personalisation’s sake.
Below we discuss how to strategically use personalisation as a part of your CX strategy.
Strike a balance
While personalisation is expected and valued by customers, there is a fine line between personalisation and intrusiveness or creepiness when it comes to using customer data. More personalisation isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially if it brings into question why you are using certain elements of customer data. This is especially true for marketing strategies which customers will shy away from if they begin to question how particular personal information was obtained in the first place. Customers don’t necessarily realise when they have consented to share particular data with you, so many end up being surprised to see certain targeted ads or AI-driven content.
Customers want personalisation, but they want it to be seamless and invisible. It isn’t effective to tell the customer everything you know about them in a marketing message or service chat. Just because you have their first name, birthday, job description, and how many kids they have, doesn’t mean you need to include this in every interaction. That kind of explicit or overt personalisation can be offputting. Use personalisation to make customers’ lives easier, but shy away from encroaching on their privacy or seeming like you’re watching them.
Prioritise reducing effort
Customer effort score (CES) is a known proxy for customer loyalty. If a customer has to jump through hoops to make a purchase with your business, they won’t be returning. The same applies across all touchpoints in your business. If you can use the data you have on them to make their lives easier, you should absolutely personalise their experiences so they can interact with you more quickly and efficiently. The integration of metadata obtained from customers over time into your various systems can be an essential tool to reduce customer effort. This is an area in which you can use personalisation to excel at CX.
CX surveys are a prime example of this. When surveying your customers the worst thing you can do is ask them for the information you already have. Personal information, contact details, spending habits, location data, etc. are all details you would have accrued on your customer from them signing up with you and frequenting your business. Don’t make your customers go through the motions of filling in the information you already have on them. This costs them effort and they won’t respond if it’s going to take them forever. Integrate all the meta-data you have to serve your analysis of their feedback. This is information they have provided you with and they won’t mind you using it to improve your business practices. The same goes for integrating with your customer service processes or your contact centre. Your contact centre teams should have all of the customer’s data and information on past purchase and interaction history to hand as soon as they begin a new interaction with a customer.
Collect the right data
Only collect customer information that is relevant to your business and specific experiences that your customer can draw value from. Do you need to know if your customer is a dog or cat owner? While asking for certain information can be helpful for some interactions, make sure it’s appropriate to ask for the data. A beauty brand, for example, would benefit from knowing a customer’s skin type or tone – the customer will value personalised product recommendations that suit their needs. That same company won’t necessarily need to know a customer’s marital status as it won’t likely be pertinent to a customer buying makeup.
You don’t need to know everything about your customers to understand them. By using the information you have aggregated about them to improve their experiences, you’re helping them rather than being intrusive. Use open-ended questions in your survey combined with NLP-aided analysis to learn about their individual needs and desires and respond accordingly with care and relevant promotions in an authentic way.