Customer Experience specialist Ian Golding, author of new book Customer What: The Honest and Practical Guide to Customer Experience, writes for Customer Experience Magazine, offering his expert insight to help businesses improve their CX offering.
To ask Ian a question on how to boost the Customer Experience provided by YOUR business, please email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best questions will be featured in future instalments…
‘What are some simple techniques for brands to engage with customers that makes the interaction feel personal and not ‘cookie cutter?’
What a great question. Personalisation has been a hot topic for a number of years now – both in terms of digital and human interaction. Whilst it is possible for extremely clever techno genii to make it feel that apps, websites, and other digital gadgetry actually know who we are and what we want, it is far more difficult to enable consistently personal and personable human interactions.
The fundamental reason for this is that for an interaction to ‘feel personal’, then it is essential to enable the human on either side of the interaction to behave in a manner appropriate for the interaction. Every exchange with a customer is different. If we ‘tell’ employees to conduct these exchanges in a specific, scripted, cookie cutter manner, then the exchange will not feel personal. We would never dream of ordering customers to speak back to us in a scripted manner, so why should we expect the same from employees.
As a result, if brands want to engage with customers to make interactions feel personal, they MUST allow their employees to THINK and ACT in the interests of the customer – every time! Just this morning, I bought my breakfast at a Pret a Manger in London. I was greeted with a pretty standard “good morning” – I would not have expected more.
However, the server calculated my bill incorrectly, and undercharged me. When he realised his mistake, I offered to pay the balance with cash.
“No problem sir – it was my mistake, have that on us,” he said.
That made the entire exchange feel very personal. This is what Pret a Manger empower their people to do. This is what so many brands do not trust their people to do.
To make CX personal, brands must trust their employees to do the right thing for the customer.