It’s long been established that personalisation is key to a well-rounded customer experience strategy. So, what is personalisation in CX, and how can you achieve it for your brand in a way that turns customers into loyal advocates?

Well, personalisation in CX isn’t just about using a customer’s name at the top of an email (though that helps). On a basic level, personalisation means designing your products, experience, and individual interactions to cater for your customers’ wants and needs.

For smaller organisations with only a handful of customers, that’s likely to be easier to achieve than for the larger businesses with a more diverse customer base, but that’s no reason to give up! In fact, with a whopping 91% of consumers saying that they are more likely to shop with a brand making a recommendation that’s personal to them, investing in personalisation in CX has never been a better idea!

Let’s look at some of the steps you can take to make personalising your experience work for your brand.

1.      Involve your customer

The best way to understand the needs of your customer is to ask. Making assumptions on what you think your customer might want or need can be a very dangerous and costly exercise. Instead, bring your customers along on the journey with you. Announce loudly and proudly that you want to give them a more tailored service that meets their needs, but that you can’t do it alone.

Ask for volunteers to help you form a customer forum. Empower your customer base to tell you their needs, thoughts, and their main motivations when visiting your brand.

Did you know that 83% of customers are willing to share their data to gain a more personalised experience?

Enable your customers to flexibly input feedback and give them options on how to help – such as in-depth surveys only sent to those volunteering, group feedback sessions, one-to-one interviews, or mystery shopping. Your customers want to help you improve, so make it as easy and convenient for them as possible. That way, they give you plenty of insight. Then – listen to that insight.

2.      Turn your insight into detailed customer personas

In order to personalise your experience, it’s crucial that you build out detailed customer personas, or ‘types’. For large organisations, it will be difficult to personalise to each individual customer without the use of AI or website analytics which can do so automatically. Don’t let that put you off – you can still group customers by similar personas and personalise to cater for each customer type.

If you have three main customer ‘types’, then you can create detailed records of their wants, needs, and motivations. You’ll find out what they love and what they find frustrating and use those details to bring your customers to life with your employees.

Whether those teams are helping to build a tech solution, or they are customer-facing service personnel talking to your customer base daily, it’s critical that all team members know who your customers are and what they want.

3.      Bring your personas to life

Giving your personas a name helps your team to visualise the customer type as a real person whom you can build training activities around. This allows your team to apply their learnings to their day-to-day work.

Let’s imagine Mike, the 40-year-old engineer who wants to spend as little time as possible shopping, knows what he needs, and wants to be taken directly to it. Every detail you build out in your customer persona starts to build a picture. Add in that Mike finds it most frustrating when he’s asked for irrelevant information at check out or made to type in his details twice for billing address and delivery address, and that picture builds further.

Now, instead of a faceless customer, your teams can picture more easily the real-life impact of the service they are delivering and the user experience they are designing for all of the Mikes. They can start to personalise elements to the customer persona of ‘Mike’ who in fact represents a percentage of your customer base who think and feel similarly.

4.      Where possible, give your customers choice

Even with detailed customer insights and comprehensive personas detailing your main customer desires, you won’t always be able to cater for everyone or get it right every time. What you can do, though, is offer the customer choices and empower them to personalise their own customer experience.

This is a strategy being employed by more and more online brands; offering options like swift guest checkout, account creation or the ability to convert guest checkout to an account later.

The option of having their browsing history stored to tailor their next shopping experience or emailed offers is particularly popular. A recent study shows that 64% of consumers are fine with having purchase history and preferences saved if it gains them a more personalised shopping experience.

Developing a strong self-service option (whether online or in-person) can be very powerful and is frequently associated with personalisation. Because, it often takes time and money to build a great self-service offering, it can be very tempting to lean heavily on that solution once it’s up and running to save on costs such as staff hiring, training, and even salary.

It’s extremely important to remember why you are moving to self-service. Is it to make your life easier as a business or to make your customers life easier? Maybe it’s both, and that’s fine. The key is to recognise that you still need to give your customers options if you want them to be satisfied.  

More and more shops are installing self-checkout but completely removing the staff-operated cash desks. Websites offer self-service by increasing the amount of information available or providing chatbots. They then think it’s okay to take away their phone number or email addresses, but customers will often still want the option of reaching out for help. This leads to an increase in consumer frustration, makes the journey one size fits all, and actually creates an accidental lack of personalisation in CX as a whole.

Whichever way you plan to personalise your service, remember that as long as you keep your customers at the centre of all your decisions and keep checking back to their objectives, you’ll be on the right track!

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