In this article:
- What exactly makes an experience personal?
- Why a personalized experience is so important
- What are the benefits of personalization?
- 4 steps to build a better ecosystem
- Examples of personalization in action
- Final thoughts on how to personalize customer experience
In today’s hyper-competitive world, there’s no reason not to provide a personalized customer experience to the people buying your products or using your services. The days when people went with whichever brand was closest or least expensive are over. People now want to know the story of a brand and they want to be treated as unique individuals.
For businesses, this means that it’s never been more vital to understand just who your customers are. Because when you do, you can create experiences for them that other companies can’t. As you’ll see, that personalization inspires trust and loyalty and reduces churn.
Keep reading to learn more about personalizing CX and then download our 2022 CX report. We talked to thousands of consumers to see what they expect, how they prefer to engage with businesses, and what you can do to meet them where they are.
What exactly makes an experience personal?
Think about customer experience as the umbrella that you hold over your customers’ heads. You’re bringing them close, you’re giving them something they need, and you’re showing them that you care.
When put into practice, customer experience encompasses your products, messaging, support, and marketing efforts directed at a customer.
Back in the day, this experience was pretty one-size-fits-all; everyone got the same thing.
Today, that won’t cut it.
While you may have the best product in your industry, your customers won’t feel that you’re treating them as an individual with a standardized approach.
Luckily, recognizing and reaching your customers on their terms is easier than ever before. You can start by reaching them on their favorite channels, including:
Within each of those channels, you can send them targeted marketing and support messages based on their profile. That means that they’ll only see what they want to see.
And you can move them across channels as needed. For example, if one of your chatbots has been helping a client with an order issue and the customer wants more information, you’ll be able to seamlessly connect them with a live support expert on a phone or video call.
Let’s go back to the idea of your company as an umbrella. A personalized customer experience isn’t the generic black umbrella used to block rain. Sure, it can be that kind of umbrella, but it can also be a fashionable parasol elegantly designed to accent someone’s personal style. For someone else, it can be the little umbrella in a tropical drink - the perfect finishing touch on something they’ve been waiting for.
A great CX is a combination of the emotional and the logical. By knowing your customers better and delivering what they want, you’re meeting their needs and making them feel valued.
Why a personalized experience is so important
As consumers have more and more choices about where they spend their money, you have to work harder to keep or grow your share of the market. But the good news is that people will tell you what they want and how they want it. That gives you the chance to make their lives easier.
By making CX unique, you’re showing customers that you aren’t painting them with a broad brush.
This is important because statistics show that even within a single customer base, CX differs based on location and even age. So having these unique experiences built out and ready to implement will help them be more engaged. Preparing ahead of time will help you now and in the future because even if people aren’t taking full advantage of omnichannel communication options yet, they still want them.
What are the benefits of personalization?
Evidence shows that people are switching to companies that offer better personalization.
- Personalization builds trust. 87% of people said that they won’t buy from a company that they don’t trust. Creating a personalized experience for your customers is one very important part of building a high-trust relationship.
- Making each experience unique keeps customers engaged. It’s easy for someone to delete an email if it doesn’t match what they’re looking for. But if you use the data you’ve gathered on someone’s browsing and shopping habits, it’s much harder for them to ignore something that they’ve already had their eyes on. Personalized customer interactions are key for engagement.
- A personalized CX improves loyalty, increases sales, and reduces churn. Solving a client’s problems will keep them coming back. When you build out journeys that are tailor-made, there will be no reason for your clients to even consider other options.
- Personalizing creates real brand differentiation. If you want to be the brand that’s everything to everyone, making unique profiles and journeys is the way to do it and will make you stand out as a result.
4 steps to build a better ecosystem
To get started, you need to collect and interpret data about your customers. If you already have that data, the next step is to create profiles and segments that inform the customer journey.
- Know what your customers want and expect
The best way to learn what your customers want is to ask them. Give them choices and/or listen to what they want that you do and don’t offer to find ways to meet (and exceed) their expectations.
2. Segment your existing customers into unique journeys
Build individual customer experiences based on demographics and patterns (while not overgeneralizing). Make sure that the design process doesn’t stand in the way of actually managing and putting that data to work.
3. Create or reinforce a strategy to deliver on customer expectations
If parts of your strategy are already working, that’s great! You can build out new or improved segments around what’s already there, including marketing materials, customer support, and your sales process.
It’s a good idea to think about personalizing profiles and building strategies as a practice and not as a series of math problems with only one answer. People will change and grow — so should the CX you provide them.
4. Implement this new and improved strategy
Once you begin engaging with your customers on their favorite channels and sending them marketing materials based on their preferences, you’ll start to see what’s working and what isn’t.
At this point, you should be using an omnichannel strategy, if possible. This will allow you to move conversations across platforms and interact with your clients on their own terms.
This means having these channels working together:
- Knowledge bases and self-service support resources
- Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and Viber
- Calls and video chats
Examples of personalization in action
Your CX will look different than anyone else’s, but here are a few examples of different ways to build unique experiences using technology and the knowledge you have about your customers.
Nissan uses predictive recommendations to boost sales
After noticing a breakdown in traditional communication channels, Nissan started looking for new ways to keep its customers engaged. Taking advantage of the huge growth of smartphones and mobile messaging, Nissan built a new strategy.
They focused on creating Rich SMS campaigns based on the information they already had about their clients. These included innovations, personalized promotions, and support. Nissan then empowered individual dealerships to use the system to stay close to their customers, too. By sending individualized messages about needed services and specials, the dealerships kept lines of communication open with their customers.
Since beginning the program, they’ve moved toward further personalization, including using predictive marketing materials designed to anticipate what their customers are searching for.
Telekom Deutschland lets people know about new programs and benefits
After creating a new environmental program, Telekom Deutschland started searching for ways to increase awareness of the program while showing people how it could benefit them individually. They decided to build a hyper-personalized customer experience using one-of-a-kind videos.
They started by focusing on unique profiles as well as shopping and browsing habits. After analyzing these profiles, they started sending personalized videos directly to these customers. They saw sales double compared to standard SMS campaigns, and these videos boasted an impressive 45% open and watch rate.
Support across channels
Companies across the globe use an omnichannel strategy to improve customer experience. One of the biggest and most compelling advantages of an omnichannel approach is how it eliminates the need for customers to re-explain their problems to new support agents as they move between channels.
Personalization in customer service bridges the gaps by sharing information about the steps a customer has already taken (including the answers to the questions your chatbots have already asked). New advances in technology allow for faster, more accurate results.
Personalized customer experience examples
- Digital and brick-and-mortar connections: Keep your customers informed about what’s available in-store and online so they have the option to order how they want. This takes your retail experience to the next level.
- Personalized banking and finance recommendations on loans, credit cards, and other financial products: With the data you have, it’s possible to provide financial solutions to your customers that they might otherwise not have known about. Sinch helped Nets develop an intuitive and fast system for detecting fraud using two-way SMS.
- Motor vehicle sales, service, and experiences: From buying a new car to receiving text messages about appointments, sweepstakes, new car experiences, or the status of repairs, there are many ways that a dealership can create a unique CX — on the channels customers already use.
- Personalized vacation recommendations: For travel agents and travel companies, it’s vital to pitch the right vacation to the right customers. While a trip to Japan might sound great to most people, the details are what will lead to a sale. Some people want to hike and explore Japan’s countryside while others want to immerse themselves in the country’s biggest cities. A personalized CX will make sure the right people get the right package.
Final thoughts on how to personalize customer experience
Send unique MMS: Rich messages have some of the best open and conversion rates of any form of messaging. When you create exciting and wholly new messages for your customers, you’ll see the results quickly.
Get a great ROI on text message marketing: For SMBs especially, using text messaging to differentiate yourself from competitors can be a true game-changer. 90% of people want to communicate with businesses using texts, so start early to create loyal and happy customers.
Explore more CX ideas for mobile engagement: When’s the last time you thought about whether or not you’re making a positive impact when a customer opens a message from your company? Or have you held back from rich messaging campaigns because you haven’t been sure of what was possible? There are countless unique ways to engage your customers on their preferred channels — your imagination’s the limit!
Sinch has helped companies around the world improve their operations and personalized customer experience software in many ways. If you’re looking to connect communication channels to segment, engage, and support your customer base more effectively, we can make it happen.
From product recommendations to fast, intelligent AI chatbots or omnichannel support that’ll keep your customers coming back, now is the time to start taking those first steps toward personalization. The evidence shows that unique journeys drive conversions. Your bottom line and your customers will thank you.