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The Importance of Personalizing the Customer Experience

Personalization is more than just a trend – it’s becoming an expectation. Is your CX strategy aligned with what customers are really looking for in today’s customization-centered landscape? Having the right strategy in place – and the right leaders to implement it – is crucial to ensure your brand continues to grow and succeed in a competitive landscape.

 

The Importance of Personalization

Today’s customers are growing accustomed to being able to customize or personalize quite a bit of the world they live in. They want to feel special, like a VIP, or, more simply, like they’re truly valued as unique individuals, not just faceless transactions. As personalization becomes more common in day-to-day life, the rewards will grow for the companies that incorporate it – and so will the penalties for those that don’t.

 

Consider, for instance, the following statistics, courtesy of research from McKinsey:

  • 80% of customers want customization from retailers.
  • A positive customer experience yields 20% higher customer-satisfaction rates, a 10 to 15% boost in sales-conversion rates, as well as an increase in employee engagement of 20 to 30%.
  • 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen.
  • Companies that grow faster drive 40% more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts.

 

Personalization is big and getting bigger, especially with the advent of cutting-edge technology solutions, including AI-driven solutions and advanced data analytics, that can make customizing the customer experience easier than ever.

 

Intriguingly, research from Zendesk reveals something that might take some marketers by surprise: customers are less worried about their privacy when it comes to collecting data that is specifically used to personalize an experience. In fact, 71% of customers said they expect companies to collaborate internally – i.e., through sharing data on previous interactions and preferences – so they, the customers, don’t have to “repeat themselves.” This could mean personalized recommendation algorithms, information on past purchases or preferences for customer service, or preferred methods of contact. While customers still don’t love the idea of having their data sold outside the company, they almost expect it to be shared within a given company to make their experiences smoother.

 

Strategies for Personalization

 When determining how to better personalize your brand’s CX, consider looking at two interconnected elements: strategies for data collection, and strategies for what to do with that data once you have it.

 

Data collection is something that has become a little more challenging, though not insurmountably so. Third-party cookies, which allow companies to track user behavior across all browsing (rather than just on their own websites), have largely been phased out. As a result, more brands are investing in first-party data collection strategies.

 

As mentioned above, customers are increasingly likely to provide their data and not stress about it when it’s being used for customization. Consider opt-in solutions that put the customer in control: things like customer profiles, account settings and preference centers, direct surveys soliciting information, and so on. Of course, these also should have opt out options too. This approach allows customers to have more say over what data you get – and how it’s used – while making them feel like you value both their preferences and their privacy.

 

Once you have that data, it’s time to consider how to analyze and apply it to improve your CX approach. This could include a wide variety of uses, including but certainly not limited to:

  • Personalized communications, ranging from something as simple as using customers’ names to something more complex like sending tailored communications based on their areas of interest
  • Personalized recommendations, based on previous shopping behavior
  • Targeted communications and segmentation using algorithms, AI, and/or predictive analytics
  • Omnichannel, streamlined customer service options
  • Personalized rewards or loyalty programs
  • Exclusive offers or VIP experiences

 

The key to successfully using customer data for personalized CX is to find to provide a thoughtful, seamless experience without crossing the line into techniques that risk feeling invasive.

 

Personalization is a key element to ensure your CX strategy stands out from the crowd in a positive, memorable way. Whether you’re looking to attract new customers or retain the ones you have, an exceptional customer experience builds brand recognition and loyalty. Blue Rock Search is here to advise CX leaders and help you ensure that you have the right executives in place to leverage top CX technologies and strategies and lead your organization to lasting success.

 

By Dawn Russell

 

About the Author

As Managing Director and CX Executive Search Practice Leader for Blue Rock, Dawn brings her Social Talent Black Belt skills and deep analytic abilities to bear, developing quality talent pipelines for a variety of diverse industries focused on Customer Experience. Dawn is the only Managing Director at Blue Rock Search that is equally knowledgeable in three of our five specialties, including Customer Experience, Franchise, and Human Resources.

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