Imagine a world where every interaction you have with a brand—no matter whether it's online, an email, a text, or an in-store experience—is tailored just for you, according to your likes and your preferences. That might sound far-off, but this personalized customer service is coming fast.
Cutting-edge brands are already heading in this direction by delivering more accurate, relevant, and personalized interactions online and in-store. The end result is the ability to give each customer a voice and to create unique customer experiences as part of a customized journey to increase engagement and drive sales.
Most companies, however, are still struggling to break through all the noise and to make a meaningful connection with their customers. A recent study found a giant disconnect between how well businesses think they are marketing and customers' actual experience. Moreover, though 90% of marketers agree that personalizing the customer experience is critical to their success, four out of five consumers believe that the brands they interact with do not understand them as individuals.
Here are the five most common mistakes to avoid when trying to build personalized customer experiences.
1. Not capturing the voice of the customer
In the past, marketers had to build broad categories to create customer segments for campaigns. Today, the rapid growth of customer interaction data and advanced analytics converge to make personalized marketing a reality. And marketers are taking personalization even further by delivering customer communications that take into account real-time behavior, interests, and preferences.
To deliver this level of personalization, businesses must understand their customers and discover their unique set of likes, dislikes, and preferences. A smart company will spend time and energy to find out who the customer is as an individual and harness that knowledge to serve the customer better.
2. Breaking down company barriers that inhibit customer experience
One of the biggest roadblocks in creating personalized customer experience is the experience maze created by the various silos that exist within a company. Only 34% of marketers said they do a good job of linking their online and offline customer experiences, according to a recent study. The customer doesn't care about the divisions that exist within a company. Rather, he or she sees the company as one single entity. Companies need to make sure all divisions are working in synchronicity to serve the customer.
3. Not empowering employees at the moment of engagement with customers
Businesses must have complete visibility into every process, platform, and customer touchpoint, so customers' intent, likes, and preferences are visible to all stakeholders throughout customers' entire journey. By making customer insights completely transparent to all company divisions, a business can empower its associates by letting them access the information about customers when it matters most—at the moment of engagement. That is where the magic happens during customer experiences!
4. Forgetting it's not the quantity of engagements that's important but the quality
Many companies are letting automated systems push out messages, but they aren't tailoring the messages to the customer, creating a massive blind spot for the company and an email headache for the customer. These automated systems are transactional in nature and focus on the sale or an offer, not on the customer.
Businesses deploying this tactic end up playing the conversion game, where they push out more and more messages to try to achieve more and more sales. That tactic may appear to work for a while, but it won't take long to reach the point of diminishing returns. The lack of authenticity ends up turning off customers. Consumers see right through these tactics and demand more tailored interactions to catch their attention and their wallets.
5. Not increasing the lifetime value of the customer
Everyone loves a good deal. Creating tailored discounts according to customers' needs and preferences is a great way to increase sales. By tailoring the discounts to individual customers on products in which they have interest, companies can build trust with the customer and increase the bottom line.
Brands offering personalization will outperform those who don't by more than 15% by 2018, according to Gartner. Brands must compete on customer experience—or risk losing out to competitors.
It's no mystery that people love to feel special. They want to feel like a brand sincerely cares about their shopping behaviors, likes, and dislikes. Being remembered makes people feel good, which in turn builds long-lasting relationships.
Brands have a unique opportunity to engage and serve their customers like never before. By personalizing each interaction, engaging with customers at every touchpoint, and understanding customers as individuals, brands can drive customer loyalty.