3 Ways to Personalize the Customer Experience Without Getting Too Personal

3 Ways to Personalize the Customer Experience Without Getting Too Personal image personalizedcustomerexperiencepersonalizedcustomerexperienceIn using technology and its big or little data to create a more personalized customer experience, one of the key things that brands and organizations must always remember is that, when it comes to collecting and utilizing customer information, it isn’t just business, it’s personal.

Consumers are becoming increasingly more comfortable with providing personal information for an improved customer experience, and in fact, most desire that personal touch. In the Cisco Customer Experience Report which surveyed more than 1,500 consumers across 10 countries:

  • 49% said they would allow retailers to collect personal shopping data in exchange for a more personalized customer service experience.
  • 54% are comfortable with retailers storing their purchase history in exchange for increased personalized value.
  • 65% said they are comfortable receiving mobile retail advice based on their current location as detected through their mobile device.

But, in providing more detailed personal information, there comes with it an increasing level of implied trust between the customer and the brand that the information will remain “just between friends.” In the same Cisco Customer Experience Report, 69% of U.S. customers said they would be willing to give their bank more personal information if it meant they could receive more personalized services – but 57% said they don’t want their bank to share any of the personal information they provide with any other organization, even if it would improve service for others.

Beyond who can view and use customer information, the second line drawn is a little less defined, but no less important. Consumers desire a customized experience, but not to the point of being creepy. There is such a thing as too much information, and brands and organizations must be cautiously selective on creating a Goldilocks level of personalization that keeps customers happy and comfortable.

Here are three initial ways to successfully begin personalizing the customer experience without getting too personal:

1. Call the Customer by Name: Using a person’s name is one of the biggest little things a brand can do to improve the customer experience. While incorporating a customer’s name into the customer experience may seem simple, there is an art to its use that includes correct usage, correct spelling, pronunciation, not using it too much and never asking the customer to repeat it. What’s in a name? Much more than you think when it comes to personalizing the customer experience.

2. Deliver Custom Content: If you know what your customers are searching for, give it to them; don’t make them hunt. As Gartner analyst Johan Jacobs told me at a recent Gartner Customer 360 Summit, you can have the best content in the world, but if your customers can’t find it, it doesn’t matter. Whether its product or service related content based on past or recent purchases, or customer service content based on frequently asked questions or search analytics, personalized content is proven to improve the customer experience. According to a recent Customer Content Council study:

  • 90% of consumers find custom content useful.
  • 78% believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them.
  • and 61% of people feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are more likely to buy from that company. Content is king, especially when its customized.

3. Ask the Right Questions: Increase the completion rate of customer surveys, as well as customer satisfaction, by personalizing feedback requests not just with the customers’ name, but by tailoring the questions to match the individual customer. Consumers rapidly lose motivation for completing surveys with numerous questions, when only some or a few of the questions matter to them. Personalizing feedback requests not only shows the customer that you care about what matters to them, but following up and letting the customer know how your brand or organization took action, matters even more.

While your organization may now have access to an incredible amount of customer data and even more ideas for its use, the best success stories come from those brands who use the information wisely, showing restraint and respect for their customers’ information by improving the customer experience through personalization, without ever making an experience far too personal. Introduce personalization through customer data in small meaningful ways, building upon your customers’ trust, comfort levels and expectations over time.

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