As the research states, more than 70% of people expect personalized service, and more than 75% of them become discouraged if don’t find it. The same study shows that customer willingness to make additional purchases or recommendations of the business that provides personalized service is way higher than it is for businesses that don’t do so - 78% for each recommendation and additional buy.
So, as we can see, personalized customer service influences customer loyalty, satisfaction, and the possibility of brand advocacy increasing. To say more, it also boosts conversion rates, and customer satisfaction and guarantees an absolutely new level of personalized experience.
Ages when spam advertising was at least permissible, and classic customer hooking strategies such as “one-time offer” or “only today” have been working, have ended. Now every client understands his value and, thanks to the market’s overload and the strongest competition in history, can choose the seller or service provider without any inconveniences or limits. You can’t provide personalized service or have no willingness to do that? OK, the potential customers go further to seek a more suitable enterprise. And it is also not a secret that it is a few times more expensive to acquire a new client than to keep an existing one, and here we have to keep in mind that personalized customer service is the best assistant in establishing customer retention and getting loyal customers.
Do you need something else as an argument to prove that customer service personalization has no alternative and you ought to allocate your time and effort to implement this approach in your business? We can bet that all that has been said above is more than enough, and it is time to get closer to the topic.
Thus, how to furnish a personalized customer experience? What is personalization, exactly? What are tailored customer experience and custom customer service?
This and many more things are uncovered in this post - just read further.
Personalized customer service: definition
Personalized customer service is the service that meets customer needs and expectations, such as products, website navigation tips, convenient reminders, preferred communication channels operating, manuals and training for first-time purchased products, targeted advertising, and fortunate follow-ups.
Furthermore, both businesses and buyers state that they feel the rising importance of more personalized customer service, as it is more enjoyable for both parties - while one gets an adorable experience, another achieves more sales, loyalty, and cost savings.
Companies provide personalized service by collecting and analyzing customer data, such as customer interactions, journeys, wishes, feedback, and so on. This info is used for making the service more personalized in the future.
Why are people so keen on personalized service?
Even if customers don’t seem to be totally satisfied with sharing their personal data, more and more people are ready to do so to get better service. Firstly, anyone comprehends that is the only way to furnish personalized customer service. Secondly, the market’s expectations of service quality grow, and their fulfillment is impossible without proper personalization. Finally, people are already prepared to give more of their data to businesses, if it brings awaited outcome instead.
As you can see, here lies the direct dependence between customers’ willingness to get better service and their readiness to share more personal information. On the contrary, customers think that they have to get something for the data they give to the enterprise, and this is an absolute truth. If someone wants to make an additional step toward you, then you are ought to do the same.
To close this paragraph, let’s say that personalized service is loved because of the comfort and speed that it offers - you don’t have to surf for something for days, you get your personal offers in time, and reminders wait for you in the mailbox every time when it is needed. Personalized service is the key tool to covering all customer needs, and isn’t it the goal that has been sought for years?
Main benefits of providing personalized service
Speed up service providing
As personalized service is based on gathering information from customers, it allows the sales team to keep all needed data at hand. Previous interactions, purchase histories, refunds, support tickets, preferred digital channels, and so on - these factors point to customer preferences and expectations of the service for the future. When there is no trouble with getting this info, service providing becomes much quicker and easier, as well as more qualitative - you don’t need to uncover the customer’s personality anymore.
Fit customer’s anticipations
Every year we measure a grown interest in more personalized service. This tendency isn’t going to stop, what’s more, it holds its pace and we have no arguments to state that something is going to change. Let well alone enough - a great saying, that describes why customers won’t stop demanding more and more personalized service. In up-to-date research, we see such numbers as scary 66% of clients who want companies to take into account clients’ wishes and expectations, and more than 50% of buyers who want to get all offers personalized.
As we have already mentioned, personalization in customer service saves the customer time, brings them positive emotions, reduces customer effort, and just establishes so awaited things as customer-oriented service, when customers don’t ought to allocate their valuable time to connect with a company. These facts easily explain why personalized customer service has become so popular and significant in the market.
Constructs customer loyalty and brand advocacy
The only argument we need to stop discussing the actuality of this statement is that almost half of customers would make another buy after getting personalized customer service. Another reason for implementing personalized customer service is that more than 70% of people are more willing to recommend a business if it provides personalized customer service. We have already stated that it costs much more to acquire a new client than to hold an existing customer. Yes, the five-times-more rule isn’t universally applicable and it mostly works for e-commerce and classic selling tactics, but the key factor is that it is still more expensive. Contrastively, building a strong community may bring you higher customer lifetime cycle rates and customer lifetime value - the metrics, that point to the overall amount of money you can earn by making your clients satisfied with your service. And the truth is that customers would love the service if you have personalized it.
Establish trustful relations
Another key to customer loyalty is strong and warm relations between business and customer. Trust can be built in two ways: by showing your care for the customer’s time, comfort, and satisfaction, and by offering personalized service. Why? Just because when you personalize what you do, people know that you spend time and effort to upgrade the product or service to the stage where it will suit the customer better. As a consequence, buyers are pleased and trust you, because you show your awareness of their feelings and comfort. As the research shows, more than 80% of customers choose trust as one of the main factors that influence their purchase decision, and 40% say that they would never buy from an untrustworthy enterprise.
Push customers to unplanned buys
As another Forbes research states, almost half of the buyers make unplanned purchases because of personalized recommendations or advertisements that are provided by the company. This can be done as an up-sell tactic, even cross-sell, or just during the client’s surfing through the firm’s website. Thanks to data collection and analysis, companies can predict what goods and services clients need, even if customers don’t feel this need at this moment. As the result, they understand this necessity exactly at the moment when product recommendations are shown. It’s a win-win combination, as you get another sale, and the client gets really needed product, so there is no chance to say that it is an unfair sales trick.
Another study pointed out that almost 80% of customers take personalization as the indicator of a business’s care for them, and their value and importance for the enterprise. As you could guess, customers who believe that you care about them can bring much higher outcomes than if they think you care only about sales rates and conversions. Individual customers love to be taken as alive individuals with needs, wishes, and feelings, not just as wallets.
Get more opportunities to overcome competitors
When the market is overloaded by both demand and supply, there is no opportunity for utilizing old marketing strategies and approaches, especially if we talk about the one-suits-all approach. When people have the option of choosing a retailer, they will never choose the one who shows no awareness of their thoughts and requirements. On the contrary, personalized marketing helps to overplay competitors by coming up with offers that suit the person the most.
Tips and tricks to personalize your service
Use names wherever possible
The simplest way to personalize service is to use the name of the customer. Contrastively, it is the most obvious and overused method too. By the way, it is not an argument to avoid using it, so greet customers with their names everywhere - in emails, during calls, in messengers, live chats, chatbots, and so on. It is the starting point of a personalized customer journey, as you at least show that you recognize the client and that the greeting already contains some personalization. Even though we call this tip obvious, in some industries almost 70% of firms haven’t implemented it yet!
Avoid repetitive questions and ask minimum routine information
As the personalized service is based on gathering customer information and analyzing it, after some period of time, you have enough information about the client: previous buys and interactions, support requests, preferences, feedback reviews, complaints, etc. His contact info is also available in your CRM - if not, something went wrong.
As it follows from the paragraph above, you have no need to ask customers obvious questions such as “Have you ever been in contact with our support team?”, or “Can I get your email address?”. These things should have been done already, so when a client comes with a new request or order, eliminate such questions to let him feel you're acknowledged of previous interactions and keep all significant information at hand.
Use omnichannel approach
Why not multichannel, if it also offers a variety of service communication channels? Actually, the multichannel approach can’t provide continuity of conversation - when the client changes the contact channel, the conversation begins from the starting point. Sounds like the most annoying thing ever, doesn’t it? On the other hand, the omnichannel approach proposes an ideal model when a customer who has contacted you by phone meets the inability to continue talking, and switches to the messenger without losing progress.
We would also like to add to this paragraph the advice to use as many communication channels as your audience require. Do you have some younger buyers? Offer them Twitter or Instagram platform to reach you. Do you think your customers would like to use self-service tools? Design a powerful and accurate IVR and create chatbots and a knowledge base.
Gather feedback wherever possible
The main source of data about improvement areas, customer expectations, and existing issues that influence the overall performance of your call center is customer feedback. People can easily give you information about agent performance, service accessibility, quality, speed, their feelings and thoughts about it, and many more facts that are irreplaceable for further analysis and the decision-making process. Thanks to the already mentioned omnichannel approach, you can gather feedback everywhere - in chatbots, via IVR calls, using live customer service agents, on the website, and so on.
Always use open-ended questions to let people say what they think in detail, not only in “yes-no” or “true-false” mode. Such feedback reviews can tell you much more about your service than you could guess.
Teach agents to be empathetic
People await to get the service that can be called “humane”. We mean that if person calls and during the dialogue mentions some personal things, like his or her child's birthday or new car purchase, then greet the client to add another little brick to your relations - use a personal touch. Every request is personal, and distinct people take the same problems with dissimilar reactions and emotions. Make agents understand that if something isn’t included in the script, it doesn’t mean they can’t say it.
Implement self-servicing tools
The popularity of self-service grows from year to year, and numerous people prefer these instruments instead of classic ways to resolve issues. Thus, avoiding self-service tools or implementing them in inappropriate numbers may lead to the reduction of customer satisfaction and outflow of clients to competitors, who are more competent in operating high-tech solutions. On the other hand, such well-known self-service options like IVR may cause more harm than good - because of poor design, massive menus, long messages, and the inability to serve as an assistive tool. According to this, before implementing self-service options, make sure you do it in the right way to avoid any problems in the future.
By the way, such options as chatbots or knowledge bases are never redundant at least because they are generally accepted across the market and can’t annoy customers. If we talk about IVR, it is sometimes irreplaceable(in bad meaning of this word), and this is the root cause of all issues related to it.
Use the proactive model of service
Personalized service gives you access to customer data, and this factor opens absolutely new horizons of customer service. Firstly, you always see the dynamic of the client’s expectations, wishes, and preferences. Secondly, you have no limits to analyzing this data. Finally, at the end of the analysis, you can predict customer behavior and the next destinations of his journey, as well as potential troubles that may face him on this path. A great sample of such service: you know that one customer orders the same product almost at the same time every month. By the way, there is a high probability that you’ll go out of this product on your storage. What would you do? Allow a permanent customer to discover that he will have to place an order somewhere else because of your fault - or wait for an unknown period of time? The way out is easy - find a similar product with higher quality(imagine as an example if it’s engine oil or coffee capsules) and higher price, and come with a discounted offer that would propose the same price as the customer pays for his adored one. You’ll lose two or three dollars, but avoid misunderstandings in the future, as well as show your care and readiness to make steps towards to customer).