Customer Experience Featured Article

Personalization of the Customer Experience - Both Online and Offline

 
January 23, 2015



In the world of customer support, personalization is the key to improving the customer experience. Customers don’t like to be treated as a number, they like acknowledgement that they’ve done business with your organization before (if they have). They like it when you recognize their previous transactions. They appreciate it when you skip making offers that aren’t valid to them.


While personalizing the customer experience sounds like a great idea, it’s a little harder than it might sound. Consider that customer expect their experiences in-person (in a retail store), over the phone (via a call center) and online (via Web sites or mobile apps) to be equally personalized. What this means is that the personalization isn’t something that should happen in each channel…it needs to start at the core of the customer support operation: in the call center platform, and the company’s customer relationship management solution, and radiate out in every direction from there, through every channel.

There is a belief that only live help can be personalized, but some successful organizations have shown us this isn’t true, according to a recent article by Tom Smith (News - Alert) writing for CMS Wire. Smith cites Amazon as an example of personalization even in the self-service channels.

“[On Amazon], you can find exactly what you are looking for easily and compare alternative choices,” he wrote. “It provides recommendations based on your purchase history and other customer’s experiences. Your purchases are handled with care from the time they leave the warehouse to when you receive a text message indicating that your package is waiting at your front door.”

Some companies do well to personalize in their retail stores, only to fall down in digital and phone channels, leaving customers to hit a digital wall. According to Smith, these disconnected experiences result in lower online sales conversions and decreased customer satisfaction.

“Think about the number of email offers you received over the holidays that were not relevant to your past purchase history with a retailer, and if by chance, you did open and click on an email offer, how often were you linked to the retailer’s site without any content related to the email offer,” he wrote. “These are perfect examples of not delivering a personalized digital customer experience.”

It’s likely that these companies are putting their personalization together piecemeal for each channel (and often not doing a very good job at it) rather than building personalization into the core of the customer experience so it can be replicated easily in every channel. Customer experience management solutions are the key to building this personalization at the root of your customer-facing operations so you can duplicate a personalized experience for whatever channel the customer chooses, even if he chooses multiple channels for the same transaction. By delivering a continuous view of the customer, these solutions can help companies develop and maintain a progressive view of the customer relationship that can be built on to establish a solid foundation, and a customer relationship that can last a lifetime. 




Edited by Alisen Downey

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