The better some companies do for their customers, the more expectations all customers have. If one bank offers a new service, for example, customers from other banks will demand it too. Today, one of the most sought-after services across many sectors is personalisation. In other words, customers want a bespoke service that is built around them. The company’s job is to provide what they want when they want and in the way they want it. And while this may seem like excessive pandering, the simple fact that lots of other companies are going out of their way to provide personalisation means that not doing so puts you at a competitive disadvantage. Here we look at some important tips to help you personalise experiences for your customers.
Know your customers
If you want to tailor your service to the needs of individual customers, then you need to know every one of them. While this may seem an impossible task, especially if you have thousands or millions of them, the key to doing so lies in your data. One of the most important things you need is a customer relationship management system (CRM) that centrally holds all the information you have about your customers, from each touchpoint. With this in place, you will then be able to create individual customer journey maps and be in a position to analyse customer data to gain valuable insights about them and the groups to which they belong.
By doing this, you will have all the information you need to provide highly personalised experiences while being able to segment your customer base to develop effective strategies for specific groups.
Offer omnichannel experiences
Today’s customers can now engage with brands in a multitude of ways, including in-store visits, going to the website, various social media platforms, smartphone apps, messaging apps, virtual assistants and even interacting in a metaverse. The concept of personalisation, of course, is that each customer will have their own preferences for how, when and why they engage.
What’s important to the customer is that however they choose to engage with your business, the experience is seamless. They may want to buy online and pickup from the store. If they add something to their basket on the website, they expect it to be showing on the app. If they start a chat on Facebook and then get in contact later using WhatsApp or a telephone call, they expect that conversation to continue where it left off. Similarly, if they have brought a product and returned it in the past, they won’t want it to be recommended in the future.
Again, the key driver in being able to offer omnichannel services is data. What’s essential is that the data is unified so all people within the company – and AI if you use it – have access to customers’ previous interactions. The old-fashioned scenario of different departments housing data in separate silos cannot continue if this is to be achieved.
Adopt the technologies that matter
Storing continually increasing amounts of customer data, keeping it centrally located and then using data analytics tools to glean insights will demand significant IT resources. For most businesses today, the cloud is seen as the most effective way to implement this level of personalisation. Setting up in the cloud is far less of a financial burden, as there is no capital expenditure required to purchase hardware. The cloud also makes the process quicker to achieve as cloud servers can be created at the push of a button and cloud-native, open-source data analytics and AI tools can be deployed in minutes.
In addition, the cloud guarantees 100% availability, essential for critical, customer-facing applications, and also offers instant scalability, ensuring you always have enough resources to cope with capacity even through unexpected demand or to cope with resource-hungry workloads. Even better, this is paid for on a pay-per-use basis: there is no requirement to permanently upgrade to a larger and more expensive solution.
With cloud migration, there’s also the opportunity to make use of other technologies that enable better personalisation, such as AI customer service, virtual assistants, augmented and virtual reality, chatbots, IoT and automation.
Keep an eye on privacy
Personalisation requires the use of customer data. The great customer experience they get from this means many users are happy to give their consent for their data being used. However, not all will and it’s important to give your customers the choice.
At the same time, overuse of personalisation can appear a little Big Brother-like. If you collect location data, for example, sending a customer an offer every time they are within walking distance from your store can seem intrusive.
It is important, therefore, to let your customer know how, when and why you use their data and give them the control to turn on and off any aspects they are not happy with. This is important to maintain the customers’ trust in the business, which is itself a vital part of the customer experience. It’s also another element of personalisation.
Personalisation is of growing importance in the modern market. It makes customers feel valued, provides them with greater convenience and delivers better experiences. The benefits to the company are not to be overlooked either. Personalisation boosts not only sales but also fosters loyalty. At the same time, all that data can produce new insights that can help drive the business forward. For information about our cloud solutions, visit our Cloud Servers page.