Service that is Truly Personal Wins

Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your project or service, and that bring friends with them”.W. Edwards Deming
Is your company and its offerings just another voice in the melee created by many? Or are you one of those companies which believe that unless you are doing something different you will get lost in the crowd and hence endeavour to create innovative products and also strive to provide service that is truly personal? In this age of distances and digitization, the companies that can provide service that is truly personal will not only survive but also move ahead with leaps and bounds.

The reason that companies must provide service that is truly personal is because their main audience – their customers are demanding it. A study revealed that at least 75% customers want personalized products and service and about 61% say they are willing to provide personal information to receive service that is truly personal, on-going. If we were to look at just the figures from email communication – personalized ones were able to engender at least 6 times more sales and revenue than common ‘umbrella’ messages. Even as customers, we know that we would pay more attention to promotions and marketing propositions if they had a personal touch. In fact, any personalized message would gain outstanding mileage and response when compared to a cold impersonal one.  This message therefore, is aimed at you!

How do you know whether your company is providing service that is truly personal? It would seem that on all levels and through every channel of communication, if the company is able to engage with and keep the customer interested in them, it would mean that customers perceive the messages as being addressed to them.  It may be argued that companies now have a customer base that consists of thousands or more people and millions of others who could be future customers.  In such a situation is it possible to deliver service that is truly personal to all?  What do you think and do about ensuring personalized service?

In an earlier write up we had said that customer data is vital and crucial for any company and can be got from email and social media channels. This data when collected, analysed and used can prove highly beneficial in understanding how each customer must be treated and dealt with and also makes segmentation of customers easier. Such data does not only provide information on the business or work life of customers but also about their families, circle of friends and associates, their like and dislikes and other such details that are specific only to the one person. Investing in Customer Relationship Management tools and software will help to centralize and structure this data for ready usage. The benefits of this will far outweigh any investment – in terms of time, money and other resources. In any case, without the proper tools, the sea of data would be impossible to gather let alone analyse and interpret it for the data to be useful. Customer data is a treasure trove and companies that can successfully use it can provide service that is truly personal, which in turn reaps rich and sustainable benefits in the form of loyal and profitable customers. These customers in turn are happy to provide great testimonials and referrals – thereby enhancing your reputation and also gaining new and increased business.

We all know that social media is everywhere and almost everyone we know has a personal and professional profile somewhere on one or all the social media sites. This is great news for companies that need this data to provide customized products and service that is truly personal. Customers and a larger group of people conduct discussions, speak about what they like, join focus groups, fill out forms as feedback, click on things they like, support causes and whole gamut of such on-line interactions that can be hugely useful for companies. By tapping into these ‘conversations’ companies that keep a finger on the pulse of their customers and a larger target audience and interpret the data such that it can be woven into the communication sent out, products made and service provided. When customers can see a ‘bit of themselves’ in a company’s offerings, it would be hard not to buy. Such customized and personalized products and service lets the customer know that the company cares about them, thinks like them and is committed to providing the best while keeping the customer in focus. In addition, keeping an eye on the customer interactions also allows companies to tackle any issues pro-actively before they become unmanageable. Not only does this keep problems at bay, it raises the reputation of companies as their customers perceive them as problem solvers too. Who would not want to be associated with such companies?

Weaving the customer data back into communication, products and service not only makes everything seem more personal but also highly believable. Customers would have before them products and service that they didn’t know existed or thought possible to get. As customer affinity grows, the amount of trust and dependability also grows translating into rich rewards for companies. Happier customers, we said before, make for happy employees (and vice versa) that in turn contribute to the success and profitability of a company.

There is no question that to increase business and customer base, promotional and marketing campaigns are required. However, to make these endeavours more fruitful and effective, companies must first target their prime audience and create a niche segment of customers to whom they would market. This would be possible only through the management of customer data which would make service that is truly personal and products that fit the customer’s needs ‘like a glove’.

Customized messages, products and service can be anything. It could mean that your company creates a special scheme or discounted offer just to appease an angry customer or creates an innovative product solely for the use of a niche customer segment based on their needs and preferences. Personalization could also mean setting aside particular products, services and customer service only for a handful of customers who would be truly profitable and loyal to the company. It pays richly to keep this one set of customers happy – they have huge potential not just from the perspective of the business they provide but also in influencing others to do business with you – and this influencing is not restricted to just their associates and friends but a larger audience.  Providing them with service that is truly personal might require time and effort but the benefits are almost limitless.

Customer service as we pointed out is not a fluke, a one-off or a nice to do. It is an on-going process that must be relentless, focused and is a must have. It may seem like a tall order but customer demands and expectations have taken customer service to the highest level – service that is truly personal – and this must be complied with. The good news probably is that companies have access to so much knowledge, technology and a much larger target audience. It is up to them to make complete and proper use of these tools and data and give the customers what they want and when they want and how they want. Honestly, there really does not seem to be too much choice in any other direction!

Companies must first decide and then focus on what would make them stand apart and appear different. The one thing common though is that you are in the business to serve customers and give them what they want – service that is truly personal is on the top of their priority list. If you can’t give them this basic benefit, they would not take time to move over to a company that will. How many such wasted opportunities can you afford? Decide to make your business distinct and be the forerunner in whatever you do – this would amount to service that is truly personal, since you would be developing and growing your processes and strategies keeping the customer’s needs and expectations in mind. Again, this cannot be a one-off as soon others will catch on and the distinctness you started out with would fade. It must be relentless and an endeavour that is continuous to keep ahead and stay ahead.

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