Success lies in Personalizing Customer Experiences

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos

Every company wants and expects customers to come back to them repeatedly, with more business and several referrals. Customers are not averse to maintaining long-term relationships with companies so long as they can perceive genuine effort on the part of the company towards personalizing customer experiences.  Through the personal touch, a company can significantly enhance customer engagement levels and benefit from it. The simplest yet highly effective method of personalizing customer experiences is by remembering and using a customer’s name while conversing with them. No company can afford to ignore the crucial nature of personal customer experiences and neither, can they say that they did or would not benefit by being ‘personal’ with their customers.

In order to personalize customer interactions and experiences, companies must make efforts to understand the most current needs, expectations, preferences, and interests of their customers. The good news is that there are many different types of technology, systems, and tools to collect and collate this information in real-time, thereby making it instantly useable for companies. Irrespective of the business and the industry within which a company’s customers operate, instant information about the customers will go a long way in personalizing customer experiences and therefore retaining customers long-term. Customers of today are a lot smarter, tech-savvy, and know how to make informed decisions based on the data they gather. This change, in their situation, has given them more power and has raised their demands and expectations from the companies with whom they have business relationships. They refuse to settle for anything but the best and personalized experiences are one such non-negotiable demand.

Such customer behaviour is no longer surprising or ‘something new’ for any company. As customers, everyone expects that companies we buy from or connect with provide us with tailored responses and solutions. We want to believe that our situation and problem is unique and that the company would handle it as such. Companies that are able to provide customized service and be successful in personalizing customer experiences are the ones that stand out and achieve business victory. A company that is unable to keep customers at the centre of their processes and strategies would soon be on the road to decline. Technology has made innovative solutions achievable and it makes sense therefore, for customers to expect nothing but the best.

Personalizing customer experiences – each time and for every customer – is the current and future expectation from customer service. ‘Umbrella’ communication and mass production of offerings are no longer acceptable or effective with the customer of today, which is why they have paved the way for success for companies that engage their customers through customized offerings and personalized messages and experiences. The fact is that customers have an online presence and conduct a lot of their business in the e-world, which means that they leave behind data on a number of channels. It is the onus of companies to collect this data, analyse it, and use it creatively, to come up with delightful and new offerings – in addition to, methods of personalizing customer experiences – something that every customer expects and deserves.

The best way to understand and get to know what customers would like and consider as personalized experiences, is to ask them directly. Customer surveys, phone interactions, social media comments, and personal interviews are some ways by which a company can get closer to customers by learning about their needs and preferences. Based on the responses from customers, a company would be better equipped to segment their customers and prepare their profiles, which in turn would be extremely useful in customizing offerings and personalizing customer experiences, making every customer’s ‘journey’ with the company unique, special, and enjoyable. As a company begins to understand its customers better, it would be able to enhance service consistently and even proactively anticipate the needs of their customers.

When customers receive preferential treatment, it is a lot easier for them to turn to the company for all their needs. Dependability increases trust and over time customers become appreciative of the value of the relationship, which in turn leads to loyalty and enthusiastic brand advocacy. Every interaction and experience that customers then have with a company would have their full support and they would make every effort to make these experiences successful. With the support of customers, a company would soon become a lot more successful, profitable, and hard to beat!

By personalizing customer experiences, a company is essentially displaying their dedication and commitment to its customers. A company acknowledges the importance of its customer base and is not afraid to turn over the control of the relationship to its customers. It is willing to expect everything from customers and is not averse to making the effort to comply with their wishes. It is highly unlikely that any existing customer would want to leave such a company and prospective customers would want to associate with it too. A company’s success further attracts other resources – bright talent, investors, and other ‘partners’ who would take the company even further and make it stronger.

As a company’s profits increase and reputation soars, it would be in a better position to divert its resources towards innovation and creating more personalized products and experiences for its customers. The time, when a single product or service suited all customers is gone. Customers are diametrically different and so are their expectations and any company that attempts to palm off ‘one-size fits all’ offerings, will be at the receiving end of customer ire, and would be shunned by all others too.  The fact is that customers are not equal – in any respect. In fact, some customers (and they know it) are more profitable and useful for a company as compared to others and hence a company must know how to manage the experiences of such customers as compared to the less frequent ones.

Profitable and regular customers expect a different level of service and personalization, and since the percentage of profitable customers is usually smaller, it makes sense to treat them well in order to retain them. Every company has the capability of personalizing customer experiences – it is just a matter of prioritizing and using the appropriate methods to do so. While every customer should be treated with respect, a company must make the effort to sift customer information in order to understand the differences and similarities. This understanding forms the basis of personalization.

Companies that can focus on their customers, would be able to build loyalty and create brand advocates, who in turn would serve to enhance the reputation of the company better than any other promotional or advertising gimmicks. With so many different tools and advancement in technology, it is highly improbable that a company would not be able to predict intelligently the future needs of customers along with understanding their current ones. Relentless pursuit of understanding the customer would allow a company to succeed in personalizing customer experiences and pave the way for its own triumph and prosperity.

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