Gaining a customer for life happens when organisations make every interaction matter. Whether that is reacting efficiently to a customer query, complaint or need, or proactively taking steps to offer a new product or service. The key is to personalise the experience.
Demand for this bespoke treatment has increased. Today’s expectations are for hyper personalisation across all channels of engagement between the customer and organisation. This move towards an omnichannel model has increased the scope in which companies can reach customers in new ways.
Where should a business start in this vast landscape of customer touchpoints to craft a personalisation strategy that leads to customer delight and long-term loyalty? Let’s examine this now.
1. Understand your customers
The goal is to make every customer feel that the service they are receiving is 100 percent customised to them. However, this isn’t always achievable due to time and budget constraints.
Instead, a crucial step is to analyse your own data estate. From your customer relationship management (CRM) system, to social channels and customer engagement (CE) platforms. Integrating this data for analysis with a Customer Data Platform (CDP) can help to surface rich insight by creating a single customer view that generates individualised personas.
Predicting customer behaviours using these data-driven personas can allow businesses to segment their customers more effectively in order to better align customer treatment strategies.
2. Embrace omnichannel experiences
The ways that customers engage with your business continues to expand. This offers a huge opportunity to benefit from the increased customer data flowing into your business.
Unifying this data into a consolidated customer profile that can carry across any customer touchpoint is fundamental to a business’ personalisation efforts. As a result, conversations are more targeted and relevant. Additionally, customer service agents gain a greater understanding of the events leading up to a customer interaction if this unified omnichannel profile is accessible and properly collated.
3. Make the most of innovation to personalise
AI adoption for customer service has been widespread. However, its full potential to drive personalisation lies beyond the simple Q&A functionality that has become a popular standard.
Conversational AI’s ability to learn about customer interests and preferences, and then re-engage with personalised product recommendations at key stages of the buying process has become a key personalisation capability for companies to adopt.
The more simplistic virtual assistant functionality also has its place. For example, where customers need to action more simple tasks, such as getting an update on an order status. These systems complement the more complex analytical use cases. AI should be thought of as augmenting existing processes that extend the consistency of your company identity.
4. Personalise – but don’t overdo it
It can be a fine line to tread between providing a customer with bespoke service and appearing to be compromising their privacy.
Location-based personalisation techniques such as offers/greetings sent to apps on consumers’ phones when they pass by a store can come off as invasive.
At the same time, be as transparent as possible when it comes to informing consumers how and why their data is used. Regulations like GDPR have helped created industry standards for this. However, companies can always look to bolster trust with their own in-house messaging and policy statements.
5. Don’t lose the human touch
The capabilities of AI and data analytics are crucial to develop the insights necessary for understanding customers, building profiles and offering bespoke offers and interactions.
However, businesses should not over rely on these automated capabilities. The moments that matter are often those of one-on-one human connection. Take time to establish a comprehensive culture of communication that is agile to change. This is essential to empower your customer service agents with the empathetic skills they need to help find resolutions for customer that are personal and valued.
Personalise your customer’s experiences
The ways that personalisation will be felt across customer service will continue to evolve. Either from ongoing trends of increasing digital touchpoints or unexpected factors. Being agile to change is key.
At Microsoft, we work with customers across industries to implement modular solutions that fit in to existing customer service ecosystems to unlock new personalisation capabilities.
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About the author
Chris leads the Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement portfolio for Microsoft UK within the Dynamics 365 Business Group. Chris is responsible for developing and orchestrating the go-to-market strategy across this portfolio for the UK geography to generate awareness, create excitement and drive business development. The Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement portfolio is a suite of intelligent front office business applications designed to accelerate digital transformation across sales, marketing and customer service