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We’re now in an age where more than two-thirds of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. It’s not just about competitive advantage anymore. Companies that excel at CX drive nearly three times more revenue than companies with poor CX. No wonder, more and more businesses have made CX the focal point of their business strategy, especially in 2020 as the word moved to digital and customers explored more ways of engaging with brands. Speaking of CX, businesses that didn’t have a strategy before were compelled to have one and the ones that already had it in place shifted their focus to improving and scaling it further.
In our previous articles, we talked about how you can benefit from the importance of getting the omnichannel strategy right, considering that many businesses often deviate from expected goals due to lack of a strong foundation to base it upon. In another article, we talked about how bad data can be an impediment to your CX goals and how you can leverage clean data to deliver maximum value. This brings us to the next post in our Transforming CX series where we talk about personalization. Personalization is something every business is in pursuit of.
While it can get overwhelming as you tread upon your personalization strategy and roadmap, keeping a few points in mind will help you avoid costly mistakes. This article will make it easy for you to keep track of them as we talk about 10 of the most important ones. Avoiding these will ensure that the fundamentals of your personalization strategy are strong and error-free.
As we discussed earlier, omnichannel is not the same as multichannel. Despite basic personalization elements in place, you can put your customers off if their interaction with your brand is inconsistent and broken. No matter which channel they contact you from, they should get the experience that makes them believe you really know them and the conversation is being picked up from where it was left off earlier. On the reverse side, nothing beats a seamless omnichannel experience. Let’s take an example of Starbucks here. Their mobile app seamlessly blends in-store and online ordering experience. You also get personalized recommendations based on the location and season and can pay in the store through your app to earn reward points.
Speaking of omnichannel experience, we also have our in-house omnichannel, customer engagement and gaming platform, Upshot.ai, that helps enterprises influence their customer behavior and drive sustainable business outcomes. Find out how can achieve great results by leveraging upshot’s capabilities.
Data is the key to crafting a personalized experience but the lack of clean, informative data and inability to extract useful insights is likely to topple your efforts. Many times the data is collected without any intent. This leads to irrelevant data piling up, without any productive results. Also, the inability to manage data can impede your ability to offer good customer experiences- be it in terms of lags in fetching response handling or context mismatch. Using data effectively can open up a stream of possibilities for your business and enable you to earn more revenue, too. Amazon, for example, collects information such as customer’s shopping patterns, prices on other websites, the demand for a product, items in the cart and more. This enables them to fine-tune their dynamic pricing algorithm as well as show better recommendations.
No personalization would be better than failed personalization. In an attempt to “fit-in” companies often overdo personalization and lose context as well as relevance. For example, offers for two for someone who has a history of ordering food for a single person only, sending offers related to leather jackets and shoes to someone who has a history of purchasing vegan apparel, or showing recommendation of new phones to someone who recently purchased one. The context here goes beyond what they have recently searched for and related recommendations. It expands to parameters such as their location, preferred channel, time of day, previous brand interactions, reasons for purchase and more. Establishing relevance and context can be learned from the partnership between Taco Bell and the navigation app Waze. Whenever a Waze user is near Taco Bell, they get an ad for the restaurant in the app, mentioning the time and location where they can dine-in. Similarly, Tesla, while promoting their automobiles, talk to their consumers about living a fossil-fuel-free lifestyle, thereby establishing great context.
We are now moving to hyper-personalization where historic data may not suffice to deliver an exceptional customer experience. Both historical and real-time data are required now. Having the right data at the right time along with the right tools and the technology, of course, will enable you to deliver personalized content, offerings, and overall experience in real-time. Travel portals often show a pop-up message alerting customers about the potential rise in airfares, nudging them to book instantly whenever they sense that customer may leave without booking.
As CX competition advanced globally, the expectations of customers changed. Mentioning their names in email subjects and notifications have become a thing of the past, way past. As of today, customers expect brands to not just know them but hear and understand them- and accordingly show them what they’d like to see. That is what keeps them more engaged and prompts them to explore what your brand has to offer. This is again where we want to emphasize value centricity. A customer, on a subliminal level, would start trusting your brand with their time and your emails won’t go unread or your notifications won’t be just cleared from the notification bar. Netflix takes personalization to the next level when they announced that they have a strategy focused on artwork that subscribers see when they explore catalog since thumbnails constitute about 82% of a subscriber’s focus while browsing. This makes the subscribers confident about the recommendations they receive as they perceive that the brand really “understands” them.
While personalization is mostly understood to be something of an individual level, and fairly so, there’s a lot more to it. You must categorize different personas and see what appeals more to them. For example, you may classify your target group based on different strata such as socio-economic A, B and C. A study indicated that high-income groups don’t want personalized offers for themselves as much as they want them for people associated with them- also called CUG (close user group) extension. A person working in a senior position in a company may need recommendations and custom medical insurance offers for their family members and not for themselves.
Your customer platform preference needs to be taken into consideration to offer a better experience. Identify what content would have a better viewing experience on which device. Which platform would they be more active on? You’d like to consider their device before giving them, say, a 3D view of the product catalog, for instance. Similarly, if they are more likely to connect with you through your app instead of the website, you may want to consider something like “app-only offers”.
Your personalization must be easy for your customers to absorb. Do they have to follow multiple links to avail an offer? Does it involve too much reading of terms and conditions? How easy or difficult is it for them to understand the value proposition from the headline itself? Similarly, you do not want to put them off by creating a complicated experience where you make them provide too many details about themselves without understanding where it’s going. Complicated sign-up forms, difficult navigation, prominent features not easily accessible, etc are some of the factors that contribute to cognitive load.
From onboarding to becoming a loyal user, the entire journey must be intuitive and seamless. A big no here is trying to collect too much information explicitly along the touchpoints without the customers having a clue why that’s relevant. The intuitiveness should come from the very first interaction they have with your brand. Before you dive deeper into offering personalized experiences to them, begin with a standard algorithm that identifies them based on segmentation or where they’re coming from, what they search for and gradually develop it along the way. This is again where real-time behavioral data comes into the picture.
A very important aspect here that contributes to the overall CX experience is performance. Before collecting data and running complex algorithms, evaluate your data handling capabilities. Often, things such as slow response times, crashes and more would cause a user to abandon your product or service before you even get a chance to craft personal experiences. An example would be too much time taken by queries in fetching information from the database that results in high screen-load time and subsequent navigation. Additionally, too many crashes, high data consumption, screen freeze, battery consumption are some factors one should be looking at to improve performance.
We are now at that point in the digital era where to say that CX is important for businesses and emphasizing it would sound absolutely ludicrous. It is now expected that almost all businesses in some way have adopted CX strategy and paid attention to the element of personalization. What we are looking at right now is how to make it effective, competitive and profitable. With exciting ideas and innovative strategies available to implement, overwhelming decisions can be made. Therefore, the path must be navigated with caution. You must lay the foundation well and level-up after careful deliberation around your customer behavior, the market and your existing capabilities. As you scale up your personalization efforts, you’ll encounter ditches that you must avoid and that can happen only if you pay equal weightage to the things you must avoid as you do to things you must include in your strategy.
At [x]cube, we have helped global enterprises drive results with our robust CX strategies. From customer retention, lower cost of acquisition, faster conversions to improving brand perception, we leveraged a mix of technologies to enable enterprises to achieve it all. If you’re someone who is looking to achieve results by adopting, improvising or scaling CX strategy, you’re at the right place. Get in touch with us for everything CX!