Shahzad Qureshi (October 7, 2015)
What are the factors impacting the buying decision of a customer when a growing number of companies offer the same products? While price can be one consideration for some customers, receiving a personalized customer experience is essential for others.
Personalization is important because it generates value for customers, which in turn gives businesses the much needed competitive edge to stand out in the market. Personalization presents an opportunity for companies to make customers feel special and build brand identity. A reputation for valuing customers translates into brand loyalty, which results in an increase in revenues and profits.
Recently, Accenture Personalization Survey revealed that consumers want a more personalized retail experience. Some of the ways through which businesses can personalize the experience for customers are as follows:
Companies should make an effort to analyze the unique needs of customers. This can be done through analysis of the information shared by customers. This process can effectively help companies with the product design process, as diverse needs from various customers can be taken into account before finalizing the design. This concept has been successfully adopted by Internet Service Providers who let internet users choose from a variety of data plans depending on their internet usage and behavior.
Companies should invest in conducting primary research based on the target customer base. Analyzing the research data will provide an insight into what consumers actually want in terms of products and services. The product design should be ideally based on the results and findings of these market research surveys. If companies have insightful, meaningful data on various segments of their customer base, it will enable a better understanding of their needs, which will translate into a more personalized experience. Similarly an understanding of the demographics and psychographics of the target market will help the company determine the varying preferences and interests in terms of how their product or service should be designed.
Customer Experience Management is a process through which a company manages all its interactions with its current and potential customers. The process involves strategizing, planning and finding appropriate technologies to ensure high quality customer experience at various customer touch points. A satisfied customer base results in higher revenues for the company.
Analyzing the communication needs of various customers is important to manage and personalize the experience provided. This will help the company determine the best way to interact with customers, in addition to highlighting the pain points. Companies can enhance the quality of communication through various channels and offer additional avenues like social media and explore technologies to aid the interaction process. A survey revealed that 40% consumers buy more from retailers who personalize the shopping experience across channels.
Companies should invest in enhancing the skills of customer service representatives, which will equip them better to effectively interact with customers via different channels. The communication aspect of customer service can be personalized through effective CSR behavior and techniques. The way CSRs communicate and interact with customers should be redefined to ensure that customers feel part of the process by making them feel important. Ask for customers’ expectations and enable effective two way communication involving customers in the entire process.
Customer service representatives should be able to offer a tailored experience based on the profile of each and every individual customer, which entails addressing their unique needs. CSRs have to move away from one-shoe-fit-all approach and deal with all customers differently. Although this method may require more time and resources, but at the end of the day it promises to yield better results.
In order to personalize the experience, collecting honest and meaningful feedback from customers is essential. Companies should thrive to develop an effective feedback mechanism which allows customers to express their concerns and offer suggestions. Companies should aim to stay in touch with customers on a regular basis, so that customers can honestly share what they think and suggest ways for businesses to improve.
Customer experience can be further tailored based on the suggestions received. Ideally, the solution offered should be based on individual needs rather than putting customers into homogenous groups. This will result in effective personalization in terms of meeting the unique needs of clients. For example, a chef at a restaurant can use the feedback to avoid or add certain ingredients when that customer visits next time.
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