Tips on upping the personalized customer service you provide as part of overall experience
Customer support is more important to gaining loyalty than ever before. And when it comes to support, customers have high expectations: immediate resolutions, getting support on their channel of choice, and personalized experiences.
Personalization has been table stakes in marketing for years. Personalized emails with curated product recommendations. Cross-platform ads based on the exact products you’re actively searching for. And when it comes to getting customer support, customers have the same expectation for tailored, individualized experiences. Almost 70% of consumers want companies to personalize their communications, underscoring the importance it is for customer service.
What is personalized customer service?
Personalized customer service boils down to remembering who your customers are and treating them as individuals. It tailors experiences to a person’s past interactions and leverages user data to take into account a person’s specific profile attributes to customize the experience. It can be as simple as greeting a person by their name, pulling up their order automatically by an email or phone number, or more complex by implementing proactive customer care.
Why does personalization matter?
Personalization has a major impact on loyalty and retention, as well as the bottom line. Consider these key customer experience personalization stats:
- 80% of consumers are more inclined to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience.
- 93% of companies experience an increase in conversion rates from personalization.
- 65% of customers say that personalization influences their brand loyalty.
It’s clear from these stats (and there are tons of other studies on the topic) just how important personalized customer service is.
What data can be used to customize experiences?
By integrating your customer relationship management (CRM) platform with your agent desk software (i.e., Zendesk, Freshworks, Gladly, Zoho, Salesforce, etc.), your agents will be able to access all that valuable customer data: past orders, lifetime value, interactions with customer service, customer feedback to surveys. This access empowers your agents to address customers individually and solve issues on a very personal level.
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There are a few different ways to personalize customer service experiences. By persona / segment or by individual customer data. While persona and segment-based personalization works for marketing, personalization in customer service needs to be on the individual level. Acknowledging the last time they reached out to support to make sure there were no other further issues, for instance, is a perfect example.
What are 7 easy ways to provide personalized customer service?
Personalization in customer service can take many forms. Here are the seven most effective strategies to provide personalized support.
1. Greet customers by name.
The easiest way to personalize your customer service is by greeting a customer by name in emails, live chats and phone calls. While this seems obvious, many companies are failing to do even this. In our Customer Service Benchmark reports, we’ve analyzed the personalization of customer service for various industries.
We’ve found that only 68% of eCommerce companies and 49% of telcos greet a person by their first names in customer service emails. For global travel and hospitality brands, a whopping 28% of companies did not respond to a customer by their first name in email responses or on social media.
2. Keep customer data trails and look up information on the back-end.
When you use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform, you’re able to holistically look at a customer’s information. You are able to see their entire relationship and history with a company. You’re able to access preferences, past orders and interactions with customer service so you don’t have to ask a person to repeat themselves.
As soon as you’re able to identify a customer by based on email address, phone number or order number, you should never have to ask them for basic information. As much as possible, try to limit the questions you have to ask a customer and never make them repeat themselves.
3. Ensure fluidity across channels.
There’s an increasing number of support channels. In an environment where channel preferences change based on the type of issue, frustration breeds when a customer’s context is not carried forward as they move between channels. A single customer profile should exist across channels. If a person has to reach out on multiple channels for the same issue, they should never have to restart the conversation or repeat themselves.
4. Ask for feedback.
One way to show customers that they are appreciated and valued is by asking for their opinion in Customer Satisfaction Surveys. It’s not enough to ask for feedback with binary and scale questions Companies should also invite customers to provide open-ended responses on their experience and what could have been improved.
Personalization comes from truly listening to feedback and implementing changes based on what your customers are saying. As a result, you can expect to gain customer loyalty: 97% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a company that implements their feedback.
5. Empower agents to personalize the experience.
Whether signing off using their own name or simply asking about a customer’s day as they are pulling up information, empower your agents to humanize their interactions. Don’t force them to stick too closely to a script, but encourage them to have human-like interactions.
Zappos, well regarded for its customer experience, says on its website that “Customer interactions often include personal topics, such as weddings, pregnancies, graduations, birthdays and anniversaries. It’s not uncommon for customers to be pleasantly surprised days later by a mailed greeting card from their new friend at Zappos!” We love this personal touch.
6. Deploy intelligent self-service.
Self-service is becoming more and more common in customer service via robust online knowledge bases and AI chatbots. Intelligent self service leverages machine learning to deliver the content that’s most relevant to the individual customer. This integration is based on their purchase history, browsing history, where they are in the customer journey, and more. Using data-driving insights, you can help people become better and more efficient at solving their own issues.
7. Be proactive.
Solve issues before your customers realize there’s ever an issue in the first place or has to interrupt their day to reach out to you. This predictive hyper care makes your customers feel like you’re really looking out for them and have their best interest at heart.
Let’s look at an example. Makeup brand Glossier is often recognized for its top-notch customer service. There’s countless stories about the brand going above and beyond to wow customers and show customers they are valued and appreciated. One such customer recounts a time when, during the busy holiday season, her order was delayed.
Before she had a chance to inquire on the status, Glossier proactively reached out, letting her know that they noticed a delay and had already sent another order on rush. Not only did the Glossier customer service team alert the customer to a potential issue, but it provided a solution all without the customer having to ask. Can customer service get more personalized than this?
The next generation of personalized customer service is here
Your customers aren’t faceless consumers. They are individuals and expect to be treated as such. They want you to remember who they are and their relationship with your company. Customer service can no longer be one-size-fits-all.
Modern consumers today demand personalized experiences and will take their business elsewhere if these expectations are not met.
Interested to learn more about how AI can help you provide personalized customer service? Get in touch today.
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