In this article, I’ll walk you through the benefits of personalized customer service and some actionable tips on improving it.
Imagine a café in your neighborhood that greets you by your name and suggests your usual order during every visit. Now imagine another cafe across the street that offers you and all its other customers the same service. Which café are you likely to revisit?
It’s probably the first café unless the other café offers significantly better coffee, ambiance, or value for money.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the benefits of personalized customer service and some actionable tips on improving it. Towards the end, I’ll share real-world examples of two companies that have leveraged personalized customer service.
Let’s dive in.
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What is Personalized Customer Service?
Personalized customer service means offering tailor-made experiences and support to your customers. It’s based on their previous interaction(s) with your company.
For digital businesses, personalization requires using data from each stage of the customer journey. With data, you can create high-converting email content and measure customer satisfaction.
As a result, personalized customer service makes the support experience faster and more relevant, leading to enhanced customer experience.
Why Should You Personalize Customer Service?
Accenture’s Consumer Perception Survey indicates almost 70% of consumers want companies to personalize their communications. With personalization being a key differentiator for customer satisfaction, it provides an excellent area for companies to capitalize on.
Imagine a person who contacted the customer support of a technology company to ask questions about installing software they purchased. If you are dealing with a tech-savvy person, such as a developer, the agent can use more technical language to their questions.
However, if you are dealing with a layman, it is essential to use words and expressions that are easy to understand. Otherwise, you risk the customer ending the interaction with more questions than before.
Providing personalized service is, above all, understanding that each client is unique and, therefore, deserves special attention.
Here are some ways personalized customer service can help your business:
- Improved customer relationships – People remember their interactions with companies. When you address your customers with their names and pay attention to their specific needs and expectations, you show that you notice, remember, and value them. As trust grows, they are more willing to engage.
- Higher customer retention – It is easier and cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire it. A Gartner survey showed that companies risk losing 38% of customers due to poor personalization in email marketing and communications.
- Higher conversions and increased sales – Customers who find personalization appealing are also likely to be your most valued buyers. Customizing your communications based on the customer’s location, purchase history, and previous interactions with your brand can help convert those on the fence. An Epsilon research shows that 80% of consumers are more inclined to purchase when brands offer personalized experiences.
6 Ways to Improve Personalized Customer Service
You need a solid customer service plan to enhance customer loyalty, exceed their expectations, and improve customer retention and conversions. Here are 6 best practices to deliver personalized customer service.
1.Know your customer
Here are some ways to know your customer better:
- Create multiple buyer personas – To provide outstanding customer service, you first need to understand your customers, their pain points, buyer intent, and expectations. You can use multiple buyer personas to offer context-based support.
- Segment your audience – You can discover patterns among different audience segments by analyzing your website, customer relationship management (CRM) platform, and social media data. Segmentation helps you cater to the specific needs of your customers effectively.
- Review most common questions – Do your customers struggle to integrate third-party apps on your SaaS tool? Are you getting lots of questions from your long-term customers about the restructured dashboard? Do many prospective buyers ask about a specific feature? Reviewing frequently asked questions allows you to find common user pain points. You can then use this information to create knowledge bases and employ those in customer support.
2.Use multiple customer service channels
Each customer engages with businesses differently. Some interact through your website, some are your regular podcast audience, and some follow you closely on social media.
While most brands focus on sales across multiple channels, few pay attention to a unified customer service experience.
Omnichannel customer service allows customers to contact you through multiple touchpoints. Your audience also gets to choose their preferred medium, from live chat to social media messages to emails to phone calls.
Different mediums usually entail different customer segments, needs, and urgency levels. Multiple service channels enable you to personalize the customer experience based on the audience and their behavior on each platform.
Another benefit of omnichannel customer service is the interlink with all channels. Imagine, for example, a customer sends a query to your company’s Facebook page through Messenger. Someone on your team responds and all the relevant information gets added to your CRM.
A few days later, the same customer sends an email regarding the same query. With an interlinked customer service system, your customer support representative can view the customer history and provide more relevant and quicker support.
Another interesting finding came out of a Zendesk’s research. It shows that 37% of customers expect to communicate with the same customer support agent, irrespective of the channel. For a more seamless customer service experience, appoint dedicated agents to match with particular customers.
3.Leverage customer data and past customer experience
Personalized customer service is possible only when you have data on customer journeys and previous communication. The more data you have, the more personalized customer service you can provide.
Mapping customer journeys helps in one-to-one marketing. Instead of relying solely on templates, customer service agents try to understand individual customer behavior. In a Csat.ai survey, 84% of respondents indicated that their experience improves considerably when they feel an agent is not using a script.
One way to build a solid relationship with your customer is to answer their questions and solve their problems in the shortest possible time. In a HelpScout survey, more than 71% of respondents say that quick response significantly improves their service experience.
It also shows your audience that your company cares about their issues and tries to help them achieve the expected results.
Even if you can’t solve their problem at the time, offer a quick and personalized response. It makes them understand that you’re working on it.
5.Take advantage of AI
It’s a common misconception that automation is inversely related to personalization. For example, AI-powered chatbots can provide contextualized support by processing users’ language, even with typos and regionalisms. A Statista study shows that 64% of businesses trust chatbots to provide personalized customer service more than regular support.
These chatbots can process customer histories and your support database within a fraction of a second and respond instantly. In a chatbot perception survey by Userlike, 68% of respondents indicated that they like chatbots because of their quick response and 24/7 availability.
Chatbots save both customers’ and service agents’ time by helping users self-discover solutions to common issues. From sending triggered SMS alerts to guiding users through knowledge bases, AI has pushed the envelope of personalized customer service.
Humanized service is based on exclusivity and empathy. As much as technology and automation are there to help us, customers often need human interaction to feel that you care about their problems. If chatbots are stepping up their game, customer service representatives should too.
Your customer support team should be able to put themselves in the customer’s shoes and provide context-based solutions rather than pushing your products.
One of Dale Carnegie’s famous quotes is, “a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Calling customers by their names forms the base of personalized customer service.
But, you can take it a step further. If your company permits, you can use emojis, gifs, and a casual tone in your conversations. A RightNow survey shows that 73% of consumers fall in love with a brand due to its friendly employees or customer service representatives.
Personalized Customer Service Examples
Disney’s MyMagic+ personalization magic
Utilizing data well means anticipating customer needs in a way that they are pleasantly surprised. One example is MyMagic+ wristband technology. It gives Disney World employees all the information they need to provide visitors with memorable and personalized experiences.
When a visitor wears one of these Disney MagicBands and has reserved a table for dinner, they are greeted by name upon arrival. The restaurant receives a notification when the guest approaches and the kitchen starts preparing the meal. When the guest is seated, a receiver integrated into the table recognizes their MagicBand. Then, it relays the pre-programmed meal order to the server.
For the guest, all this happens as if by magic.
When you create personalized experiences, think about what would be useful for your customers – like Disney did with MyMagic+.
Walgreens’ excellent omnichannel customer service
Drugstore chain Walgreens uses personalization to create a seamless customer experience across all channels. It allows customers to pick up items ordered online in the store and also physically purchase in the store.
If a customer buys a health supplement online, a reminder email will notify them to buy it again after a month. When they shop at a physical store, the app notifies them that their scheduled prescription is ready for pickup at the pharmacy.
The tools also deliver tailored offers and specific product recommendations for other products to the customers based on buyer personas and their previous engagement.
Walgreens’ personalized omnichannel solutions make purchasing and support better for customers, and they can competently serve them everywhere.
Personalized customer service is all about the customer. From a cordial greeting to a quick solution to their problem, it shows that you care about them. You may need to experiment to figure out the types of personalization relevant to your customers. Test different offers, record the results, and learn what works and what doesn’t. It is an ongoing process, as consumer preferences are constantly changing. It is your job to adapt flexibly to the expectations of your audience.