4 Ways To Personalize the Customer Experience

Everyone knows the power of “customer experience” or CX, as research is clear on the influence it has on consumers. CX determines how customers shop and whether they’ll come back. A positive customer experience can set your small business apart from competitors.

And, personalizing a customer’s experience can go a long way toward achieving worthwhile customer experience outcomes, the kind that has a real impact on your success. Research shows that consumers prefer to work with companies that offer a personalized experience.

Data marketing firm Epsilon found that 80 percent of the 1,000 consumers they surveyed about CX indicated they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences and 90 percent said they find personalization appealing.

Small Business & Personalization

Historically, personalization is nothing new for small businesses. They’ve long been known for providing personalized treatment, more so than larger companies – stuff as simple as a server at the local diner remembering how a customer prefers their toast or drink.

So as personalization has evolved in our digitally-inclined world, the concept is fundamentally the same. Whether you’re demonstrating a knowledge of a customer’s preference or past purchase or just anticipating their needs, personalizing their experience makes them feel appreciated.

“Personalization is a way to make sure customers know they matter,” writes Lisa Sigler, senior manager of content marketing at Clarabridge, a marketing data company that provides Customer Experience Management (CEM) software products.

Here are 4 ways your small business can personalize your customers’ experience:

Be Intentional

A key piece of advice comes from the Forrester CX team consultant Fiona Adler, who says when it comes to personalizing your customer’s experience, be intentional.

“Firms that succeed with personalization are proactive and intentional about it,” she writes in a blog on the company’s website. “They treat personalization as an enabler of better interactions from the customers’ view across their journeys.”

This just means intentionally taking the steps to gather, then use the data you need to create a personalized CX so that you can tailor the experience as much as possible at every touchpoint.

Earn Your Customer’s Interest

If you’re doing personalization right, customers will be interested in what you’re doing because it feels relevant to their lives -- whether it’s the information on your website, the offer in their inbox or the ad they come across while browsing, says Sigler at Clarabridge. 

Personalization is about knowing what is relevant to customers, and the ability to react to customers individually.  For example, when a customer calls, have their account history readily available, Sigler writes, and listen so you actually understand. Your response becomes personalized and relevant.

Learn About The Customer Experience

This means making sure customers have a chance to give you feedback. Surveys are a great tool to garner CX data, and if you can personalize the survey experience, even better – you’re encouraging more useful feedback.

“Because personalization helps to build a sense of relationship between the organization and the customer, it inspires more feedback,” says Sigler.

Consider using survey tools that not only helps you determine the customer’s overall feelings about their experience but allows you to ask questions that will give you specific feedback about various part of their journey.

How Easy Is It To Buy From You

A crucial factor of the customer experience is the effort it takes for a customer or client to do business with you. So, it’s important to gain customers’ insights on how easy or difficult it was to buy something from your website, talk to customer service, etc.

In “The Essential Guide to Marketing Personalization,” the global research and advisory company Gartner says using the “know me to help me” approach can amplify your brand’s personalization success.

Learning to identify areas of high effort can help pinpoint problems and uncover solutions that will eliminate effort and create a better experience. According to Gartner’s data, businesses that focus their personalized messaging around helping consumers can expect 16 percent more impact on outcomes than those that don't.

If a customer has an easy or low-effort experience with a brand, they are 94 percent more likely to repurchase, the company says. On the other hand, customers who have a difficult customer service experience are four times more likely to become disloyal to your brand.

Examples of high customer effort include being transferred to multiple people, having to repeat information and having to “jump through hoops” to get questions answered or problems resolved.

“Reducing customer effort is the best way to build customer loyalty,” advises Gartner.