Viewpoint: Personalisation grows in the service industry
For a few short years, the term "personalisation in the contact centre" has taking the customer experience world by storm. It is rather strange that something that seems such common sense is now labelled as a trend. However, I am not complaining as the focus on personalisation is creating an upbeat move in the service industry.
A big and iconic brand that has been aware of "personalisation" for many years is Coca-Cola. They get consumers involved in their brand. Personalising Coke bottles and cans was a huge hit - and a lesson from which all industries, from banking to retail and more, can learn.
A customer is unique, and what needs to be recreated is that familiarity of the past, when the town's shopkeeper knew everyone by name as well as 'tidbits' about them. Ah, you may think, but my local village has become a global village, knowing such detail is near impossible.
No it is not. Today we have the beauty of intelligent technology to lean on and to track customers' history and preferences no matter the size of your business. As Forbes.com puts it, "Big data gives us trends and insights with uncanny accuracy. There is no reason to not create a more personalised experience that caters to a customer's individual needs."
There are simply no excuses not to embrace personalisation between you and your customer.
Two years ago, Gartner published an online article titled, "The Customer Experience in 2020", quoting the talk by Gene Alvarez, managing vice president at Gartner, at the 2015 Gartner Customer 360 Summit. "Customers will not tolerate companies that have amnesia when it comes to remembering them and their preferences for recognition," said Alvarez. "This makes it imperative for companies to recognise their customers and to serve them pertinent content that demonstrates the proper recognition and treatment."
The article ends by saying that "Customers believe that they have a relationship with a provider once they have transacted with that provider. They believe they should be recognised by the provider, and the experience should be mutually beneficial, and therefore designed with them in mind - similar to most relationships. This is particularly true where the seller or provider is seen as borderline privacy intrusive.
"'If they collect all my personal data,' the buyer or constituent thinks, 'then they should at least use all that data to understand me before they interact with me.' Moreover, they expect the relationship to be a positive one. They expect the provider to be competent and efficient, to provide assistance in solving their problems, and to honour promises made."
And, this is the deal. Technology may allow you to know a lot, but just as the shopkeeper of old, it's best to be discreet when necessary. You want to create a warm relationship with customers and not stalk them. Always focus on infusing your interaction with a positive emotion - negative emotions have a lasting effect.