Let us take you back to a forgotten childhood memory. One where you scrounged through stacks of personalized keychains at a gift shop to find one with your name on it. That was your early personalized customer experience in the business. As you’ve grown older, you probably no longer demand the keychains, however, still appreciate an informal attachment to a product or business.
Customers everywhere support businesses that can create a personalized connection with them. A company that appeals to the individuality of its consumers shows that it respects its relationship beyond the sales transaction. Hence, personalization can be imperative for a business to gain and retain shoppers.
As a startup or an SME (small- or medium-sized enterprise), customizing the customer journey can be crucial to growth and development. Before delving into tips and techniques for the same, let’s review the advantages of incorporating personalization in your small business:
- It improves the customer experience. A consumer with a great experience will give you a positive review, repeat sales, and an overall favorable brand image.
- It increases brand loyalty. Buyers who have a strong connection with your brand are likely to stay committed and refer your business to their peers.
- It gives you a competitive edge. In contrast to businesses that use cut-and-dry sales techniques, your business would be more appealing to people.
- It revitalizes dead leads. For inactive leads, a personalized email can grab their attention and encourage them to reconsider a purchase.
Companies have begun to understand the importance of customization. However, there are some that are not doing it quite right. Many organizations are known to bombard their clients with emails and phones. Overdoing it can lead to the opposite of the effect you want. Let’s hash over some tips and tricks on how to effectively personalize your customers’ journey.
How to Personalise Consumer Experience as a Startup or SME?
As opposed to big corporations, startups and SMEs need to work harder to build connections and a consumer base. The following points will elaborate on techniques that can be used by organizations to ensure that they provide a pleasurable experience. These tips and tricks will act as guidance to customized experiences from the purchase to the follow-up service:
1. Gather information about your consumers’ preferences
Information is key. The only way you can create products or present services that are to your buyers’ liking is by knowing what they like. Data mining and cookies are very common to accomplish this task. The former refers to analyzing large sets of data to identify patterns.
By doing so and using machine learning, you can recognize patterns in your client’s preferences. Cookies are small amounts of saved data on a Web browser. These usually retain information about the individual visiting the site.
Using artificial intelligence (AI), you can analyze these preferences and work on enhancing the user experience accordingly. The more you know about a client, the better you can tailor their options.
2. Conduct surveys for voluntary information
While cookies are a passive approach to understanding your client’s needs, surveys are direct. Mostly questionnaires, these allow your customers to volunteer details of what they are looking for.
According to their preferences, you can select or recommend the ideal product or service. Many organizations give their audience a survey section when they log in. Once the consumers have entered the data, they customize the recommendations accordingly. This ensures that the buyer is consistently presented with the most preferable choices.
Another method of conducting surveys is through IVR. An IVR (interactive voice response) system allows your users to provide their preferences through keyboard inputs on mobile or telephone.
3. Analyse the gathered data and make changes accordingly
Changes must constantly be made to keep your business popular and growing. Once you have understood the demographics of your buyers and their needs, you can start amending your existing list of services.
For example, if your client base is predominantly residing in India and the US, make sure that the prices of your products are available in both Rupees and US Dollars. Otherwise, clients will most likely not bother with conversions and just assume that you are a local company.
A simple gesture such as displaying varied currencies can encourage people to sign up for your business and also generate higher conversions.
4. Make recommendations according to customer likes and dislikes
When there are multiple options, chances are that people may get lost in a large catalog of varied products. Hence, when they first visit your company’s website, they might not know what exactly they require.
In such a situation, it is better to trust the expert: you. If you collect the details of their requests (as mentioned above) in a survey, you can narrow down what products are best suited to their requirements. Obviously, a human cannot do this for every single individual. An AI-powered system offered by many cloud technology firms can handle this task for thousands of people simultaneously if need be.
A recommendation is convenient for not only the client but also the organization. It reduces the chances of returns, complaints, and bad reviews. Your customer is satisfied, and it saves time and effort for both parties.
Many websites like to feature variations of ‘People who bought this also liked this. This tactic is very effective in convincing a buyer to make multiple purchases. They may even be introduced to something brand new that they now wish to own.
5. Send personalized emails
An email is the go-to form of communication for professional relationships. It is the ideal method to avoid the invasion of privacy while contacting an individual. However, emails are also used for login details across all websites and applications. That means every inbox is chock-full of invitations, discounts, and updates by brands. How can you set your messages apart in this slew of threads? Two words: customer names.
People underestimate the power of addressing someone by their name. It makes any conversation more personal, intimate, and informal. By simply adding your shoppers’ names to the greetings of the mail, you can create a bond with them and stand out. They are likely to check a thread with their name on it.
6. Follow up after purchase and ask for feedback
Old-school business people may believe that a sales transaction ends after the trade. However, that is not true for the current cultural and financial climate. To maintain a relationship with your customers, you must carry on communication in the future.
Several companies follow up using emails and messages by addressing consumers by name. This urges people to respond to the request. When you follow up, feedback must be noted. It is the ideal chance to understand how you can improve the buyers’ experience with the organization. By using emails, you allow buyers to give their opinion as an individual privately.
According to research by Microsoft in 2017, 77% of respondents admitted to having a favorable opinion of a company that asks for and acts on feedback. By requesting feedback, you gain valuable information and the trust of your leads.
You can also use cloud-based solutions for the purpose of feedback. Firstly, you can add an IVR menu at the end of service calls to gauge the experience with the customer service executive or to collect their ranking on the products and services they bought. Secondly, AI-powered chatbots that offer self-service menus can take quick feedback post customer service experiences. Cloud technology has made information gathering and analysis relatively easier.
7. Make them a part of the process
Build a community, not just a consumer base. Shoppers often rely on their peers while considering brands to buy from. And nothing impresses me more than a success story. Buyers are inspired and convinced by the positive experiences of those who have already been through the process once.
By adding your loyal purchasers’ stories to your website, advertisements, social media, or emails, you allow potential leads to be convinced by other buyers’ narratives. For example, a gym would post before and after workout pictures of its members to convince new people to join. The transformations would represent how effective services provided by the establishment happen to be.
These transformations and quotes exude authenticity as the featured customers have little to no personal agenda or underlying objective to achieve, the only reason being a genuinely good experience.
8. Offer personalized discounts and updates
The last step of the journey is to find ways to make customers keep coming back. By offering them personalized discounts, you can let them know that loyalty is rewarded by your brand. Furthermore, you could also offer updates regarding new products that they might be interested in or out-of-stock goods that they have previously checked out.
Picture this: a shopper recently bought a dog leash from your website but could not get their hands on your coveted name tags. You could add a checkbox that would promise them a notification in case the latter comes back in stock.
In a couple of months when the store is restocked, you can notify them and also include a recommendation of your newly launched dog food that complements their former purchase.
A shopper’s journey, from the identification of a need to purchase and loyalty, is much longer than they realize. By including personalization every step of the way, you are cultivating a relationship between the brand and the buyer.
The process is advantageous to both parties—the customer is satisfied and well-served, and the business is rewarded with loyalty and profits. In a world where social media and globalization are knitting everyone’s lives together, you can no longer afford to alienate your consumers as mere transactions. Create the best experience for your clients by taking simple measures and advancing your operations.