A decade ago, most businesses had frequent opportunities to meet and greet their customers in person. From banking to healthcare, interpersonal relationships formed the bedrock of customer service. Today, with digital transformation making sweeping changes across all industries and functions, an opportunity for face-to-face interaction rarely arrives.
Even in an extremely sensitive industry like banking, customers have stopped visiting the bank branch. They do not even know by name their bank branch manager or their relationship manager. The whole world has become used to virtual communication. Although virtual communication offers a never-ending list of benefits, for businesses it poses a serious challenge — delivering personalized customer service.
Why personalized customer service matter?
Personalization has grown to become a huge differentiator that is powerful than price or quality. In fact, PwC found in its study that customers are willing to provide personal data in return for personalized offerings that will improve their customer experience.
Of course, personalized customer service is not restricted to addressing your customer by their first name. Its applications go well beyond that. Amidst millions of other customers, it is a basic trait for an individual to be looked upon and treated as a special person. This is the experience that personalization offers. In customer service, which is largely human emotions driven, personalization can offer a significant boost to customer experience.
Customers don’t like scripted robotic interactions. They want personalized and unique experiences.
Think of personalized customer service as a bridge that connects customer experience and loyalty. Consistent delivery of positive customer experiences drives long-term customer loyalty. In fact, any business can be outrun by its competition with a lower price and better quality products. However, customer experience will remain as a USP that cannot be replicated in any manner. This makes personalized customer service crucial to the growth story of any business.
All aid, delivering personalized customer service is a matter of survival for any business. Here are some ways to explore if your business wants to up its ante in delivering personalized customer service.
Know Your Customer’s History
The best way to build customer loyalty is to know why they have remained loyal for so long and continue delivering on it with consistency. This demands your business to know your customer’s history.
The customer’s history can be learned in two ways. First, list down the broad asks or instructions they have given so far while interacting with your business. Second, look out for their latest customer service requests and ensure it is properly communicated across all support channels. Ensure that the customer does not have to repeat themselves. Knowing what the customer wants and their interaction history is one of the ways of delivering personalized customer support.
Be Always Available
Yesteryear businesses were governed by stringent working hours. Customers had to wait until the next working day to be able to avail the customer service. However, with digital commerce, working hours for customer service have become almost non-existent. Customers expect businesses to provide them with support anytime and every time without any restrictions — be it time or location.
From a business perspective, this poses a serious challenge. It is not economical to set up a 24/7/365 customer service department specifically to handle customer requests flowing in through the website, chat, email, social media, etc. A better option would be to integrate a live chat software that customers can interact with. The software can be programmed to respond to user queries with canned responses for frequently asked questions. This will reduce the burden on customer support agents and also ensure that no customer is left behind in providing prompt service.
As for personalization, live chat software can be easily programmed to respond in multiple languages based on the geo-location of the user. This will help drive engagement and the live chat software can speak the user’s language.
Simplify Customer Success
One of the key reasons why brands like Starbucks, Amazon, Zappos, etc. have been able to achieve stardom amidst customers is because they are easy to approach when something goes wrong. The customer is spared from the need to run from pillar to post in search of a solution. These brands have set up elaborate customer support mechanisms and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that help them find solutions easily.
Also, when it comes to returns or replacements, the customer support agents are also empowered to make autonomous decisions that will pacify the customer instead of making them wait for bureaucratic approval.
Work on Customer Feedback
Here is the thing about customer feedback. Everybody suggests that you gather customer feedback; however, not many people highlight that customer feedback is to be acted upon. Customer feedback that is not acted upon is a waste of resources spent gathering it.
Working on customer feedback is critical to delivering personalized customer support. The best way any business can showcase value to its customer is by showing that they care for them and are willing to work on their suggestions.
Working on customer feedback can also bring your product or service closer to customer wants. It is the easiest way to align your offerings to your customer expectations without having to run multiple trial and error experiments.
Putting the ‘personal’ in Personalized Customer Support
There is no denying the fact that customer support needs to be personal. However, in a business context, personal can be tricky to address. It definitely does not mean invading the customer’s privacy and asking them questions about their private life. On the other hand, it is also not limited to addressing the customer by their first name.
Instead, it involves understanding the relationship that the customer has had with the business so far, their key expectations, and how the business can address it — both in the short-term and the long term.
Author’s Bio: Srushti Shah is an ambitious, passionate, and out-of-the-box thinking woman having vast Digital Marketing exposure. She is working as a Digital Marketer and Content writer at Acquire. Her key focus is to serve her clients with the latest innovation in her field, leading to fast and effective results. Working beyond expectations and delivering the best possible results is her professional motto. Other than work, she loves traveling, exploring new things, and spending quality time with family. Reach out to Srushti Shah on Twitter or LinkedIn