Lexden’s ‘Back to Basics’ Series
In a world inundated with choices, customers crave more than just products and services—they seek meaningful experiences that resonate with their individual needs and preferences. Recognising this, the concept of personalising experiences at scale has evolved beyond a mere trend; it’s now a strategic imperative for businesses aiming to thrive in a competitive landscape.
As technological potential accelerates, so does the customer expectation. And with every customer’s situation being unique to them, how can businesses provide personalised experiences at scale? This blog post delves into effective strategies that empower companies to do just that.
Understanding Personalised Experiences
Personalise experiences at scale by going beyond generic interactions, creating meaningful connections. Acknowledge each unique customer, cater to their needs, stay relevant. While delivering personalisation on a small scale might seem intuitive, the challenge lies in scaling up these efforts without losing the essence of individualised touch. To achieve this, spend time with customers understanding how your products and services fit into their lives. By understanding what matters most to them, only then can you design more personalised experiences.
Challenges of Scaling Personalisation
As businesses expand their horizons, challenges inevitably arise. Managing vast volumes of customer data, integrating technologies, whilst ensuring authenticity in interactions. Balancing the efficiency of automation with the warmth of human touch is a tightrope walk that demands attention. When you aim to establish a personalised connection with every customer, making them feel truly understood, the impact is significantly diminished if you end up resorting to generic messages, services, and responses due to scaling constraints. The extra commitment they gave you is your value from the relationship, your cost is to maintain personalised experiences as you grow.
Take heart, working with a major UK supermarket we discovered there are 6 distinct customer segments who had shared purchases and behavioural experiences. So, despite a regular 30 million customers visiting their stores weekly and more online, they were able to customise so that customers felt their experience remained personal to them and their needs.
Leveraging Data for Scale
Data is the cornerstone of personalised experiences at scale. Through meticulous data collection and analysis, businesses can gain insights into customer behaviour, preferences, and pain points. This knowledge serves as the backbone of tailored interactions. However, ethical data usage and safeguarding customer privacy remain non-negotiable.
Saying it in a paragraph is easy, but ensuring reliable data takes time and effort. Too often organisations will build better experiences or communicate them to customers before they’ve ensured their data quality ensures the right customers receive the right personalised approach.
Ensuring data across the business is connected is essential for this to be achieved. Customer service may take a call about an issue with one purchase, and the customer may also be online shopping for another. To not recognise the customer’s different states of engagement when you have the data creates mistrust with customers. But when you do connect, you can personalise the interaction and experience further by using specific data references to demonstrate to the customer you know where they are in their journey, which in turn increases the customer’s confidence you will be able to assist them. For B2B and some B2C this could be achieved through logging this journey in a CRM such as Salesforce or Hubspot.
Segmentation and Targeting
Segmentation involves categorising customers based on shared characteristics, allowing businesses to create tailored experiences for each group. For instance, an e-commerce platform can recommend products based on previous purchases or browsing history. This level of personalisation boosts engagement and conversions. But beware, if you only target based on ‘what’ customers buy rather than ‘why’ they buy, then you will only have a transactional relationship.
Working with an online florist, what the customer wanted was less important than why. If the reason for flowers was a happy occasion, such as a birthday the online experience remained upbeat and included other products which may also be of interest. However, if the reason was for a bereavement, the path to purchase was stripped back with promotions suppressed, a narrower selection of flowers and toned down, with extras such as premium immediate delivery a focus. The why is often more informative than what customers buy and is a stronger basis of segmentation.
Automation and AI in Personalisation
Automation and artificial intelligence are instrumental in achieving personalisation at scale. AI can analyse vast datasets to predict customer preferences, enabling businesses to recommend products or content aligned with those preferences. Chatbots, powered by AI, provide instant responses and relevant solutions, enhancing overall customer satisfaction.
But be certain the source of your AI is authentic and without bias. If you use all previous marketing campaigns to help shape new ones, which ones had the optimum success, and why did customers value them. Without this insight, your AI may be compromised including historical insights relating to failed campaigns.
Plus, regardless of how much data you are using, or customers you have, take a lesson from manufacturing; stop and quality control check. Review what you’re designing in terms of an experience, check back with customers from the data set you have used. See if they agree with the AI or automation. AI does not have a consciousness; it is a result of what has happened before. And one thing is for certain with customers, they are not automated in their choices and behaviours.
Balancing Automation and Human Touch: Empowering Employees
While automation streamlines processes, retaining the human touch is vital. Personalise experiences at scale by infusing empathy into automated interactions, using personalised language and addressing individual concerns. This combination creates an experience that feels both efficient and authentic.
Empowering employees as CX champions is crucial. Rigid rules and hierarchical decision-making stifle creativity and hinder tailored solutions. Instead, encourage a culture where employees have the autonomy to solve customer issues in the moment, adapting to unique needs as they arise.
Equip your frontline staff with comprehensive training that not only imparts product knowledge but also emphasises problem-solving skills and active listening. When employees feel empowered to address customer concerns directly, they can provide solutions that align with the individual’s situation, going beyond scripted responses. This not only enhances the customer’s experience but also fosters loyalty, as customers appreciate businesses that genuinely care and take immediate action to resolve issues.
Essentially, ensure you have developed and trained in customer principles. These help everyone to understand ‘what matters most’ for customers, based on insights and verbatims from customers. This framework acts as a guidance for colleagues to make sure they keep what’s most important to customers a priority
As you cultivate a workforce that’s not bound by rigid guidelines but guided by a shared commitment to exceptional customer experiences through the customer principles, you are effectively infusing the human touch into every interaction. This recognition of what matters, combined with the adaptability of your employees, sets the stage for a level of personalisation that cannot be replicated solely through automation.
Customers interact with businesses across various touchpoints, from social media to websites/apps, to email and physical stores. Consistency of experience across these channels is essential.
The true power of omnichannel personalisation lies not only in converting sales but in crafting memorable experiences beyond the sale and throughout the lifetime of the customer relationship.
Picture this: A customer browses your website for a specific product, checks your social media for reviews, and then visits your physical store. In this scenario, an effective omnichannel approach would involve recognising their journey, acknowledging their inquiries, and tailoring recommendations that align with their interests, even if a sale is not involved. Digital has a habit of being quite transactional in its approach to experiences. Taking a holistic approach to the relationship transforms a transaction into a meaningful interaction, connecting touchpoints seamlessly and deepening the customer’s engagement with your business.
Measuring Success and Continuous Improvement
Personalised experiences should be measurable to gauge their impact. Sentiment measures such as customer satisfaction and operational measures such as conversion rates and repeat purchases can indicate whether performance has improved.
However, the real value is in the personal stories customers share which tell that gives you an idea of how well employees are personalising experience for your customers. With an effective listening programme in place, this sentiment can be captured and should be shared to motivate all to do more. Importantly, businesses should embrace a culture of continuous improvement, iterating strategies based on feedback and results.
Conclusion: Personalising Experiences at Scale
The quest to personalise experiences at scale presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Transitioning from generic to tailored experiences needs strategic data use, tech integration, and a commitment to authenticity while personalising experiences at scale. Personalisation is ongoing, demanding adaptability and innovation. Also, be sure to use the right CX tools to help you succeed.
The new era of business is characterised by understanding, empathy, and a genuine desire to meet customers where they are. By embracing the strategies outlined in this blog post, along with empowering your employees to be ambassadors of personalisation, you can foster connections that transcend scale and leave an indelible mark on your customers. Seize the path to personalized scale: empower staff and witness genuine customer engagement, flourishing your business.
Exploring CX Essentials: Our ‘Back to Basics’ Series
Are you embarking on your Customer Experience (CX) journey? Welcome to our ‘Back to Basics’ series, designed specifically for newcomers. Amid CX’s diverse interpretations, we offer clarity based on solid experience. Our series is your reliable companion whether transitioning fields or seeking CX fundamentals. We present straightforward CX concepts, focusing on core principles. Join us in uncovering insights, dispelling myths, and navigating CX confidently. We’re here if you need an ally to guide you in this space.