As we head into a period of economic turmoil, businesses are already thinking about how they can weather the storm.
Improving customer loyalty and retention is one potential solution.
We know that hanging onto existing customers is 6 to 7 times more cost-effective than acquiring new ones. So businesses have a lot to gain when they optimize the customer experience and encourage customer loyalty.
But how can you achieve this?
Personalization is the word on everyone’s lips. It’s a principle that we can apply to marketing, to product development – and to customer service. Once considered merely a cost center, customer service is now rightly acknowledged as a key contributor to any business.
Done right, customer service is capable of driving customer loyalty and trust, improving retention, and helping to maintain a healthy customer base in the process.
And when you make an effort to personalize your customer support, you really harness the revenue-generating potential of your customer service team.
As we move into a period of economic stagnation, maintaining the customers you have (with the help of customer service personalization), is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep your business booming.
So how do you make it happen?
What is personalization?
Let’s start by clarifying what we mean by personalization.
Personalization is when you adapt your customer service and communications according to each individual customer and their needs.
This is something small businesses tend to do really well.
Because they don’t have a huge customer base, small businesses and their staff get to know their customers. They know their favorite product, history with the company, and even their preferred style of communication.
Staff can then use that really useful information to provide exceptional service and make customers feel special.
But bigger businesses can also get in on the act.
You can address customers by their first name. You can provide personalized recommendations and promotions. You can even use past interactions with a particular customer to inform future ones.
Data makes all of the above possible.
When you collect customer data – and then use software to make sense of it – you can tailor communications and support based upon your customer’s brand experience to date.
Why offer personalized customer service?
Implementing personalized customer service is an investment for your business. You need time, money, and the right tools to provide customers with the bespoke experience they’re looking for.
So, why do it?
It’s what your customers want and expect
According to McKinsey research, 71% of consumers expect companies to provide personalized interactions, and 76% are frustrated by companies who fail to meet this expectation.
Your competitors are already doing it
Eighty-nine percent of digital businesses are already investing in personalization.
It’s good for business
Personalization boosts customer loyalty and your bottom line. It also increases the rate at which customers consider, purchase, repurchase and recommend your brand.
Personalized customer service helps you to retain customers and turn them into brand advocates, with clear business benefits.
4 Ways to drive customer loyalty with personalized service
Personalized service is no longer just a nice-to-have. It’s essential for building brand loyalty. Here are four ways you can make personalization a central principle of your customer service strategy.
1. Build trust with personalized interactions
Trust is one of the key ingredients of customer loyal. And personalization is one of the ways you can build trust with customers.
When customers feel known and understood by a brand, thanks to meaningful two-way communication, they’re more likely to believe in your brand and its ethos.
Offering personalized support at scale may feel a bit beyond the capabilities of your business. But with the right technology, it’s totally possible.
Look for customer service software that helps you create personalized interactions by providing or facilitating all of the following:
The right agent
Direct customers to their preferred agent – or the last agent they spoke to.
This helps create stronger bonds between customers and your company, giving small business service – at scale. Customers get to enjoy continuity of service and the sense that someone is truly invested in helping them resolve their problem.
Agents also benefit, as building a closer relationship with customers becomes that much easier.
The right background information
Whether an agent has prior experience with a particular customer or not, ensuring they have all the background information they need to tailor their responses is key. By giving them access to a customer’s history of support interactions, as well as helpful data like order status or lifetime value, they’re not left playing catch-up. They have the context they need to offer effective support – ideally, all from one screen.
This background data helps agents to deliver pitch-perfect support. They’re much better placed to understand the customer mindset, their journey with the brand so far, and – ultimately – how best to meet their needs.
The right approach
When the right agent has access to the right information, they’ll find it much easier to personalize their approach to each individual customer.
They can greet them by name. They can adapt to the customer mindset and requirements.
Agents also have the information they need to provide above-and-beyond support. They can make product, information, and promotion recommendations that are truly relevant to the person they’re talking to.
2. Offer ‘round the clock support
Personalized customer support should be available beyond the standard 9 to 5. You need effective solutions for those times when agents aren’t available.
So what options should you be providing?
A customer-facing knowledge base is a great resource for customers looking for answers to their queries out of hours.
Collect all of your most useful articles in a section of your website that is easy to search and navigate. Also add to your knowledge bank by quizzing customer support agents and accessing data to discover commonly asked questions and relevant topics.
As customers interact with your knowledge base, you can gather more valuable customer data, which can then inform further personalization efforts.
Chatbots are another way to provide convenient, any-time customer service. And yes – it’s possible to personalize customer interactions with your chatbot too.
With analytics related to chatbot interactions you can improve personalization further.
By identifying your chatbot’s successes and failures, and your customers’ real life patterns of language and behavior, you can create better and more effective customer service content.
Our chatbot can greet your customers and guide them through the problem resolution process, whilst communicating your brand personality too. Get to know Dixa’s Chatbot here.
3. Leverage customer data with smart routing
Getting your customers to the most qualified agent for their query is another way to personalize their experience.
Smart routing based upon customer data means you can prioritize and assign customers to agents strategically, not randomly.
Take a look at these examples:
Smart routing from an e-commerce perspective: Choosing a queue/agent based upon a customer’s order size or Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV).
Smart routing from a marketing perspective: Choosing a queue/agent based upon the customer’s Lead Status.
Smart routing from a brand perspective: Choosing a queue/agent based upon a customer’s Net Promoter Score (NPS).
4. Offer an omnichannel customer support experience
Your customers don’t think about what channel they’re reaching out to you on. They just use the mode of communication they most feel like using at that particular moment.
They might pick up the phone, write an email, or click on your live chat icon. Alternatively, they may choose to contact you over social media or WhatsApp. Sometimes, they’ll contact you for the same problem, just on different channels. And this is where it can get tricky…
Customers are particularly sensitive to having to start from scratch and repeat information when switching channels. This frustration is one of the top reasons that customers cite when describing a “bad” service experience.
However your customers choose to get in touch, an omnichannel software solution means your customer service agents can provide a joined up experience across all channels.
They can recognize and greet customers by their first name. What’s more, with access to past interactions, they’ll find it easy to pick and continue the conversation, providing seamless customer support.
Offering an omnichannel experience helps you provide a personalized service that gives you an edge in today’s hyper-competitive market and means your customers never have to repeat themselves.
Customer service personalization made easy
There’s no getting around it: the current economic climate is challenging. But customer service personalization can help brands retain existing customers and maximize their value.
With the help of personalized interactions, omnichannel support, AI, and smart routing, customer service agents can better meet customer expectations. They can make customers feel heard, understood, and respected, driving loyalty and repeat purchases as a result.
If you’d like to learn more about how to improve customer retention and loyalty, our latest CX Insights report, Reconnecting the Customer Experience, is here to help.