Are you working on customer personalization strategies? They are an excellent way to build trust. And influence consumer behavior. We all like to be treated as individuals, and that is why personalized service builds loyalty.
Feelings have a critical role in the way customers are influenced.
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Personalization just means presenting information to a consumer that acknowledges whom he is and what his intentions are — to make his interaction more meaningful.
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Consumers favor personalization
It is very clear to retailers that today’s consumers love customization. A recent survey from MyBuys indicated that a record 40 percent of respondents said that they buy more from retailers who comprehensively personalize the shopping experience across channels. Additionally, shoppers love one-on-one personalization at the point of sale, as indicated by a Syngenta survey that revealed that not only would 3 in 4 respondents rather receive personalized coupons than generic, but 62 percent would find the checkout process more enjoyable if they received personalized coupons based on their purchases.
In a study from the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, researchers were able to increase the average tips that waiters received by over 23%, without significantly changing their service.
This was accomplished by having waiter’s follow-up with a second set of mints after they brought customers their check.
Waiters that brought mints but didn’t follow-up received an average of 7% less in their tips.
And from a different perspective, it pays to remember customers’ names and relevant information. It turns out that people are more attentive and interested when they hear their names. When working on building relationships, use names when appropriate.
Few sounds are as pleasant as hearing our names. And likewise, for example, nothing makes us feel less loved quite like a post-purchase email from ‘DO NOT REPLY.’
Areas to personalize
Personalize where ever you can. Even if you can’t invest in an e-commerce platform or development project to deliver personalized shopping, you can customize other areas.
Create landing pages for promotions, for repeat customers when they log in, or any other time you can create a custom experience.
Provide a method for customers to quickly return to the things they are interested in.
Offer complementary products along with a promotional coupon in your confirmation emails.
On phone and chat
If you talk or chat with a customer, offer her upsells and related items. Be sure to pull up the history of the client while you are talking to her and personalize the experience in some way.
Offer rewards to customize the customer experience and pay them to share more with you.
Include printed promotions for related products when you ship an order.
To help you navigate your way out of generic marketing messages, we’ve mapped out some simple tips to get you started on your journey to deep personalization your customers will love:
Personalization strategies … set examples
When you personalize your fans’ experience, it boosts their trust and loyalty. It also gives them a chance to take full ownership of and share the experience with their network.
A perfect example is where Heintz gave customers the opportunity to send personalized get well notes on soup cans to ailing friends. An excellent way to set and encourage good deeds.
An example from Taylor Swift
“I INVITED TAYLOR TO MY GRADUATION PARTY AND SHE SENT ME FLOWERS AND THIS CARD I LOVE YOU HONEY @taylorswift13,” an awesome example from Taylor Swift.
The 27-year-old singer’s message was personally addressed, starting off, “Ashley, Hi love! I’m so sad that I can’t make it to your graduation party!
She applauded the graduate, continuing, “I’m so proud of you, your hard work and dedication, your excitement and ambition. I’m very lucky that a girl like you cares about me.”
The sweet card also included an illustration of the New York skyline with a stick figure labeled, “You!” The card concluded, “Sending you my love and hugs (and to your family!). Love, Taylor.”
Research has shown us that mobile has the potential to offer shoppers the most relevant and unique personalized shopping experience. A recent study by Google indicates that 84 percent of smartphone shoppers use their devices to help them while they’re in a store, 63 percent of smartphone shoppers use search engines to look for promotional offers, and 44 percent of smartphones indicated that using a mobile device saves them money.
Add to your customers’ experience on social media by finding ways to create surprise and intrigue.
One option is to surprise fans with a random act of kindness. For example, reward your community with a discount code when you reach 20,000 fans. Also, send fans who go above and beyond in adding value to your company, product or service a handwritten note and gift.
When a young fan submitted a dragon drawing to Samsung to impress the brand, the company not only replied back with a great picture of a kangaroo on a unicycle but also took things one step further. Samsung sent the fan a Samsung phone, which included a case customized with the dragon drawing. Now that’s what you call a surprise!
You can always find unique ways to surprise customers. For example, companies can send fans a surprise on special occasions, such as after their first purchase, the one-year anniversary of their first purchase, their birthday or on seasonal holidays.
Surprises are a great way to build word-of-mouth marketing. They also encourage brand advocacy, because fans who get a treat are likely to share the experience with their network.
Leading supermarket chain Safeway knows that no two shoppers are the same, and now offers digital coupons and customized deals based on a customer’s buying history. The retailer has also started personalizing pricing on products as a reward for brand loyalty — based on the data collected from the client’s club card. This signals that price tags in the stores can be replaced with individualized pricing, offered through a website and rung up at the checkout stand when the club card is swiped.
Follow up with fans
Many companies offer great customer support on social media. They respond to comments promptly and ensure all customer questions have been answered. However, this is only half of the equation. To build long-term relationships with your fans, follow up. Ask your fans how they’re doing since your last contact.
Follow up with fans who commented on a recent blog post, posted on your wall or sent you a message. Also, send follow-up messages to those who previously inquired about your product or service, and to whom you already replied.
Some follow-ups are more extensive than others. Here’s how Nissan followed up with a customer who created a homemade video trying to sell his Nissan vehicle.
Following up lets your customers know you’re still interested and value their time. It also demonstrates that your company is reliable and genuinely cares about their happiness.
Put fun into everything
It’s hard to list all of the fun stuff going on at Thomas Foolery, but here are a few gems: If you order in an angry voice during “Angry Hour,” they’ll take a dollar off your order. They put stop watches in the restrooms. If you perform 30 seconds of Beyonce’s “Single Ladies,” they’ll give you a Ring Pop. You can also make your cocktail with a kit that includes mini-bottles, specialty soda, and candy.
Each one of these is a photo op, a word of mouth opportunity, and a reason to tell someone about Thomas Foolery — and none of them are that expensive or difficult to pull off.
Tell the stories everyone else is missing
Thousands of people a day come and go at any given deli or corner shop in New York. And for most customers, even if they shop there every day, it’s about getting in and getting out as fast as possible. What most people don’t think about is that behind the counter is someone with an absorbing story. So Deli sought to tell those stories, in short, illustrated interviews with owners of delicatessens across New York. They also print small, customized books and stickers for each one.
Interesting ideas and stories are all around you. Instead of fighting for attention with content that’s already covered to death, go for the stories no one else is telling.
Trust takes a long time to acquire, but only a matter of seconds to lose. The easiest way to maintain the trust of your community is to keep your promises. If you tell fans you’ll respond to their messages by 2 pm, then make sure you return no later than 2 pm. If your promotion ends on December 10, keep the promotion going on that date.
If you do make a mistake or end up with a social media crisis, the first thing you should do is own up. Admit to mistakes and take action to resolve the situation. This transparency lets your fans and customers know what happened and what you’re doing to fix it. As a result, customers’ trust in your company should remain intact.
You work so hard to acquire the trust of your fans and customers on social media. Do whatever you can to keep it.
Make it more interactive
A quick glance is typically the most interaction recruiters and hiring managers to give resumes. And with more applications submitted digitally, they’ll probably never even touch it. But one designer got his portfolio into potential employers’ hands by making it the “World’s Tiniest Portfolio.”
His postage-stamp-sized portfolio included minimalist graphic designs to represent his best work with a short description and a magnifying glass included. It forced companies to hold it in their hands, take the time to each page, and pay close attention to the details.
Share your values
A study published in the Harvard Business Review, which surveyed over 7,000 consumers, found that of those who had a strong relationship with the brand, 64% had said the number-one reason was shared values.
Since fans on social media tend to be more loyal to a company that shares their beliefs, share updates not only around your products or services but also posts that exemplify the core values of your organization.
Toyota supports non-profits with their “Cars for Good” campaign. People voted, and the top 100 non-profits were all awarded with a Toyota car or truck.
If your company has a strong view on a particular topic or issue, share it with your community. This does not have to be limited to issues within your niche. When your fans and customers relate to your core values, they’re more likely to stay loyal to your company and cause.
An impressive example
Many online stores have a history of what you have purchased and even your visits. They may know where you live, if you prefer expensive or low-priced items, and so forth. By using that information to deliver targeted content and promotions, they are personalizing your experience and making it a more positive one.
As an example of a retailer that effectively uses personalization to create a better customer experience, Amazon.com knows enough about you from previous contacts, purchase history, and other sources to structure special offers and buy recommendations well suited to your tastes. Amazon uses collaborative filtering to determine what music or books to recommend.
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The rental-car industry is no stranger to frustrated customers — and to differentiate itself from the pack and provide more personalized service, Hertz centrally stores all customer and payment data for the members of its #1 Gold Club program so that the clients don’t have to fill out repetitive forms every time they rent cars.
In this way, Hertz encourages frequent travelers to base their rental car decisions not only on price but also on the ability to save valuable time. Companies like Amazon, Hertz, and others that understand the value of loyalty strive to identify customer needs and present a customer experience that leaves them delighted, not just satisfied.
The bottom line
It is amazing how many ways there are to personalize customer engagement, aren’t there? They are everywhere all around us. What is keeping you from putting them to work for your business?
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Mike Schoultz is the founder of Digital Spark Marketing, a digital marketing and customer service agency. With 40 years of business experience, he blogs on topics that relate to improving the performance of your business. Find them on G+, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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