Exceptional customer service is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity. In order to attract loyal customers today and experience long-term success, businesses need to provide customers with a unique and memorable experience, including their customer service experience. Personalization is key to delivering this kind of thoughtful, attentive customer service and can give your business a competitive edge in today’s crowded marketplace. In fact, according to research conducted by Forrester, 77% of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience. Millennials are especially passionate about doing business with companies that deliver excellent service and are even willing to spend 21% more on them, the highest out of any other group.
Personalizing your customer service experience can have a number of positive benefits for your business including: increasing customer satisfaction, engagement, loyalty, retention and revenue. Personalization is an important strategy for your team to implement now as customer expectations continue to rise and competition remains stiff.
Here are 5 successful ways you can deliver a more personalized customer experience today:
1. Address customers by their name
Research reveals that human brains react differently when you hear your own name called. This implies that hearing your name prompts a very specific brain function. This could explain why customers feel more valued and find interactions with brands who refer to them by their name more memorable. In order to accomplish this, make sure your customer service software has customer recognition capabilities across all channels so agents know who they are speaking to the second the customer reaches out.
Learning your customer’s name and using it when addressing them may sound too simplistic to even make an impact, but this gesture goes a long way in terms of connecting with them and establishing trust. Additionally, having agents use their own name when speaking to customers, whether it’s over the phone, on chat or on email, is equally as important. When customers know they are speaking to a real person, it adds a level of humanity to the interaction and establishes a more meaningful connection between you and your customers.
2. Recognize & reward loyalty
Let your loyal customers know you appreciate them by thanking and rewarding them for their business. It can be as modest as sending an occasional handwritten thank you note, offering a spontaneous discount, or a complimentary product or service. If you collect your customers’ birthdays, wishing them a happy birthday or giving them a discount on such an occasion is also a thoughtful way of acknowledging them on a more personal level. Essentially, whatever you’re offering, it should communicate that you value them as a loyal customer. Failing to recognize your customers for their loyalty puts your business at risk of losing customers due to perceived indifference.
3. Offer several customer service channels
Some customers have preferences when it comes to channels while others simply use whatever channel is convenient to them in the moment they need assistance. Providing your customers with choices when reaching out to your customer support shows your customers that you’re considerate and mindful enough to recognize their preferences and needs. Implementing several ways to get in touch imparts a sense of personalization and lets customers use whichever mode they prefer. However, it’s important to mention here that you must be able to respond and resolve customer inquiries within all of the channels you offer. Otherwise, you will be making your customers switch away from their preferred channel, which creates an unenjoyable, burdensome customer experience.
4. Leverage customer data
One of the most important aspects of delivering personalized customer support is being able to make your customers feel like you know them, their history with your business and their preferences. No customers wants to have to repeat themselves or feel like another ticket number to your business, customers actually want to feel like your business cares about them individually. In fact, 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, or knows their purchase history. In order to accomplish this and make your customers feel valued, you must be able to leverage the data you currently have on your customers while assisting them (conversation history, order history, tracking, lifetime value etc.). This means implementing customer service software that can display relevant customer data from your other systems to agents.
Additionally, more and more customers are now growing to expect this level of personalized service and even become frustrated when they are confronted with anything impersonal or irrelevant to them. A recent study conducted by Microsoft found that 72% of respondents expect agents to already know who they are, what they've purchased and have insight into their previous engagements.
5. Empower agents to give recommendations
A great way to empower your agents and offer your customers with a more personalized support experience is by giving agents the freedom to navigate the conversation without having to stick to a script. This allows for a more natural, human interaction to occur and enables agents to offer customers with relevant product recommendations based on their previous purchases and preferences. It even gives agents the opportunity to upsell and contribute directly to sales, which makes them feel more connected to their company and fulfilled as an employee.
Encourage agents to engage with customers when appropriate to spark a more personal tone. Asking questions regarding how a customer enjoyed their previous order not only gives agents valuable insight into what other products they may enjoy, but it also shows the customer that your business is acknowledging them as a loyal, return shopper. All these small interactions reveal a tremendous amount about how a business thinks of their customers, which can become a competitive advantage for some and a detriment to others.
Reap the rewards of personalized service
Customers today have made it quite clear that they deeply value a personalized customer experience, including customer support. Not only are they willing to pay more for such an experience, but they are also more likely to tell others of their experience and remain loyal customers as a result. By tailoring customer service interactions based on a customer’s needs, preferences and previous interactions with your business, you can establish stronger bonds with your customers that will bring your business more value over time. Put these tips into action so your business can reap the benefits of delivering a personalized and memorable customer service experience.
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