Consumers can feel extremely disappointed when companies don’t get the little things right. For example, I frequently stay at hotels and always ask for a room away from the elevators; however, many hotels don’t have the tools in place to track my preferences. If they did, they would automatically know my room preference every time I make a reservation, making it easier both for me as a customer, and the hotel. This is all part of what can make or break a customer experience (CX). For consumers, small things matter, such as knowing someone has children, what products they already own, and promoting what is relevant to them. It’s important for CX and marketers to keep this in mind to create the best customer experiences possible.
While yes, getting the little things right sounds like a simple concept, it is definitely complex for large businesses to do so. These organizations need coordinated mechanisms to record customer preferences, common history, a standard set of rules, and then a way to surface key information and recommended actions to all customer facing staff and systems.
Sometimes, it can be hard for organizations to realize the value of the “touchy feely” elements of customer service. Why? It could be because it’s challenging to see the cumulative value and they can’t envision or measure the overall benefits derived by connecting these dots. However, simple improvements to customer experience – applied one step at a time – build upon each other and ultimately create tremendous results.
Everyone agrees that having a 360-degree view of the customer is valuable, but large organizations struggle to build and provide it for a variety of reasons including constant acquisitions, distributed staff, legacy technologies, and siloed systems – or worse, simply losing sight of customer centricity. As the reasons build up, competitors can swoop in with new technology and agility, and fill the customer experience vacuum. Although these players may be disruptive, usually they aren’t employing earth shattering methods or technology.
As pressure builds, large entrenched players are forced to take stock. They reflect on expensive efforts that didn’t meet ROI promises, such as failed Data Warehouse and CRM efforts, and can be understandably hesitant to invest in additional technology. But it’s important not to give up, because personalization is all the rage these days, and it’s surprisingly easy to do. Just make sure to implement technology that helps you remember all the little things about customers, and make them feel special. That, in a nut shell, is personalization.
Here are five examples of what I like to call CX “no-brainers” and how they can impact your organization:
- Getting little things like names right is really important, and I would know thanks to having a tricky name. My name is Vince Jeffs – not Jeff Vincent, and that mix up happens a lot (especially because another Pega employee is named Jeff Vincent!). When a brand I interact with repeatedly confuses my name, it makes me feel as though they don’t know me.
- Tactfully leverage personal details, such as information about a customer’s family, including children and pets. If that customer tells you something about them (like their names or gender), record that. Keeping track of this information and using it considerately matters in a big way. Document product interest and purchase activity, whether based on search, surfing behavior, or traditional conversations and transactions. Incorporate that knowledge into your near term marketing efforts. Customers will love when you send personalized and relevant offers.
- Keep track of birthdays and anniversaries. On that special day, wish that customer well. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone complain about being wished a Happy Birthday.
- Demonstrate you are aware of and appreciate a customer’s loyalty. Keep RFM (recency, frequency, monetary) statistics and use it astutely. It makes a difference when a customer service representative acknowledges that a customer has been loyal for 10 years and thanks them for their business.
- Remember something really unique about each customer, and use it judiciously. If I mention I love blues guitar, and you cater to that later by recommending shows in the area, it will make an impact and will in turn make me a more loyal customer. When it comes to customers, ditch the mass segmenting and assumptions, and go instead with their individual preferences.
Your goal is to do this at scale, while executing like the corner bakery. Remember, it will take time to connect to data sources and customer channels, but in less than six months, your foundation will be in place. In mega firms, there will be people telling you it can’t be done, but it can be. Start with one or two channels, a single business purpose, and build decision strategies driven by a customer profile. Assemble a library of actions associated with the business purpose, then rank these actions and execute on them. By implementing your own “no-brainers,” you will create very happy customers who will stay loyal to your brand for years to come.