Customer Experience News & Trends

Is it time to rethink your personalization strategy?

Are you personalizing the customer experience more than ever? It might be time to rethink your strategy. Here’s why. 

Within the next five years, 80% of companies that have invested in personalizing the customer experiences will abandon their efforts because they struggle to manage all the data and don’t get a significant return on the investment.

The struggles with personalization

“High budgets come with high expectations,” say the researchers behind the Gartner Top Marketing Predictions 2020: Balancing Trust with Insights. “Yet returns on personalization investments remain hard to quantify.”

That’s because most personalization efforts often aren’t aligned with the sources that measure the customer experience – such as Net Promoter Score and customer satisfaction metrics. So resources dumped on personalization efforts – such as targeted email campaigns, social media blasts and customized sales campaigns – can’t be quantified on the results end.

How to make personalization matter, pay off

But don’t think it’s time to throw personalization out the window. It’s still important to the experience and customer loyalty.

Customer experience professionals “should be viewing personalization as a table-stakes requirement of customer retention and lifetime value,” says Garin Hobbs, director of strategic sales at Iterable. “Almost any improvement you introduce to your customer experience is likely to bring an initial lift in performance, simply because it’s new.”

A better bet: “… Stick with it and continue to innovate,” Hobbs says. “Personalization should be viewed as critical to the holistic experience of the customer, rather than measured as an element of campaign-level performance. Competitive viability and sustainable growth seem like damn good ROI in an ever-crowded marketplace.”

Gartner researchers agree: Go back to the basics with personalization efforts, they say.

Five keys:

  • Create a clear strategy for personalizing the experience. It’s a lot more than scheduling a series of email to customers who buy a certain product. Understand who you want to establish a lifetime relationship with – high-potential customers – and why it’s important.
  • Offer more choices. Customers want the personalized experience with and through the format that’s most convenient to them. So offering more channels and letting them choose the optimal channel(s) for communication needs to be a keystone in your personalization plan. The message might be the same, but it needs to be available through the channel they choose.
  • Develop (or redevelop) customer profiles. Get input from sales, marketing and service on who they work with most and what those types of customers want.
  • Ramp up self-service. Many customers’ idea of a personalized experience is one that doesn’t have to involve other people! They want access, answers and capabilities to manage their accounts at times most convenient to them. That calls for a robust self-service platform. You want protected portals that include up-to-date FAQs, video instructions, step-by-step problem-solving, and purchase, tracking and account history capabilities.
  • Gather and use customer feedback relentlessly. You can improve and evolve the personalized customer experience by finding out what customers like, hate, want and expect constantly. That can’t be done with online surveys alone. Regularly gather insight from sales and service pros who interact with customers every day. Go back to good, old-fashion focus groups.

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