Personally-relevant content is considered a determining factor by 78% of consumers in their purchase decisions. This means that delivering a personalised customer experience is central to any Customer Relationship strategy. At least, it should be! Amazon suggests additional products, Netflix suggests new TV shows, Facebook personalizes our news feed, supermarkets give us discounts on our favourite products, etc. There is no shortage of examples of personalized customer experiences. But what exactly does a personalised customer experience entail?
Customer expectations are higher than ever
Personalised customer experience has become a hot topic these days. This is because we, as consumers, have high expectations in the matter. In the age of real-time responsiveness, agility and omnichannel communication, we expect companies to keep apace. Most of all, we expect them to do this in a consistent way throughout the Customer Journey. The stakes are high: more than 2/3 of consumers have already switched brands because of poor quality of service (Customer experience trends for 2019 : Building the organization of the future).
Companies are making significant investments to meet the expectations of their customers: it is estimated that, at a global level, businesses invest USD 1.3 trillion on customer service. And yet, customer retention is as challenging as ever. This means that keeping an ecosystem satisfied is not simply a matter of investing money. Companies have to approach this from a different perspective. So, what can we expect for 2019?
Experience personalization trends
Back to basics
Dutta Satadip, Global head of customer operations for Pinterest, explains that “Customer expectations are being redefined every day and the ability to meet basic expectations is table stakes. […] Personalization at scale will continue to grow as a trend that will enable distinctive and memorable experiences”. A study by Corinium and Conversocial showed that personalisation is the fourth most important criterion in the customer experience, after meeting customer expectations, building a strong rapport and addressing customer conflicts. This demonstrates just how important it is to get these fundamentals right before even attempting to explore personalization.
Mastering the codes of social messaging apps
The figures say it all: WhatsApp has 1.5 billion active users per month; Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion; WeChat has 1 billion.
Why are instant messaging apps so successful? They keep the entire history of each conversation and they are multi-device, meaning you can switch from a smartphone to a tablet or a laptop without losing track of the conversation. These consumption habits operated a shift in the kind of relationship customers expect their brands to offer them.
Statistically, 62% of companies consider that they are already successfully personalising their interactions with customers. This, however, should be nuanced in light of the fact that 44% of companies still struggle to achieve a single, unified view of their customers. This means that offering an omnichannel and seamless customer experience deserves a great deal of attention.
Understanding the stakes of automation
2016 was clearly the year of the chatbot. It received massive media coverage and led to the emergence of a number of tools which turned out to be not all that useful. It is only now, some years later, that businesses are starting to understand how they can leverage automation to bring value for their customers. It is estimated that in 2019, 4 out of 10 large businesses will implement a chatbot and/or smart virtual assistants (Spiceworks study). Why? Because a growing number of consumers expect to be able to use this channel to contact a company. For more on this topic, read our article: “Why you need Chatbots for your call centre”.
Automation, therefore, is about offering timely, comprehensive and consistent answers to your customers, while also freeing up time for your employees so they can focus on more value-adding tasks. Human employees still have an important role to play in bringing emotion and empathy to the Customer Relationship. Automation is also a great tool for building targeted and relevant marketing campaigns which are aligned with the customer journey.
If you want to keep up with the expectations of your customers, the three major trends in customer experience personalisation are: getting the fundamentals right; adapting to new uses of technology; and automation.