Three Ways to Put the “Custom” in the Customer Journey

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No one wants to feel like a number. We are distinct individuals, special and one-of-a-kind, with unique needs and wants. Whether you call it “Cult of Individualism,” “Special Snowflake Syndrome,” or some other derisive slang term, we are all guilty of its pervasive symptoms, most notably the steadfast conviction that our very identity and self-worth comes from our distinctiveness.

Smart companies recognize this common human characteristic and nurture it when they personalize the customer experience. From a teller addressing a customer by name at the bank, to personalized pop-up ads appearing on a customer’s Facebook page, to a barista carefully drawing a customer’s zodiac symbol in her cappuccino foam on her birthday, providing truly personalized customer experiences isn’t something that comes easy or without financial investment. So, why do these companies bother? The short answer is because it works.

But, while personalizing the customer experience in real time is effective, it’s often difficult. In fact, the Direct Marketing Association found that while 77 percent of companies surveyed believe real-time personalization is crucial, 60 percent struggle to personalize in real-time. With other studies pointing to the fact that consumers say they won’t do business again with a company based on a single negative experience, it’s never been more critical for organizations to show customers value them by providing the personalized, loyalty-inspiring customer service and engagement they demand.

Here are three ways to make personalizing customer experiences easy.

1. Map the customer journey

Customer journey mapping provides an analysis and visual depiction of customers’ experiences across all interaction touch points and channels. Some benefits of journey mapping include improved processes by identifying ways to share customer data between associates and channels, cost savings by eliminating duplication of efforts, an enhanced customer experience, and, most critical for personalization, minimized data gaps and siloes to collect and share data.

2. Integrate customer channels

It’s important to remember that the customer experience isn’t found in individual transactions. Instead, companies need to focus on all aspects of the journey, with individual customized interactions coalescing into one cohesive, personalized journey. With up to 45 percent of total customer interactions taking placing over mobile devices, companies need to accommodate their customers through the channels they use. Whether a company’s customers contact associates by email, phone, mobile chat, or Twitter, it’s all the same. A company has one face and that face needs to be consistent from channel to channel, so each channel offers the same personalized experience.

3. Give associates a 360-degree view into the integrated customer journey

Companies whose associates are able to see the entire customer journey are able to more efficiently resolve issues and generate opportunities for increased sales and upselling through insightful, personalized product, or service suggestions. This 360-degree view is enabled through access to real-time and historical data for each transaction, via every channel. For example, if a customer is shopping in a department store’s mobile app, chats with an associate about payment options, then clicks to call to speak to another associate by phone, the answering associate should have access to all the individual components of the instant transaction. They should also have access to past interactions, such as previous purchases or credit requests. Having this all-encompassing view of the customer journey not only saves time by avoiding the rehash of information, but serves to bolster the notion that companies are paying attention and invested in the relationship.

Ultimately, when organizations implement these three steps effectively, the result is loyalty-inspiring, brand-differentiating customer experience.   

Our Customer Journey Outcomes Solution has the personalization tools necessary to drive life-long customer relationships. Find out more here.

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