As 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer a personalised experience, personalised CX needs to become the norm for brands. With the continual evolution of technology, customers expect more from their online and offline shopping experience. When brands personalise their customer experience, they demonstrate that they want to meet their customer’s individual needs. To meet their needs, you need to understand their sentiment towards your brand as well as your competitors. Businesses can do this by analysing and tracking their online opinions from social media posts and online product reviews. Analysis of this data will help you make personalisation key as it will help you avoid customer frustrations and make their journey more enjoyable.
How do you personalise customer experience?
Personalisation through AI and NLP
AI and NLP can help personalise your CX by helping you understand and respond appropriately and quickly to your customer’s needs. It can also help brands create tailored products and services for an individual and can use customer data to improve revenue and retain customers. For instance, Macy’s used an AI-powered bot to offer real-time responses to customers, merchandise recommendations and personalised offers for a better customer experience. AI and NLP can also be used to gather and analyse customer sentiments from product reviews.
A sentiment analysis tool can automatically help you make sense of this type of customer data. Analysing product reviews will help you improve your competitive advantage in your industry as you will discover your customer pain points, trends and any gaps in the market. If you wanted to gather and analyse feedback regarding the wireless headphones market, sentiment analysis could identify the topics that are important to customers like battery life tracking and noise cancellation that gives the customer the serenity that they desired.
Personalisation as a reward for loyalty
With only 37% of customers stating that points and rewards can secure their loyalty, truly personalised offers need to be relevant. Brands need to personalise their rewards to their customer’s needs of the moment personalisation according to relevance rather than rebates or discounts. Brands can depend on the loyalty of customers if a personalised reward appeals to them emotionally. For instance, it could be a reward that encourages them to donate to a cause that they care about or one that offers an exclusive experience.
For instance, Soul Cycle provides indoor fitness enthusiasts with a unique emotional and physical experience with every class. You work out in a dark room with blasting, uplifting music in union with other riders while the words’ LEGEND’ and ‘WARRIOR’ on the walls encourage you to keep at it even if it’s a gruelling task. It creates a relationship of meaning and an experience of belonging. You ride as a pack, and you improve your fitness goals as a pack. Riders are confident that staff will help them meet their goals no matter what.
According to Accenture, 91% of customers are more likely to buy from brands that recognise, remember and provide relevant offers and recommendations. Dynamic personalisation is the process of making it easier for customers to buy and consume what they want through algorithms. It collects historical demographic, behaviour and geolocation data to tailor every interaction your customer has with a brand.
For example, Helly Hansen, a European sailing and water sports brand, used geolocation technology to create personalised website experiences based on local weather conditions. This technology allowed the brand to create a tailored homepage experience that promoted rainwear if there was a rainy forecast predicted. When this was done in Germany over a rainy five-day period, Helly Hansen had an overall conversion rate increase of 170% for existing customers and 52% for new visitors.
Personalisation by way of email triggers
As personalised emails can produce six times higher transaction rates and revenue than non-personalised emails, it makes sense for brands to use email software that can automatically send personalised emails to customers, depending on their journey. For instance, BuzzFeed has created over 20 email newsletters that are personalised for a particular subscriber depending on their specific interests.
Caffè Nero also used a personalised email automation solution for its loyalty cardholders that increased ROI and resulted in 70% open email rates.
Personalisation without the friction
Customers want their needs met instantly. Removing any obstacles to their requirement for speed will be rewarded. Their frictionless customer experience will require immediate interactions, an enhanced personalised experience, digital technology that drives back-end and the customer-focused function as well as flexibility in purchase and delivery.
Furthermore, customers want quick replies to their issues on the channel of their choice. They are also willing to use self-service technology driven by AI if it means getting a faster resolution. If customers feel ignored, have to repeat themselves or do not receive quick answers, your brand will lose business.
Zappos understood this requirement for speed when it first started the company. They personalised CX for customers by shipping products by air overnight, which exceeded delivery expectations. Additionally, YOOX Net-a-Porter has capitalised on its mobile customers by creating a frictionless personalised CX for these customers. They have done this continually creating experiences for their mobile app through customised content and purchasing. These technology developments include the YOOX Mirror styling tool and the use of WhatsApp as another avenue for customers to chat with personal shoppers and purchase products.
Personalisation through location
45% of customers want brands to take account of their shopping interests and behaviour from every channel (in-store, website and app) to provide them with a better shopping experience overall. However, less than 10% of businesses used personalisation beyond digital channels in a structured manner.
To start improving their in-store personalisation for customer experience, brands can use smart LED lighting and can capture data from shoppers as they move through the store. Location-based technology also helped Fabletics allow customers to merge their online member profiles with their in-store visit so that they can receive personalised recommendations from employees. In the same way, Virgin Atlantic used location-based marketing to send push notifications to travellers that sent them tailored offers as they moved through the airport.
Personalisation through co-creation
Allowing customers to participate in the creation of a product or service helps them get what they want. Through co-creation, brands can empower them to create something that is their own. Customers are now emotionally invested in their creation, and this improves your ROI. For instance, beauty business Volition personalised its product design process by allowing customers to submit ideas for products on their website. If an idea gets approved, the consumer can work with a chemist to bring their ideas to life.
Personalisation as a business model
Some businesses use personalisation to rule their entire business model. This feature means that they can deliver a personalised experience for every customer at any time. Clothing retailer Stitch Fix does this by offering personalised style recommendations for every customer based on their sizes, personal preferences and feedback. Stitch Fix used AI and human personal stylists to assess user-profiles and provide expert clothing recommendations.
In the same way, online tool Function of Beauty allows customers to create their hair products based on their hair goals, needs and preferences. Technology developed by scientists and engineers from MIT then uses a customer’s preferences to create a unique formula that works for their hair.
Personalisation will continue to transform CX and shape what customers need from a product or service. Brands can use personalisation in a variety of ways to create a shared experience that taps into the customer’s identity and ideals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alon is a Tel Aviv-based Cheif Marketing Officer who supports b2b tech startups in capturing customers’ (and VCs’) attention through marketing based on data-driven storytelling.