6 Ways To Provide Personalized Customer Service
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In our modern, highly competitive marketplace, customer service is everything. Excellent customer service is vital to building a large base of loyal customers, as well as a strong reputation that will help you attract new clients.
One of the best ways to set your brand apart and take your customer service to the next level is by providing a personalized customer service experience. This level of personal service echoes back to an era when people shopped in local stores and shopkeepers knew them by name.. Tailoring the experience to the needs and preferences of individual customers will provide them with the highest level of customer service.
6 Best Ways To Provide Personalized Customer Service
There are a variety of ways you can provide truly personalized customer service, and here are 6 of the best ways to do it.
1. Always Use Your Customer’s First Name
This is customer service personalization 101. It is absolutely essential to use your customer’s name whenever you interact with them. The reason for this goes back to one of the basic tenets of customer service, rooted in psychology. When you use someone’s name, you acknowledge their importance, which plays into their ego – a powerful force to leverage! It is also a great way to capture someone’s attention, as we are psychologically conditioned to pay attention to our own name. Research supports this theory, showing that people are simply more likely to buy from someone who remembered their name.
So make sure you always use your customer’s name when talking to them, be it via email, phone, chat or automated communications. With the range of tools and technologies available today, there is no excuse not to. You can automate bulk emails to include each recipient’s name, program your site to greet account holders by name every time they visit. Of course, this is even easier when it comes to direct communication. Addressing customers by name should be a part of every customer service SOP (standard operating procedure).
This email from TripAdvisor is a classic but effective example of using the user’s name in both the subject line and address line of an automated email:
Picture 1. TripAdvisor automated email example
2. Know Your Customer
It is not enough to just know your customer’s name. When they contact you, you should know their full history with your company. This should include their purchase history, preferences, and any past issues they experienced. It is especially important to keep a detailed log of any ongoing complaints or issues since there is nothing more frustrating for customers than having to repeat their problem multiple times to different representatives of the same company.
Knowing specific details about your customers, whether it’s an issue they reported or their order history, helps provide a level of personalized service that makes them feel valued. Whether it is information about an issue they have, or simply their regular order. Of course, you’ll need to keep detailed records on every customer in order to achieve this, but this is not difficult to do thanks to the wide range of CRM systems available to businesses of all sizes.
3. Give Your Agents More Freedom
Since customer service has (rightfully) become one of the top priorities for many companies, it has come to include a great deal of infrastructure. Most organizations now have extensive customer service policies, templates, and standards. Although designed to improve customer service and are valuable in many ways, these rigid structures can also be very limiting to customer service agents. In many cases, these kinds of rules make customer service interactions dry, standardized and deeply impersonal.
Empowering your agents to interact in a more authentic manner enables you to create a more personalized customer service experience. This doesn’t mean you need to risk giving agents free-range, however. You can still have firmly set rules and policies while allowing (or indeed encouraging) your team to be more personal within these guidelines. You can equally allow your helpdesk agents to be creative and think outside the box when interacting with customers.
4. Listen to Feedback
Feedback is a powerful customer service tool. It is extremely useful for companies as it allows them to improve their products, services, and procedures to meet the needs of the people they are designed to support: their customers. Additionally, the very act of collecting customer feedback shows people that you appreciate their opinion.
Although collecting feedback is effective in itself, it is most powerful when a company proves that they are listening by implementing the suggestions they receive. One survey found that 55% of respondents would be likely to stop using a company’s products or services if (they felt) their feedback was ignored.
In order to deliver great, personalized customer service, here is what you should do once you have received customer feedback:
- Acknowledge their feedback with a personalized response.
- If the feedback is valid, implement relevant changes within your company.
- Report back to your customers and tell them about the changes you have made based on their feedback.
5. Be Personal in Both Directions
Personalization in customer service doesn’t refer only to the customer. Personalization does not only refer to the customer’s end. Agents should also adopt a more friendly, relatable approach that helps them build rapport with the people on the other end of the line. Since the agent is perceived as the face of a company, their demeanor directly influences customers’ trust in the brand.
Agents can make themselves more personable in a variety of ways, most of them fairly simple. We have already witnessed the power of using first names, and this works in this context also. Customer service agents can start by introducing themselves by name, whether by phone, email or chat. A picture of the agent, whether it’s a chat avatar or an email profile picture, also helps add a personal touch. This approach can also be applied in more subtle ways, by relating to the customer in a personal, individual fashion. This could range from simply making small talk (asking about the weather etc.) to sharing personal details about themselves, where appropriate.
6. Give Users a Personalized Website Experience
Perhaps you never thought about it this way, but the experience your users get when they visit your website is part of their overall customer experience. Therefore, providing a great user experience is part of good customer service. Research confirms the effectiveness/efficacy of website personalization: according to a 2016 study by Everage, 89% of U.S. marketers reported an increase in revenue following website personalization. You can use custom overlay, special messages and displays aimed towards specific users to achieve that individualized website experience.
Whether you choose to hire a web developer or to create a free website yourself, be sure to include targeted content specific to the purchase history or other information you know about a specific customer. For example, if you sell online courses, you could make sure your site displays information about level 2 of a course to users who have already completed the level 1 course.
Amazon has been the leader in this kind of personalization for a long time, displaying recommended products based on purchase and viewing history:
Picture 2. Amazon personalization example
Popups are another great way to personalize user experience on your site. They can be used in a number of ways and at different points during a user’s visit, most commonly at entry or exit. They can also be customized based on a user’s history or their recent activity. Using popups at the point of exit is arguably more effective, as visitors had already spent some time on your site at that point, making them more receptive to your call to action.
Here is a great example of an effective exit-intent popup from Diamond Candles prompting users to proceed to checkout with a special offer:
Picture 3. Diamond Candles pop-up
Personalized Customer Service Wrap-Up
As our modern, global marketplace grows more competitive by the minute, consumers are faced with an increased number of options. One of the best ways to set yourself apart is through exemplary, personalized customer service. There are a variety of ways to give your clients a truly personal experience, including using their name and purchase history, allowing agents to adopt a more individual approach, and by providing a tailored website experience. Employing a few of these tactics will help you build strong relationships and encourage repeat business, thus making it invaluable in growing your business.
Tom Buckland is a digital marketing and Amazon seller consultant specializing in technical SEO, product listing optimization and improving Amazon rankings. He’s the founder of Amazonseoconsultant.com in the UK and loves helping businesses profit through smart digital marketing strategies.
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