The term ‘personalisation’ is frequently thrown about whenever the topic of customer loyalty is raised. Companies are increasingly confronted with the consumer’s demand for a personalised experience. The result is that many have begun to include the concept into their customer retention strategies. Several stats reveal that more corporations are investing in personalisation to meet their customers’ expectations.
As personalisation continues to grow in relevance, it is important that companies understand what this concept entails. It is equally important that they avoid the pitfalls of the personalised experience. In this article, we explain exactly what those pitfalls are. We also offer some tips on personalisation that businesses should follow if they are looking to incorporate this into their marketing plans.
Just How Important is Personalisation?
Pretty important, it turns out. Research shows that today’s customer not only welcomes a personalised experience, they demand it. A recent Epsilon study concluded that 80% of consumers were more likely to purchase from brands that offered a personalised experience. Consumers crave a personal shopping experience so much that they are willing to divulge their behavioural data to organisations that can satisfy this craving.
Companies are well aware of the consumer’s desire for personalisation and are doing the best to cater to it. More than 50% of marketers have indicated that personalisation is now their main priority. More than 75% of digital marketers are investing heavily in tools to help them give that personalised experience. Companies are increasingly seeking to offer tailored, personalised deals through their customer loyalty programs. All the evidence suggests that businesses are catering to the needs of the consumer.
So, What’s The Problem?
On the face of it, there shouldn’t be an issue. Customers are searching for brands that offer a personalised customer experience, while more companies are striving to offer the experience demanded by the consumer. Yet, there exists quite a gap between customer expectations and company offerings. Studies show that only 22% of consumers are very satisfied with the level of personalisation being offered. Worse yet, more than 60% of consumers have indicated that they stop buying from businesses that provide a poor level of personalisation.
The divide, it would seem, lies in the quality of the offering, not the quantity. While businesses seem all too willing to offer personalisation as part of their marketing strategy, many do not seem to understand how to effectively implement it. During a recent survey of marketing influencers, more than 60% felt that data-driven personalisation was exceptionally difficult. Too many organisations have focused on collecting as much customer information as possible, thinking that more data equates to better personalisation. The opposite seems to be true.
Shift the Focus
While the stats may not make the best reading, it doesn’t mean that businesses should give up on including personalisation in their customer retention plans. If anything should be taken away from this, it is that personalisation holds tons of benefits for companies who get it right. What will be needed, however, is a shift in strategy. Instead of focusing on sales, personalisation strategies need to focus on the person. Companies who seek to build relationships with their customers beyond mere sales will invariably have greater success in developing that sought after experience.
Tips to Improve The Personalisation Experience
For any business looking to present the kind of personalised experience that customers will fall in love with, here are a few ideas to implement:
- Collect Quality, Relevant Data: Not every piece of client information is necessary. So don’t ask for everything. Try to restrict data collection to information that will enhance a customer’s relationship with a brand, not merely get them to the sale.
- Keep Things Private: The information that customers divulge should be treated with confidentiality. Loyal customers only remain loyal for as long as they can trust your company, so do everything to maintain that trust. Also, be transparent with your customers about why your company requires specific data and how you plan to use it.
- Make Messaging Personal: It might go without saying, but customers aren’t impressed by experiences which cater to people similar to them. They care about experiences that are tailored to them specifically. So, companies should go out of their way to let their customers know that this offer, package or deal was designed for them, not for people like them.
- Go Beyond The Sale: We’ve already mentioned this, but it’s worth repeating: personalisation should not be about the sale, but rather about the experience of the journey with a particular brand. The goal should be to meet the customer’s needs and expectations beyond the conclusion of the deal. Companies who grasp this philosophy will inevitably yield greater levels of customer retention.
- Keep Up With the Changing Times: Consumer preferences are changing at a greater rate than ever before. What is important today may matter very little tomorrow, and vice versa. To provide an optimal level of personalisation, companies need to stay abreast of the changes in the consumer needs and wants and do everything they can to adapt and meet those changing needs.
There is no doubt that rich rewards await those companies that successfully harness the power of personalisation. By meeting the expectations of the consumer, businesses will be able to create an incredible experience that draws not only existing customers but many new ones as well.
Yes, the pitfalls are real. But companies can easily navigate these pitfalls by simply focusing on the customer, not the sale. As demand for a personalised customer experience continues to grow, business owners may be left with no choice but to join the party, or otherwise risk being left behind.
If you’re keen to learn more about retention strategies that work, read our recent article on the subject which offers a bunch of tips and ideas to keep your customers coming back for more, time and time again.