With the rise of customer centricity, retailers now need to focus on optimizing the customer journey through personalization. Today, the online customer is empowered with information, choice and opportunity, and getting them to choose your brand is a lot more than just price and product. It’s about the whole experience.
It’s true that one-to-one marketing techniques have always been around. However, with the evolving technological landscape of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and continued growth of mobile, targeted campaigns are more important than ever. Personalization is a conversation that needs to take center stage if businesses want to remain competitive.
Here are some of the ways that retailers can bring personalization into their CX strategy right now.
Use Data to Personalize Survey Questions
Voice-of-the-customer (VoC) programs are an integral part of CX management, but surveys should be personalized in order to garner quality data. Surveys that are adapted to individuals not only help to obtain valuable answers to in-depth questions for retailers, but they create a more accurate response.
Additionally, research shows that 79 percent of consumers expect brands to get to know them on a personal level and provide tailored experiences — this includes surveys and after-sales care. Show your customers that you know them by personalizing the survey process, and use existing customer data to avoid asking things you already know. By using information from past shopping activity, you can tap into a conversation that's already relevant to the customer.
Personalization in VoC can increase response rate, improve data quality, and gain better insight to help you close the feedback loop successfully.
Encourage Conversational Feedback
As technology progresses, questionnaires will become obsolete and multiple choice will be replaced with artificial intelligence-powered natural language processing (NLP) in order to capture "real" thoughts. We will see a shift from point-based survey methods, and retailers will need to find ways to interact with their customers on a more advanced level.
Text analytics can process customer responses, turning words into insight, and the use of chatbots will make surveys appeal to the digital generation. Plus, machine learning allows retailers to completely customize their survey questions for individuals, creating better survey experiences and gaining better quality answers.
Create an Omnichannel Experience
Customers don't want to connect with a brand in silos. Instead, they want a connected experience. Your social channels should link up with your CRM, and stores must link up with your web. Multichannel simply isn’t enough for millennial and Gen Z shoppers; they now expect seamless integration for an omnichannel experience.
CX managers will need to ensure there's consistency across all channels, and customer-facing representatives will need to connect with customers via their chosen platform in order to keep it personal. Customize your approach by communicating in the channels each customer prefers, whether it be email, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or WeChat. This is important when running a VoC program, as people no longer want to be reached through email alone. Getting to know individual preferences will become paramount.
In addition to personalizing survey communication methods, retailers should also merge in-store data with online data to keep marketing as relevant and as up-to-date as possible.
Leverage Geolocation Technology
One key point to bear in mind with surveys is that “customers provide higher quality feedback when asked closer to the point of experience.” This is why location-based surveys, delivered close to the point of sale, are such an invaluable insight tool. They can help retailers gather feedback when brain recall is at its peak. And for mobile users, there are many forms of media that can be captured in a survey. This includes photos and videos, which can make the process convenient for the customer while giving them a textured, more interactive encounter with your brand.
Not only can location technology help the retailer with accurate data, but location personalization enriches the customer journey and improves their experience too. And as the demand for omnichannel grows, understanding location will become all the more important to CX.
Kimberly Holbrook is the sales director for the automotive division at MaritzCX, a customer experience software and market research company.
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Kimberly Holbrook is the Sales Director for the Automotive division at MaritzCX. Ms. Holbrook spent 20 years in the auto finance industry working for various companies—including Bank of America, Chase Auto Finance and Ford Motor Credit Company—specializing in the various aspects of territory/portfolio management, business development and financial services.