Top 6 Ways to Personalize Customer Experience for Online Business
With so many businesses turning to the world wide web, and adopting online shopping culture, there’s a growing demand for personalized customer experience (CX). But the concept of personalizing customer experience has somewhat evolved since we began transitioning into the digital age.
In the past, business owners could change something about their shop, or act differently in front of customers, in an attempt to ‘personalize’ customer experience. But with more people shopping from behind a screen, these options are no longer viable.
A 2018 research by Epsilon showed that 80% of consumers are more likely to buy when businesses personalize the shopping experience for their customers. It was also discovered that, people who found personalized experiences appealing were 10 times more likely to become fans of the brand.
So what can an online store owner do with this information?
With so many products online and increasingly fierce competition, it’s quite clear how important customer experience can be for a business. But it’s not exactly clear-cut how online business owners can improve on this.
Hopefully, this article can shed some light on how to apply a personalized CX to your business.
What Exactly is Personalized Customer Experience?
For the sake of this example, think back to your most recent repeat purchase at a physical store. You’ve been there before so the shop itself would have been familiar to you.
Do you remember the name of the person that was serving you? Were there any promotions catered specifically to you? Did they know your name? Was the purchasing process quick and seamless? Did anything — from the moment you walked in, to the moment you walked out — make you feel like you were welcome there? If none of the above, then we can assume that personalized customer experience was non-existent at that store.
Personalized customer experience happens when a business remembers a return customer, and adjusts the way they conduct their business in response to that specific customer.
For example, receiving an ‘on the house’ dish from a chef for coming back to their restaurant, is a good example of how to personalize an experience.
In simple terms, you can think of it as special treatment catered to a specific person, for being loyal to the business.
How to Personalize Customer Experience Online
Personalization gets a bit more tricky when we take customers online.
Let’s say you’re running an online fashion store. We can’t exactly offer ‘on the house’ sneakers or t-shirts, let alone determine who to send them to — since we don’t exactly know who’s on your site at any given moment.
But there are more than a few ways to overcome this. Here are some ways to get started:
- Optimize your site for a seamless shopping experience.
- Get a CX platform that helps improve service.
- Speed up your first response.
- Don’t just listen to customer feedback, apply them.
- Personalize messages, greetings, and even promotions.
- Build a genuine relationship with customers.
Some of these points might seem self-explanatory, but it’s important to realize the implications of what these mean in an online setting. I’ll provide more detail in the next few sections.
1. Optimize Your Site For a Seamless Shopping Experience
In terms of personalization, this one’s debatable. But I included it on the list because I felt it should be addressed before even thinking about other steps.
One of the most common mistakes business owners make, is assuming that, because they understand how their site works, everyone else will too — unfortunately, this isn’t the case. There is nothing worse than a complicated webpage that’s impossible to navigate when shopping.
Having a site that’s pleasing to the eye is definitely important. But if there’s too much going on, it could take away from the experience, and your customers are going to feel detached from your brand.
Keep things simple and make sure your that your site is optimized to provide a seamless shopping experience at all times.
2. Get a CX platform that helps improve service
CX platforms are growing in popularity among e-commerce and online business owners all over the world — and for good reason.
A CX platform allows you to communicate with customers, collect and manage their information, and use automation features that can help personalize customer experience for each individual customer.
Even if you don’t remember every single customer, the customer relationship management (CRM) features, that normally come with these CX platforms, will. The platform can provide a number of different information, such as:
- their name, age, and location
- contact information
- measurements or buying preferences
- past conversations with your agents
- past purchases
- and more!
A CX platform is definitely worth looking into, if you don’t already have one. It’ll help you stay informed on who you’re talking to, and understand how to approach them.
Just make sure it fits with your business needs. It wouldn’t make sense to install an expensive new software that’s so heavy with features, that it makes the customer experience worse.
3. Speed up Your First Response
When customers have questions, one thing you should avoid — if you’re looking to increase sales — is keep customers waiting on a response.
Yes, it’s important for you to get organized and find quality answers for your customers, but if you take too long on your first response, they could lose interest by the time you reach them.
Even if you’ve taken a reasonable time to respond with an answer, the issue isn’t how long you actually take, but rather, their perception of how long they’ve waited. Because every customer’s perception can vary, it’s important to stay consistent in your response times.
One way you can improve this, is by letting them know that you’ve received their questions, and that you’ll get back to them with an answer shortly. A gentle confirmation that they’re not being ignored, could be enough to convince them to wait for your answer — rather than go for the X in the corner of their browser.
4. Don’t Just Listen to Customer Feedback, Apply It
Customers can have a lot to say about your product. If you’re not listening to their feedback at all, you should start by finding a way to speak to them first. If you’re listening, make sure to apply some of the feedback you receive.
Applying customer feedback to your business shows customers that their opinions matter, and creates a very personalized experience for them in the long-run. When customers feel like they have a part to play in your business, they’re more likely to stay loyal to your brand.
That being said, it wouldn’t make sense for you to go and make drastic changes to your business all at once. Just because customers are telling you to change this or that, doesn’t mean you should.
Make sure to take a moment to think deeply about why they’re asking for those changes, or why they’re giving you that particular feedback. There could be underlying issues that are not being addressed, and customers are providing you with feedback in response to those problems.
A customer might ask you to add more variety to your product list, but it could be that your site is hard to navigate, and customers aren’t being exposed to your entire catalogue — yikes!
5. Personalize Messages, Greetings and Even Promotions
In the movie “Minority Report” — starring Tom Cruise — there’s a scene where the main character walks through a shopping mall filled with eye scanners, that identify and greet him by name, while making recommendations based on his body type. This would be the epitome of personalized customer experience.
And although the movie was fictional, there’s a way to recreate a similar experience online, using the CX platforms I mentioned above.
CRM features on these platforms keep a record of who the customer is, and you can customize messages, greetings, and promotions to include their names. Some platforms will even allow you to predetermine what types of promotions would most likely work on specific customers.
Something as simple as greeting a customer by name or recognizing who the customer is, can have massive benefits for your business.
6. Build a Genuine Relationship With Customers.
At the end of the day, customers are people. They interact with your products and services, and they feel a certain way about them before, during, and after the purchase.
Building and maintaining a relationship will not only help you understand your customers better, but will also make customers feel welcome.
If a customer feels invested in your brand, they’re more likely to come back and make repeat purchases. They’re also more likely to refer friends and family towards the business they’ve built a relationship with — as opposed to one they feel no attachment to.
Customers that come to your site, make a purchase and leave — without interacting with anybody — may be convenient for you and your business, but you’d be losing out on an opportunity to gain customer loyalty in the long-run.
Creating a Personalized Customer Experience
Some of you reading this blog may still be scratching your heads wondering where you should start.
If you have an online business and you’re looking to create a more personalized customer experience, you should start by looking into a CX platform — like Channel Talk — that’s designed to simplify interactions between online businesses and their customers.
From there, you can try to apply some of the tips I’ve mentioned above, to see how it improves customer experience for your brand.
I hope that this blog has been informative, and can help you create a more personalized customer experience for your valued customers.