As the world of ecommerce rapidly expands, with new brands joining the fray every day, gaining and retaining customers is of the utmost importance. Companies are navigating a competitive landscape, and they need to be proactive about focusing on the value of loyalty as a cornerstone of long-term success. In practice, this translates to brands concentrating on customer retention rather than customer acquisition.
At the heart of this retention effort and the loyalty economy is personalization, especially in the context of customer experience and service. Shoppers who are loyal to brands feel truly listened to, valued, and understood by these companies. To that end, there are a few important dos and don’ts of personalization that ecommerce brands should pay attention to in order to gain an edge in the competition for customer loyalty.
What is Personalized Customer Service?
Before getting into what you should and shouldn’t do, let’s explore exactly what personalized customer service is all about. Personalization is the practice of providing individualized support that reflects each unique shopper’s needs and goals.
Using this approach, customers and support agents can have constructive conversations and avoid unnecessary repetitive exchanges, getting to the heart of each issue effectively. Personalized service can create trust on the part of the customer, thereby driving their brand loyalty and, ultimately, greater revenue.
Personalized Customer Service: Dos
Do: Use Data to Create a Personalized Experience
The key to providing a truly personalized customer experience in practice is twofold. First, brands have to accurately and ethically collect customer information that can be applied across all aspects of the shopping journey. Second, brands need to implement a system that makes this data readily available and actionable for support teams to use so customers feel the personalization in practice.
Ecommerce companies should aim to incorporate predictive responses in their communications that customer service agents can easily put into action. A support platform that allows for teams to easily see a shopper’s purchase history, personal information, and other online behaviors they’ve willingly shared empowers support agents to meet customers at their preferred channels.
Do: Connect Shoppers to the Right Help
Feedback in the form of satisfaction scores can help companies identify successful customer service agents based on the positive reviews customers provide after an interaction. Furthermore, this data can be used to inform people matching, which prioritizes customers or requests to automatically pair with higher-performing team members or supervisors. Collectively, this effort boosts the overall experience and keeps customers feeling taken care of by a brand.
Personalized Customer Service: Don’ts
Don’t: Mishandle Customer Data
Every modern brand that has a digital presence needs to be careful with and transparent about what data they’re using, how they’re using it, and how they’re collecting it. Customers are very aware that their personal information can be mismanaged, with a Twilio report finding that 71% desire greater transparency and privacy as a result.
When brands cross customers’ boundaries by using third-party data collected from cookies instead of willingly provided first-party data, personalization can quickly go from appreciated to borderline creepy. Brands that have misused data in the past have faced their customers’ discomfort and even wrath, clearly indicating that companies should watch their steps so they don’t cross the data-collection line.
Don’t: Broadly Apply Solutions Across Demographics
An important consideration is the use of data in the context of different generations. Older generations, such as baby boomers may not be as willing to give away their information. At the same time, younger audiences like Gen Z are so aware of their data being used that their bar for personalization is much higher. In a study from Unsupervised, 52% of Gen X and 57% of Millenials showed preference for personalization, while that number spiked to 81% for Gen Z. All in all, data needs to be sourced and applied ethically, but also in a way that makes an impact for customers regardless of their age group.
Launching Personalized Customer Service in 2022
As ecommerce companies compete in a loyalty economy that puts more emphasis on customer retention than acquisition, the brands that make the effort to invest in their customer experience are the ones that will see real returns. The best approach to building these connections is through personalized customer service, driven by thoughtful support and a smart approach to data collection and application.
A platform like Gladly can help unlock personalized customer service with cross-channel insights all in one place, allowing your reps to provide unparalleled support. By leading with the right tech, your brand can build long-term relationships that result in revenue gains and positive shopping environments for all customers.