Creating customer experiences through personalized communication
We all have heard of the phrase ‘first impression is the last impression’. It is this impression that often sets the tone for all the future conversations. This impression also further determines whether or not a prospect will become a customer. The question being, in the digital ecosystem how do we ensure the best first impression?
There are many channels and numerous styles of communication that have come into existence because of digital and social. For example, let’s look at the world of blogging. Bloggers have given rise to the informal style of communication relying on a strong personal aspect. They have gained reliability and popularity because people consider them real and identify with their personalities. Their claim to fame is the ability to connect with the audience and give them access to real and personal experiences/ advice. Their power to use technology coupled with the right skills to reach the audience at an emotional level has made them experts within a domain. With this large fan following and subscribers, how does one ensure the personalised style of communication with each member?
Addressing with the first name is no more the only way to effective personalization. As technology has evolved, so has the ability to personalise especially with techniques like data mining and segmentation. Therefore implementing technology can take personalised communication to an unprecedented level to make it one-to-one dynamic. Let’s explore some ways to personalise your communication in the digital age.
- Making Two-way conversations
Making interpersonal conversation is a must. Ask and reply to questions, come across as a real person instead of a brand name, share and ask for feedback. This way both parties can feel valued and the likelihood of lasting relationship increases.
- Using real life personal experiences
Sharing real-life experiences can add a personal touch and develop a friend like rapport. By Sharing incidences and helping the audience learn from such experiences initiates a two-way conversation, which is the first step to developing personalised relationships.
- Adding value to people’s life
To win people’s trust and to establish long-term personal relationships, brands must contribute in terms of value. It should be a mutually beneficial relationship. Training videos, how to blogs, eBooks are all ways of adding values and addressing to customer’s pain points to create a personal connect and ‘we care’ image.
- Involving your customers/prospects in brand decisions
Certain brand decisions impact customers, therefore, conducting surveys and involving them in the brand evolution can help in making customers feel special. This also helps in understanding customer expectations and opinions about your brand that can further help in customization.
- Automating a part of the communication
Automating social media posts, emailers and syndicating all social media and listening within one platform can help communicate in a timely and flexible manner to maintain consistency, personalization and better customer experiences. Automating a part of the activities also means more time to spend on building personal relationships by actively participating and communicating with the audience through forums, comments, virtual/live events etc.
- Developing buyer personas and segmenting audiences
Brands must create fictitious character profiles for the kind of customers they are targeting. Demographics, income, location, profession etc. are all characteristics that help create a buyer persona. These profiles and insights help generate a holistic picture of the target market with which one can customise ‘mass communication’ to make it ‘one-on-one’ communication.
- Choosing the right channels for communication
The personas and segmentation techniques can help choose the right channels for communicating with the various audiences- whether to focus on physical retail, emailers, social media, mobile marketing and so on. Search behaviours and clicks on websites and mobiles give an indication to the best medium for personalising communication. Lastly, regardless of the channel, the communication should be consistent and personal in nature.
- Leveraging the available customer data and measuring results
Analysing and mining the data collected about the customer can give insights about their personality, likes, dislikes and so on that can deepen the level of personalization. This information can be used to further optimise campaigns and improve response rates to encourage better customer relationship through two-way communication. Dashboards, analytics tools and listening solutions can all be used to collect customer data.
- Having CRM in place
To maintain healthy relationships it is critical to know about the conversations with each customer, therefore, maintaining a central repository with all past and present communication is key. Rewarding customers, sending thoughtful messages to promote personalization can only be executed when there is a record of customer information. Using such tools can track the changing customer expectations and behaviour to help tailor communication to suit the constantly evolving mindset.
- Nurturing existing relationships
Knowing your customer once is not enough. As demands and expectations grow, brands must continue to listen, learn and adjust to a customer’s changing needs and respond accordingly. Like any other personal relationship, even this relationship must be nurtured to avoid customers from shifting to alternates. The goal should be to communicate on an emotional level so that there is a personal and genuine connection just like a valuable friendship.
To conclude, companies and brands should recognise the impact that the digital age can have on customer service and how the new age consumer increasingly expects personalization. The trend of monologue and mass marketing is now moving to dialogue and personalization.