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25 June 2019

How to start your personalization journey

The long-term output of any Customer Experience (CX) program is to create business value through acquiring, retaining and growing profitable customers.  

Improving your Customer Experience is not always linked to AI and huge investments. It is already a step forward when you start communicating about Customer Experience within your company and celebrate the quick wins that you achieve in this domain.

For example, when you visit The House of Marketing’s website for the first time, you will see a standard homepage. Once you have downloaded some content from the website, the content on the homepage will change according to your interests. This example shows that content can differ depending on the user without using AI. It is a functionality in Hubspot, the Content Management System (CMS) we are using.

Companies need to start improving their Customer Experience before they can go one step further into the personalization of those experiences. 

start your personalization journey

Below you can find 5 steps to follow if you want to start and/or improve your Customer Experience program.   

1. Align business objectives and CX objectives 

A study conducted by Accenture reports that companies that attach importance to Customer Experience generate a higher shareholder return (+11%), compared to other companies. The alignment of the C-level unites the organization and makes clear what the goals and objectives are when it comes to Customer Experience (and personalization in a later phase). 

Typically, Customer Experience is a good way to increase your conversion rates. It is a good idea to identify goals and KPI’s that are related to conversion to get everyone on the same page. Regardless of how you want to measure the success of Customer Experience (personalization), just make sure everyone from the C-level is aligned on the goals and objectives.

Furthermore, Chief Marketing Officers (CMO’s) are expected to use customer data to boost new products, services and experiences. When you have the right data you need to link your customer’s expectations with your business goals.

2. Collect data

You need to be sure that you have the right data to start with. Map the data you want to use and be sure that you know where you are getting it from, how you are getting it and that the quality is good. To do this, there are multiple tools available with a different degree of complexity and costs. A good, low-cost tool for getting to the source of the purchase decision is the use of customer surveys. These will help you to better understand your existing customers and the determinants of their buying decisions

There are several criteria that you can take into consideration to choose the right tool to collect data and gather information, for example:

  • It offers automated reporting tools
  • It offers insights into campaign performance
  • It gives the opportunity for segmentation, campaign optimization and automation
  • It consists out of a customizable data dashboard

The data and information that you get from the chosen data collection tool will help you to know what your customers want, automate processes and make more strategic marketing decisions.

For example, with Disney's MyMagic+ technology, Disney creates a personalized experience for its guests by enabling them to book ride times (FastPasses), making restaurant reservations, purchase merchandise, get fast access to photos and more. The technology also gathers customer data to make sure that Disney can improve their experience in the future. 

 

3. Choose one part of the customer journey to start

Focusing on Customer Experience across the customer journey can increase your number of satisfied and loyal customers. A next step to improve the Customer Experience can be to target your existing customers, as you already have data and information about them.

By focusing on customer retention, you can grow your revenues by providing customers with a great experience.  This will make them come back and turn them into your best brand ambassadors.  

Customers who feel connected to your brand will share their experience online through pictures and social media or via word-of-mouth. Appreciate every feedback that you get because this can also be an opportunity to reward your customers via discounts or special offers. 

The best way to know if your Customer Experience is working, is by asking the customers themselves. You can try to ask for customer feedback with post-interaction surveys, calls or emails. The information that you gather will help you to make adaptations based on what your customers like and dislike. 

4. Create personas

Once you have identified your target segments, you can start creating personas and look at the characteristics that you can use to create a good Customer Experience. These characteristics are based on the information you got from your customers via the surveys and by reviewing the data that you already have. Next, you need to focus on your personas and look how you can influence them in their decision-making process. 

Designing personas is an effective way to start interacting with your customers and create an experience for them. These personas can also be used for one-on-one conversations when you want to start personalizing the Customer Experience.  

5. Build a consistent omnichannel experience

Customer interaction and communication via different channels is challenging but necessary to create a good experience and increase customer loyalty. Your online presence needs to be responsive for different devices. Customers need to be able to access your website or e-commerce store from anywhere (omnichannel brand experience). You need to keep your site up-to-date with authentic and relevant content, as this gives an immediate impression of your brand. 

You can make your brand and content consistent, recognizable and trustworthy by creating/using for example a brand book with brand rules and guidelines, a style guide and templates.

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References
HLN, Campaignmonitor, J.EstesForbes, The leadership Network and Zdnet 

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