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Business and Technology Insights

Personalizing Customer Experiences to Influence Not Alienate

 
October 31, 2017

There are few hard and fast laws, rules, or benchmarks that organizations can refer to when architecting and personalizing their customer experience. It’s different for every industry, company, and brand – but organizations need to strike the right balance. Too little, and your customers feel unappreciated; too much, and your customers might feel alienated.

 Customers have to place trust with banks, governments, and hospitals, and  expect them to know a great deal about who they are as people. For such  organizations, pushing the boundaries on personalization might not be a bad  idea. On the other hand, retailers or gaming companies need to be more careful  when they personalize their offerings by demonstrating an understanding of  and access to data about tastes, preferences, and habits of their customers.

 There is no doubt that personalization is trending or that customers seek out  experiences tailored specifically for them. In 2014, for example, Coca-Cola  printed 150 of the most popular names in Australia on bottles and cans, in a  bid to reconnect the adult population with the brand. Branded as the Share a  Coke campaign, such personalization yielded 12 million media impressions and a massive 7% increase in adult consumption. More recently, Nestle’s KitKatand Unilever’s PG Tips have developed similar personalized marketing campaigns and customers have taken to social media to post stories of how they are delighted.

If you would like to create a customer experience that is personalized appropriately for your brand, here is a four-tiered framework I put together:

Values: Revisit your organization’s culture and the nature of its relationships with its customers to determine the degree to which you should personalize, the strategy you should use, and the technology investment you need to make. If you’re a conservative firm or in an industry that is more serious, consider taking a restrained approach on how you personalize your messages for customers. On the other hand, if you have a livelier and casual relationship with your clients, feel free to push the boundaries a little bit to create a better experience and a stronger engagement.

Strategy: Study the purpose and objective of your interactions with your customers to define and understand the strategies you need to pursue. You must also choose the channels that will be managed differently to meet your personalization goals. Finally, you must ensure that your personalization strategies are also rooted in your organization’s values to ensure it is supported by your team and reflect your brand’s image.

Execution: Take stock of the customer data you have, and put in place appropriate oversight and governance checks to ensure that your marketing team’s zeal for personalization doesn’t cross boundaries and isn’t in contrast to your organization’s values.

Infrastructure: Ensure that the data-collection infrastructure that you use to tap into customer data is robust and doesn’t allow for misuse of that sensitive data. Control access to personalization data, appoint owners of customer data, and put robust data oversight and governance checks in place to ensure customers and their security is always put first.

While that was a brief introduction, a better understanding of the model and the personalization journey can help you go a long way. To learn more, read my article Personalization Boundaries: Tuning In to Customers Without Turning Them Off, in Perspectives, our consulting journal.

Keith is a results oriented professional with an extensive background (18+ years) building Customer Experience and CRM technical and operational solutions across Marketing, Sales and Service functions. He is well practiced in developing, communicating and presenting the quantitative and qualitative analysis and recommendations needed at the CX, SVP and VP levels of organizations to gain project and program approval and funding. His delivery experience demonstrates the ability to bring business and technology teams together in a cooperative environment to develop the solution requirements, associated timelines and supporting business cases. Keith has held leadership roles in leading Delivery and Strategy consulting firms. He holds an MBA from Georgia State University and a BA in Economics from Emory University.