Today, customers have a lot of power and they have high expectations. The power of the individual customer has increased significantly and so have companies’ responsibilities towards them. Even large B2C companies are no longer looking at their customer base as a mass, but rather, they try to personalize experiences for each customer.
Personalization and relevance are hot topics in nearly every industry, but successfully executing them at scale has proven to be a huge challenge (take a look at our list of 11 companies that get customer experience). How do you make hundreds of thousands (or millions) of customers each feel special?
As impersonal as it sounds, it all starts with data. But data can also be your biggest barrier. After working with thousands of companies at Woopra, we’ve outlined what we believe to be the three key components to scaling personalization.
1. Organized Data
Question: What’s worse than a company that makes no effort to personalize?
Answer: A company that messes it up.
My name is Mark?
Didn’t go to those parties and didn’t meet anyone from that company.
Didn’t do any of these things either.
I didn’t meet a single one of these companies at Dreamforce. I didn’t stop by their booths or go to their parties. They most likely got my email address and information by trading leads with another company I did talk to. Now not only are their emails not personal, but I also now know that they participated in a very uncool business practice (trading leads) – neither of which reflects very well on their brand. All they had to do to avoid this faux pas was keep track of which leads came from trades and send different messages to trade and non-trade leads. It’s pretty simple so long as you’re able to keep your data organized.
This company did it well. They knew we didn’t meet so they sent me a different message.
This company took another approach and made their message intentionally vague. Still better than the ones above.
Here’s another scenario: You call a company about a problem you’re having with their service. You then spend 30 minutes with them on the phone giving them your information, explaining your problem, and trying to understand their solution. At this point, the call gets dropped, they transfer you to someone else, or you need to call them back for some reason. When you talk to the next person, you now have to recount every detail to them all over again.
The issue here is that the company is not centralizing their data about you and making it accessible to all the relevant parties (such as the service reps). When companies fail to organize data, they lose a lot of its value. Sometimes it’s just a matter of thinking to track the right pieces of data and knowing which employees need access to the records. On the other hand, putting these systems in place can be a large undertaking when you have millions of customers, though it’s well worth the investment.
Compare the example above to an experience I had a few months back. I had ordered a bed from Overstock.com and called them a few days later to ask a question about the delivery. When I called, the woman who answered knew exactly who I was and what I had ordered without having told her a thing. She didn’t ask me for a single piece of information – not even my name. It turned out their system told her who I was based on the phone number I had called from.
Any company can deliver this type of experience if they know how to organize and distribute the customer data they collect.
2. Integrated Systems
Ok, so maybe it’s not just about organizing the data. You also need to integrate your systems so that you can easily transfer data to the right people or systems.
In the Overstock.com example above, the rep could have looked me up by my phone number, but the experience was so seamless that my guess is her system automatically pulled up my account. That’s where system integration comes in. It takes out the manual processes and creates a streamlined solution.
For example, we designed the Woopra for Salesforce integration with this same principle in mind. The integration embeds the Woopra Customer Profile directly in your Salesforce lead and contact records. While you could always switch between tabs to see the person’s Salesforce record as well as their Woopra Customer Profile, the integration makes it easy for you to automatically get all the customer information in a single view.
3. Deep View of the Customer
Lastly, in order to personalize effectively, you must be collecting the right customer data in order to gain a deep view of the customer. You need to understand who they are, where they’re coming from, how they interact with your business (or, what they say with their actions), what their needs are, and more.
One major tip we always give clients: Track everything from the beginning, because you will probably need that data later. I can’t tell you how many times a client will realize months or a year later that they wish they had been tracking a certain piece of customer data in order to analyze and optimize it. If you don’t track it now, it’s unlikely you will be able to get that data later.