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Guest Blog: 3 Proven Ways to Personalize the Customer Service Experience

This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Ross Clurman, writes about how important it is to personalize the customer service experience. Regardless of the type of business you are in, there is always an opportunity to personalize the customer experience. – Shep Hyken One of the most important factors in providing […]

This week on our Friends on Friday guest blog post my colleague, Ross Clurman, writes about how important it is to personalize the customer service experience. Regardless of the type of business you are in, there is always an opportunity to personalize the customer experience. – Shep Hyken

One of the most important factors in providing an exceptional customer service experience is personalizing each and every touchpoint between you (the business or service provider) and your customers. No matter how informal the channel or medium (i.e. Twitter vs. direct mail vs. in person) every exchange should be personal, timely, and suited to your customer’s preferences.

Personalizing the customer service experience is much more than including a first name and the day of the week in your message. It involves actually getting to know your customers — scary, right?!. As quickly as humanly possible, identify the problem, the solution they want, and their preferences.

Your customer preferences could include:

  • Medium of communication (e.g. Twitter, email, phone, online chat, text messaging, etc.)
  • Time of day
  • Day of week
  • Format (i.e. Do they prefer formal, or informal communications?)

Always remember the golden rule of customer service: Treat your customers the way they want to be treated.

Personalizing the customer service experience will speed along the process and make your customers trust you, and eventually fall in love with your business (which is a very good thing).

We help consumers across the globe resolve customer service issues with businesses everywhere.

Three proven techniques we employ to personalize the customer service experience.

  1. Maintain an up-to-date customer database.
    If your business were a living thing, your customer database would be the brain. An easily accessible repository of all the important information about your customers in a centralized and shared space. The information you collect and store about your customers should include their purchase history, communication preferences, and basic contact info (like phone, email, and mailing address — perhaps even social profile URLs). We also recommend keeping track of some additional information you can use to personalize the customer service experience, like their nickname and birthday. Think about what information is important to your business. For instance, if you’re a hair salon, it makes sense to know when your customer got their last haircut, what color they prefer, the stylist, and even what they like to drink (if your salon serves beverages).Being fast to respond (when a customer reaches out) is nice, but making that communication personal is even more important.
  2. An open “conversational” view of every customer service exchange.
    Keeping track of customer conversations across communication channels is key. This is the idea on which we founded our entire company — omnichannel customer service communication. The idea is that when your customer changes the channel (i.e. they go from talking to us via email to a social network, or any other medium) it doesn’t break the customer service experience. This way, when your customers change channels (which they will do) you don’t have to start the conversation over and re-discover who they are, what they need, and how we should address them.
  3. Publish a publicly visible customer service “oath” and mission statement.
    Everyone within our organization knows our mission statement and our values, and anyone who is interested can find them on our website. Our mission statement and values are central to everything we do (including how we communicate with customers, prospects, colleagues, etc.).Every business (no matter how big or small) should define a clear, memorable mission statement and make it public. In addition, define a simple, straightforward customer service “oath” or code of conduct. This will ensure everyone in your organization knows how to treat customers (and customers know you care). Remember: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

These three proven practices will help your business create a customer-centric culture and help personalize the customer service experience.

comnioRoss Clurman is co-founder and CEO of an Austin, Texas-based startup, COMNIO. COMNIO helps small businesses manage their marketing, social media, customer service, and more — 24/7. COMNIO also helps consumers resolve customer service issues with any business on Earth. Ross has co-founded three successful startups since graduating from Kansas State University in 2005 and also enjoys writing about customer service, marketing, and communication-related topics on COMNIO’s customer service blog.

Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: 10 Ways To Deliver Better Social Media Customer Service

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