Jose Herrera, CEO & cofounder, Hire Horatio CX.
In a recent McKinsey poll, it was revealed that amid the Covid-19 pandemic, almost three-quarters of American consumers made changes to their buying habits, including trying out new brands, retailers or shopping methods. A new era of consumption is upon us. According to the same study, it was found that Gen-Z and high earners are more likely to switch brands. Beyond decreasing brand loyalty, repeat customers’ transactions are increasingly challenging to obtain, and in fact, when looking ahead, “73% [of consumers] intend to continue to incorporate the new brands into their routine.” Bearing these fickle new shopping tendencies in mind, brands—both big and small—will need to shake up how they connect with their customer base beyond the status quo. One way to do this is through hyper-personalized customer experiences.
Even in times of crisis and recession, going above and beyond to make your customer feel understood can pay off. In fact, a 2022 Redpoint Global survey indicated that 74% of customers say their loyalty to a brand is determined by feeling understood and valued rather than being offered discounts or perks. Additionally, 64% said they’d prefer buying from a brand that knows them.
Hyper-personalized experiences have been proven to drive revenue and increase customer loyalty, even during unprecedented times. Here are a few ways to make sure that your customers feel uniquely seen and understood as a consumer.
Provide personalized reports or curated products of interest.
For customers who sign up for loyalty programs or newsletters, it is very easy to analyze their shopping tendencies and interests. In fact, a report from Accenture indicated that 91% of consumers polled said that they are more likely to do business with brands that recognize and remember them and present them with relevant recommendations and offers. One way to make a customer feel uniquely understood is to provide curated recommendations or services based on their browsing history or past purchases.
One example of a company that does a comprehensive and personalized follow-up for users is Grammarly, a free AI writing assistance program. Based on individualized data, Grammarly sends their subscribed users weekly reports that summarize exactly how they’ve utilized their services and lays a “story” about how their customers use the product. These reports not only help customers visualize and see specific insights into how their writing has evolved, but it also has an added bonus of reminding them of Grammarly’s capabilities. By adding this element of personalization and customized follow-up to your practices, you can give your customers the impression that they are not merely using technology but, rather, a service that caters to their individual needs.
Customize offers that honor personal milestones.
Who doesn’t love a free birthday coupon or free treat on their birthday? Many businesses in all different sectors—from fast-food chains to online retailers—honor their customers’ special days. However, in today’s highly competitive market, it behooves businesses to go above the standard day. By collecting data in the form of surveys or through other questionnaires, I believe businesses that can delight or surprise customers through unexpected giveaways that mean something to that particular customer will make a memorable impression in the minds of their consumers. For example, businesses that cater to wedding services may send a special day on anniversaries or even as a “one-year marker” of becoming a customer with a product or service. This latter example highlights the appreciation a company may have for loyalty and honor a unique relationship and timeline between the customer and the business. I find that loyalty programs that are unique and customized are not only good for rapport but also good for business. A recent McKinsey study found that customers who participate in high-performing loyalty programs are 59% more likely to choose that brand over a competitor and are 62% more likely to spend more with that brand.
Have a call to action for customers.
As the research above has proven, customers not only want to feel that they are not only seen by brands they frequent but also heard. One way you can successfully do the latter is to entice customers to offer their feedback and give opinions whenever possible. One company that famously does this is Zappos, the online shoe retailer, who, after sending personalized recommendations, gives a “call to action” to purchase for certain events.
Another example of seeking customer feedback that can then lead to purchases is when companies ask consumers about their preferences which can then lead to products. A candy company, Dum Dums, currently has a “vote for flavors,” and Dunkin Donuts famously asked fans to vote for new iced coffee flavors via Snapchat in 2018. Using the second campaign as an example, try asking for customer feedback and personalization in unexpected ways by meeting them on social platforms in which they feel most comfortable (rather than through targeted emails) to further can make them feel understood.
Customer experiences that are special are those that are memorable for your consumers. While it does require focused strategy, data-gathering and unique innovation, going above and beyond to get to know your customers can not only make them feel valuable but also help to ensure that your services or products are a special part of their lives and not just a one-time transaction. Your customers are complex with unique tastes and interests—through not only recognizing them but honoring them, your business can stick out from among the competition in today’s rapidly changing market.
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