The Evolution of Personalization and Its Impact on Customer Experience
From knowing their local shop clerks and owners to conducting their shopping, banking, and ordering online, the modern customer—and how they engage with brands each day—looks very different than that of old, particularly when it comes to personalization.
While evolving technology provides innovative new methods and channels to create end-to-end customer experiences that far exceed the practices of the past, it also risks dehumanizing the customer experience. But it doesn’t have to. Engagement experts know that by looking to the history of personalization, enterprises can bring the best of the past to the modern-day personalization platform.
The Past of Personalization
Before the explosion of mobile devices and smart technologies, the majority of personalization came in the form of a true 1:1 human interaction. Customers returned to restaurants where they had pleasant experiences with considerate waiters and shopped in stores where their favorite sales associate knew their name and preferences.
As technology advanced and e-commerce and other online interactions increased, opportunities for face-to-face brand relationship-building decreased; however, the importance of personalization did not. To counterbalance, enterprises turned to mass personalization and developed target personas (i.e. Millennial Mike, a 22-32 young professional) based on-site analytics, social media, location, gender, and countless other distinctions to group customers with like individuals. While effective to an extent, this one-to-many approach still lacked the highly personal touch and more intimate knowing of each customer that an in-person experience could provide.
The Present of Personalization
In light of today’s saturated and highly competitive landscape, creating meaningful end-to-end customer experiences requires more than a mass approach to personalization. That’s why customer-centric enterprises are turning to engagement experts to develop personalization strategies that get back to their roots of 1:1 engagement, but with the technology-driven spin and scalability needed to reach their diverse base of modern, digitally connected customers. Take, for example, leading brands like:
A key aspect of Starbucks’ approach to personalization rests in its mobile loyalty program. For customers that download Starbucks’ app, they can collect Bonus Stars which can be used for both in-restaurant orders and mobile purchases. Customer earnings are then based on their 1:1 interaction with the brand, with two Bonus Stars earned for every dollar spent. For those who make a habit of opening their mobile apps daily, thus engaging with the brand further and affirming their loyalty, they can unlock additional bonuses like free refills or other perks that can be redeemed in-store or in-app.
Amazon brings personalization directly to the homepage. By leveraging data on each customer’s past purchase behavior, Amazon crafts custom homepages for every individual, featuring items they are most likely interested in. Beyond this, Amazon incorporates the 1:1 experience of related recommendations—which previously only a human-based interaction could provide—in the form of its “Frequently Bought Together” and “customers who bought this item also bought” features, which utilize social proof to provide tailored recommendations based on a customer’s real-time product selections.
3| Bank of America
To streamline the customer service experience, Bank of America introduced an AI-powered virtual assistant, Erica, available on the bank’s mobile app. Erica provides personalized and proactive input based on a customer’s specific financial history to support everyday banking tasks as well as more complex banking activities. Using predictive and personalized inputs on each client’s financial situation, Erica can streamline the customer service experience for Bank of America customers—delivering greater value to its mobile customers and resulting in 7 million users and 50 million client requests in its first year since launch.
These future-focused approaches to personalization show a trend for fully customized, end-to-end customer experiences, and challenge other enterprises to follow in their stead. Yet, even with advanced technology and personalization tools, 46% of marketing executives are not where they want to be in terms of delivering personalization. Oftentimes, this is not due to a lack of effort, but rather an inability to find the right partner and platform for the job.
The Future of Personalization
To develop an approach to personalization that truly resonates with each customer, enterprises are increasingly turning to true engagement experts, such as ZineOne. Through our AI-powered Intelligent Customer Engagement (ICE) platform, we provide enterprises with a 360° view of their customer’s real-time, historic, and environmental data to bring 1:1 personalization to every engagement. Contact ZineOne today to learn more about how our engagement experts can increase customer satisfaction and sales at your enterprise.