Whenever we can personalize a customer experience, we have gone a long way towards making that experience great. Every customer wants to feel valued, to feel special, and personalizing the customer’s experience, even in very small ways can go a long way towards accomplishing that goal.
Of course, CRM systems are the most popular way to personalize the customer experience. Software today can hold a virtually limitless amount of information about customers, which is why Big Data and mass personalization are among the most talked about topics in the customer experience field.
Yet, CRM systems are only as powerful as their ability to be present in the customer experience. And therein lies a gulf between the present and the future in many retail environments.
In the Big Data/wearable computing future, store owners will likely (and creepily) know huge amounts about customers the moment they walk in the door, even if they have never been to the store before. Think Tom Cruise walking by the digital billboard that addresses him by name in the movie Minority Report.
But what do we do today? How do we personalize the customer experience when we are in the aisle at the home improvement store, the deli department at the grocery store, or inside a cousin’s dress boutique? How do we do it when the customer is a stranger whom we know nothing about.
Front line teams need techniques that allow them to quickly and easily personalize the customer experience.
Time is Short, Remembering One Thing is Easy
The trick is to remember one thing.
When you approach customers in the store, your goal is to engage them in a conversation that helps reveal their needs and wants. Your goal should be to learn as much as you can about the customer and what that person hopes to get out of the customer experience.
Let’s face it though — we do not always have time for that. So, when time is short, try to remember one thing about the customer.
When talking with the customer look for a hot spot or an area in the conversation where you know your organization can add value and commit that one thing to memory. If you have 5 people in the store, you can most likely remember one thing about each of them.
- Lady in the red dress — Shopping for her daughter who is leaving for college up north.
- Man with the baby — Looking for a birthday present for his wife who likes to “dress young.”
When you check back with these customers later, you simply use these simple facts in your approach:
- “Excuse me ma’am — you mentioned your daughter was going to school up north. These new jackets are the hot thing right now, and they’re actually really warm and comfortable.”
- “Sir, you said your wife Carol likes to dress in more youthful looks. Here’s a few looks from our catalog that will probably help you score some big points when you get home.”
These small observations are simple but powerful. Remembering one thing about your customer can help you personalize their experience when you do not have time to truly customize it in detail.
Let’s be clear: Personalization is not essential for a great customer experience.
You can create a memorable experience and provide Hero-Class Customer ServiceTM without ever knowing anything about your customer (think Walt Disney World).
However, personalization is one of the most powerful and effective tools in the customer facing professional’s arsenal.
And remembering one thing about your customer is the quickest and most effective way to start personalizing your customers’ experiences — today.