Keeping it personal in customer service

Customer expectations are on the rise, with an increasing need for service that is personalized, simple and streamlined across all industries. From standardized to anticipatory personalization, here’s a look at the personalization spectrum and how it can greatly improve the customer experience.
As customer expectations rise, it will become increasingly important for businesses to personalize experiences.

In the era of instant information, customers expect service to be personalized, simple and fast. As such, businesses must provide quality, customized experiences to drive loyalty. When looking to evolve the customer experience, businesses can look at personalization across a spectrum, from standard services to more proactive communications. Here’s a closer look:

Standardized: Standardized personalization is a great introduction to proactive individualized service. With standardized personalization, companies are making compelling interactions by using data to personalize, with information such as names, delivery numbers or flight itineraries. 

Customized: Customized personalization is very similar – it is a first recognition from a company of customer preferences. Companies can modify their outreach and communications based on a customer’s explicitly provided preference – such as channel preference (for example, they want text messages) or frequency (for example, only as reminders for upcoming appointments). A customized personalization experience can be seen across many industries. Many organizations offer consumers a “preferences center” where they can indicate the type of messages they want to receive and their channels of choice.

Segmented: With this level of customization, companies are segmenting large groups of people that fit into certain categories based on data gathered about the customers such as demographics, geographic regions, and types of behavior. In organizing people into groups, companies can shift messaging based on customer needs.

Individualized: An individualized personalization experience allows the same type of interaction and context to grow. Businesses can leverage explicit preferences, previous behavior, past communication, and upcoming events to create a unique experience for specific individuals. The most innovative example of individualized personalization is when we leverage contextual knowledge using tools like conversational IVR and virtual assistants to customize the inbound experience. This creates a more connected, conversational dialogue over multiple channels that is specific to an individual’s unique set circumstances.

Anticipatory: Anticipatory personalization refers to when companies use predictive analytics to anticipate customer needs and enable more proactive, relevant experiences. This requires designing personalization for the entire customer journey – taking interactions from a transactional level to an ongoing relationship – and continuing to integrate inbound and outbound capabilities. Leveraging integration between technologies like conversational IVR and virtual assistants with more intuitive voice biometrics and natural language understanding has the ability to continue improving the customer experience and anticipate consumer needs.


The benefits of personalized experiences

Providing a personalized and positive experience has direct business implications. It often takes twelve positive experiences to make up for one unresolved, negative experience. There is increased intolerance for these negative experiences and two-thirds of customers cancel services or end relationships with companies after a single bad experience.

From our own research, we also know that the majority of consumers respond positively if they receive good customer service. Eighty percent of consumers have taken positive action after a good experience. For instance, fifty-five percent of customers have recommended the company to friends and family or conducted more business with that company, because they have had positive interactions. And for us, those are numbers worth remembering.

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Pablo Supkay

About Pablo Supkay

Pablo Supkay is Senior Manager, DCS Product Management, responsible for Nuance’s virtual assistant, Nina. Pablo has over 20 years of experience in UX design, customer engagement, targeting and personalization. Prior to Nuance, he held product management positions at Corbis Corporation and Microsoft, where he worked on a variety of initiatives to optimize customer experience across the customer journey. Pablo holds an MBA from Rice University and a Plan II Honors BA from the University of Texas at Austin.