9 Essential Ways to Personalize Customer Service

Amy Pattinson
July 28, 2022
 Mins Read

Businesses, whether big or small, are increasingly turning to personalized customer service to retain, gain and build customer base. Customers today have more choice and information than ever, and do not hesitate to move to a company that offers prompt and lucid solutions to customer questions, addresses complaints, and engages honestly at a personal level. In such circumstances, personalized customer service is could make or break competitive advantage.

However, the question remains as to how companies can personalize customer service? All customer-centric organizations regularly grapple with this question. The answers are not easy. It is clear that personalization is imperative to enhancing customer experience, winning loyalty, reducing attrition and fostering robust customer relationships.

However, it is also clear that there exists a gap in such efforts in several top organizations because of the challenges involved. This is partly because the lack of personalization appears to help. In the short term, organizations find it convenient to send mass emails, make cold calls, and reduce efforts at the contact center using generalized terms such as “customer” and “customer support”. However, this comes at a cost. In the long run, customers are left dissatisfied and a relationship never builds. So how do you know where to customize and what to personalize? Read below for some suggestions on how to do that:

1. Put a Communications Strategy in Place:

The first thing to understand is the need to develop a comprehensive communications strategy. Personalization should be implemented across all the channels and functions of an organization. This means that mails should be addressed with the name of customer, responses to complaints have the problem as the message, and customer care center agents get as much information as possible before he/she makes a call. Importantly, the personalization must pervade all touch points and consistently for a long time. However, it is also important to ensure personalization at your end.

Lot of companies do not have “top customer service” in the vision statement and their websites. You must do so and sign it with your name, a signature and a photograph to let customers that you are behind this and who the people they are connected to.

2. Know Your Customer:

Mentioning the name of the customer is a great way to start a conversation. Instead of saying “Dear Customer” or asking for the customer name at the beginning of a conversation, it helps greatly to find and mention as much you know about the customer. “Dear Ms. Julia” is far better than “Dear Customer”. This practice not only gains the customer’s attention, but also begins a dialogue and a relationship. On being happy, customers at times request conversations to be more informal and ask to drop their surnames…this is a great start. To highlight that you respect the customers’ individuality is also great way to show that the email/call is not spam and that you are not averse to put in effort in knowing the customer thereby proving that you are keen and capable of solving his/her problems or provide stellar customer service.

Localization is equally important. Hiring experts who know about the culture and etiquette of your target market or getting ad hoc training sessions by such experts for your customer service departments is important.

3. Take Note of Technology:

Worried about the effort? Technology can help in making it easier. Firstly, it can help by providing you important information such as name, age, gender, occupation etc.; second, by customizing calls, emails and other communications. Ask your web admin if you have not done until now. You may be in for a bouquet of surprises in ways and means to personalize customer service. For example, using mass mailing with MS Excel is passé; several web domain providers provide technology to help you send mass mails with personalization. Similarly, using an automated database could fetch important information, such as name, gender, age, location, occupation, etc. to the call center agent, which could be invaluable in understanding the customer and helping him/her solve problems.

4. Develop Frequent Communication:

In close relationships, do you always wait for your friends and family to call you or for some exciting news to break? No! Similarly, it is a great idea to track customer events and contact them whenever possible. For example, wishing a customer on his/her birthday through emails, SMS or a call could forge relationships. Similarly, a surprise gift or a voucher for loyal customers could mean much more than reward points.

There are usually valid reasons to contact a customer, but several companies that practice reactive customer service often ignore this. Did you know that some companies miss the chance to thank the customer for their first association and seek feedback? It is the case with various mentions in social media and the Internet. It is important to use social media as a listening medium and contact your customer with solutions, suggestions, or encouragement.

5. Be Proactive:

Adopting a proactive customer service over the conventional reactive customer service provides more opportunities to contact your customer and with better results. This is a boon for those customers who face recurring problems and are distressed with repetitive challenges in using your product or service. Calling such customers for feedback or for checking the progress assures the customer that they are being served by a concerned company and will stick with you for a long time. Use such troubleshooting data and experience to update your company FAQs frequently and you could use customer feedback as testimonials in the section. This will spur others to participate and know that your customer service is involved with your problem solving process long after it has been resolved.

6. Avoid Miscommunications:

In today’s highly connected world, every customer interaction matters. And the only thing worse than bad customer service is probably miscommunication or a mix-up. It is irritating and unprofessional for more than one agent to call the same customer without any continuity. This results in the customer getting frustrated with answering the same questions every time. To avoid this, it is important to make notes on each customer.

Every single communication with the customer including emails, phone calls, postal correspondence, or online chat must be recorded and stored in a central location that is easily accessible to all call center agents. This will help you avoid miscommunication, reduce time required to solve customer problems, and also build a strong and respectful relationship with each customer. Data management, unified communications and analytics can help you communicate with customers in continuity and avoid miscommunications.

7. Get Flexible agents in your Call Center:

While it is important to be professional with each of your customers, some customers look for a certain comfort in calling your call center. Get call center agents who can be flexible and solve problems like a surgeon but also be the customers trusted aide when required. Remember that the time that you have spent in hearing out a customer on some days could easily translate into referrals and a life-long relationship. Plus, it reinforces that you listen, and serious about listening.

8. Let Direct Contact be your First Choice in Customer Service:

A direct telephone call is perhaps the most reassuring response to a customer complaint. So, why avoid it or replace it with other means such as emails, or SMS? here are two ways that direct contact is established. It could b done through “Clientelling”, a step in which one particular agent is associated with a client or a customer and is available for all his/her queries. However, this may not be possible with a large number of customers. In such cases, provide direct contact service to the top tier customers and complaints.

9. Use Online Touchpoints to Personalize Service:

There are several ways that modern technology can be used to present a personalized service. Make sure your website is personal in tone and content and has  the details of your address, customer service numbers, links to social media sites, maps, and details of your team preferably with contact details and pictures for each. It is important to ensure that website is responsive and is accessible through different machines and phones. Provide a review platform for your customers and act on all reviews.

Communication is the crucial component that fuels relationships. Make sure it is always ongoing; develop customer profiles to help you understand and keep communications alive and personalized. Make sure that the profile is updated and your customer service department keeps on learning about and from the customer. Taking the help of an experienced customer care call center outsourcing services provider, would certainly help you attain your customer service goals faster.

Article by
Amy Pattinson

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