Why getting personal with customers is a priority for brands

21 October 2021 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read

The pandemic has pushed hundreds of bricks and mortar businesses into the digital sphere but those that don’t start getting up close and personal with customers will struggle to survive long term, writes Katrina Wong, a Vice President at Twilio Segment. 

Was your enterprise one of the thousands of SMEs forced to take its operations online during last year’s Covid-19 crisis? You’re not alone. Here in Australia and around the world, the pandemic precipitated an unprecedented tsunami of digital transformation, as businesses raced to introduce remote working, online ordering and customer service and digital marketing campaigns. 

Hence, we saw suburban restaurants start offering ‘click and collect’ style menus, fitness studios using Zoom and Teams to stream their exercise sessions into locked-down customers’ living rooms and professional services firms of all stripes and sizes pivot to online consulting mode.

Why getting personal with customers is a priority for brands

The KPMG report ‘Going Digital, Faster’ acknowledged this mega-trend and its implications. “The pace and the degree of digital transformation is accelerating in the wake of Covid-19, with ever greater pressure to meet customers wherever they are. This calls for flexible, ‘commerce everywhere’ business models, and a renewed focus on employee experience to drive an enhanced customer experience,” KPMG Global Head of Management Consulting Miriam Hernandez-Kakol wrote.

An experience to remember

Latest research from Twilio Segment reveals that personalisation – using data to tailor products, communications and experiences so they best meet the needs and preferences of individual buyers – is part and parcel of a great digital experience. So much so that 44 per cent of consumers say they’ll take their custom to a competitor, if a brand fails to live up to their expectations.

Conversely, make them feel known, understood and appreciated and 60 percent of customers say they’ll head back for more. 

And while many buyers love a bargain – and drive a hard one – getting the cheapest price isn’t necessarily the clincher it perhaps once was. In fact, around a third of consumers say they don’t mind going out of their way, or paying a little more, if a company’s customer experience gives them the right ‘feels’. 

Internet behemoths like Amazon and Netflix have set the bar very high when it comes to delivering speedy, seamless service and, reasonably or not, customers now expect the same level of responsiveness from very much smaller players. 

Doing more with data

Developing a deep understanding of your customers – their likes, dislikes, buying behaviours and service preferences – is the key to providing customer experiences that exceed their expectations and keep them returning again and again. 

All these insights can be gleaned by analysing your customer data. If you’ve digitised your business, you’re likely awash with the stuff, but whether it’s organised and accessible may be a whole other question. In many newly digital businesses, customer data sits in siloes and isn’t yet being used to build the rich, detailed customer profiles that are necessary to develop personalised messaging and interactions. 

That’s where a Customer Data Platform (CDP) can be a real game changer. This technology provides a unified view of your customer data across every channel, including your web site, apps, contact centre and helpdesk. It can be used to consolidate, clean and organise your data, leaving you with a single source of truth. 

That’s essential, if you hope to develop personalised, targeted messaging and campaigns that will resonate with highly segmented customer audiences – personalisation in a nutshell.

Keeping up with the competition

Covid-19has changed the way organisations and customers interact and doing business in the digital sphere is now a must for Australian businesses of all stripes and sizes. But it’s not enough to merely have a presence; businesses that want to survive and thrive must harness the power of the customer data they collect to develop consistent personalised experiences. Investing in a CDP is a great first step.