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Consumers Want Personalization

personalized customer experience

When a customer walks into a retail store, the salesperson has two choices: simply ring up a purchase, or truly help the customer get what he or she really needs. The latter includes learning about the customer and making customized suggestions, while the former lacks any personalization whatsoever.

 

There is typically an opportunity to upsell and when done for the right reasons, customers will be willing to spend more than they initially intended. Think about a hotel you’ve stayed at before and upon returning remembers that you liked a certain type of pillow, a specific newspaper and a corner room. This type of personalized experience is becoming more and more common, and certain types of businesses have become very skilled at delivering personalized service.

 

If your business has not yet embraced this opportunity, you are missing out. According to Segment, which helps companies manage and activate data about their customers. “Shoppers expect brands to remember who they are, whether they’re on a digital channel or in-store, says Peter Reinhardt, CEO and co-founder at Segment. “However, very few companies can actually deliver on these tailored experiences.”

 

Segment surveyed 1,000+ consumers and found the majority of them were less than impressed by the lack of personalization in their shopping experiences. On average, 7% expressed some level of frustration when their experience was impersonal. The data shows that customers are willing to spend more money, and the companies that make the effort to deliver a personalized experience win.

 

Here are some findings from the survey:

 

  • Personalization drives impulse purchases:49% of customers bought items they did not intend to buy due to a personalized recommendation from a brand

 

  • Personalization leads to increased revenue:40% of U.S. consumers say they have purchased something more expensive than they planned to because of personalized service

 

  • Personalization leads to loyalty: 44% of consumers say they will likely repeat after a personalized shopping experience

 

Consumers are becoming more and more demanding, expecting personalized experience with every transaction. 30% of respondents say they expect call center agents to be instantly familiar with their contact history. 40% of the respondents expect to be offered personalized experiences based on their interests, buying behavior, demographics and psychographics.

 

Customers who have a positive emotional experience with a brand are 15 times more likely to recommend, 8 times more likely to trust and 7 times more likely to purchase.

 

customer personalization  

 

The Cost of Disappointment

Disappointing a customer with one bad experience can cost a brand dearly. 46% of U.S. mobile customers said they are likely to switch brands after having one bad experience. 64% of UK consumers say they have avoided a brand, whether online retail, banking or hospitality, because of a bad experience in the past year.

 

Unfortunately negative customer experiences spread like wildfire on social media. Up to 40% of consumers said they will actively promote negative messaging to warn others following their own bad experience, whether that’s telling family, friends or strangers to boycott a brand.

The most staggering number – 33% said they would permanently boycott a company as a result of a negative experience. A significantly lower number of people said they would notify the “offending” company of what they considered to be egregious treatment or customer service.

 

How to Save Face

70% of consumers report that they expect an immediate response when they submit a complaint. And moreover, they don’t want to be responsible for fixing a company’s mistake.

In the U.S., online retail brands were the most likely to satisfy customer needs, with 96% percent of respondents saying that their needs were met or exceeded.

When customers believe they have put in more effort than a company to resolve an issue, they are twice as likely to tell friends, family or colleagues about the bad experience, and four times more likely to stop purchasing from the company, switch brands, or use the company less frequently.

 

The Bottom Line

Positive customer experiences with a brand will influence 77% of consumers to return. And those customers will, in turn, tell their friends and family about their personalized experiences. So learn about your consumers’ wants and needs and deliver on them. If you don’t, you run the risk of losing consumers to the companies who are doing just that.

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79% of Consumers want Human-Driven Customer Service

customer service

 

The use of automation in customer service (think chat bots and automated email responses) is becoming more common these days due to its ability to increase efficiency and reduce the burden on human workers. However, in certain circumstances, human intellect, emotional intelligence, and empathy are needed to resolve a problem. As technology becomes more capable and lines are blurred between humans and machines, customer-centric companies will need to determine the most appropriate circumstances in which to use automation or actual humans to earn the best outcomes within the empathy economy.

In recent years, retailers and brands have opened up a variety of new channels, including chatbots, live chat and self-service options, through which they can engage with and support their customers. For the most part, that’s a good thing, giving customers more ways to reach their favorite brands, and giving these companies more opportunities to provide their customers with positive experiences. However, customers still should have the option to speak to a human if that is what they prefer.

Human interaction still reigns supreme

Conversations have always emerged as the main method in which humans work to resolve problems and build relationships. Empathy is what enables humans to understand another’s position and builds a trusted connection, which  ultimately leads to the desired outcome. But while the concepts of empathy, conversations, and emotion seem simple and natural, good communication relies heavily on how words are spoken, not simply the actual words spoken.

Over half (56% percent) of customers believe a phone call offers the quickest way to get a problem resolved; in comparison, webchat was chosen by just 7%. When seeking creative solutions to complex service problems, most customers still seek out other humans.

In a study by customer engagement and analytics software firm Calabrio, about 79% of 3,000 consumers surveyed prefer interacting with a human instead of a chatbot or digital self-service channel. Also, 74% of those surveyed said they are more loyal to a business that provides them with the option to speak to a human, than those that only support customer service through digital or self-service channels.

 

Understanding emotional states

Brands need to be primed to handle various scenarios that require different levels of emotional intelligence. For non-sensitive interactions, customers choose the fastest means possible, such as email, chat bots, or website FAQs. But when it comes to more complex issues, customers want to speak with a human who can appropriately respond to the complexity and emotional nature of the problem. When it comes down to it, a customer ultimately wants to feel like they are important and their concern is being taken seriously.

Consider an insurance company, where customers often call to deal with difficult circumstances such as death, accident, or financial loss. Chat bots are incapable of providing the emotional support required in these situations and such coldness can be off-putting to customers. This could result in the feeling that a company does not value its customers.

AI customer care

 

Augmenting human empathy with artificial intelligence

As technology continues to advance, brands are now forced to find the right blend of automation and human interaction. Brands must tailor interactions to meet the unique preferences of consumers. By combining the best capabilities of humans and machines, the service industry will be a prime example for how human-aware and human-empowering technology can help brands deepen and evolve trusting relationships with their customers.

Backed by extensive behavioral science research out of MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab, Cogito delivers A.I. software that analyzes behavior through voice to give live feedback to call center agents and an instant measure of customer perception. The result is agents who are more empathetic and attuned to a customer’s emotional state, which allows them to provide better, more personalized customer service. The technology is being used by Fortune 500 companies like MetLife, Humana, and Zurich Insurance to enhance employee productivity, which will result in improved customer interactions and deeper relationships.

To be successful, organizations must realize the value of human connection and provide emerging technologies to amplify employee capabilities. By investing in employee skills and human-empowering technology—and realizing the significance of augmented intelligence—companies will provide better customer service offerings, increase brand loyalty, and support overall business success.

 

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Will Text Messaging Surveys Replace Traditional Surveys?

message surveys
Probably not in the near future, but they can be a beneficial supplement to your current survey strategy.

 

Admit it, you are one of the 72% of smartphone owners who report checking their phone at least once an hour. With 9 in 10 adults owning a cellphone,  text messaging (SMS) has become the communication norm for most of the U.S. population. Text messaging appears to be a useful way to contact survey respondents, particularly those who tend to have lower response rates with traditional survey methods, such as young adults.

But according to Gallup’s research, text messaging is not yet ready to replace traditional surveys. This mode of contact has legal limitations, yields lower response rates than telephone surveys and restricts question length. So don’t use it as your only means of contacting your audience, but do use it as a supplements.

How Text Message Surveys Work

Text message surveys can be administered in two different ways:

The first option is to text questions and answers back and forth, which works well because anyone with a cellphone can respond. But there are significant limitations. Questions are limited to 160 characters, including the question wording and response options. Messages that are longer than 160 characters are broken into segments. While some devices rebuild the messages so that they appear as one cohesive message, messages may not be received in the correct order.

The number of questions must also be kept to a minimum. Questions and responses are sent one at a time, and research finds that respondents tend to lose interest more quickly than with other modes of data collection.

The second option is to text respondents a link to a web survey they can complete from the browser on their phone. Although this option gives researchers greater flexibility with question wording, about 25% of the population does not own a smartphone and will be unable to launch a web survey, and those who do have a smartphone may have to use or pay for data to complete the survey.

survey

 

 

 

 

Experiments Reveal the Pros and Cons of Text Message Surveys

Gallup conducted two experiments to test the effectiveness of text message surveys.

In the first experiment, they wanted to see how an SMS survey compares with a telephone survey in terms of response rates and substantive responses. There were 3 treatment groups: a traditional telephone survey administered by a live interviewer, a text message survey or a text message with a link to a web survey. Two questionnaire lengths were also tested: 5 questions and 12 questions.

Results – Response rates for the SMS-to-web surveys (12% for 5 questions and 11% for 12) and SMS-only surveys (12% for 5 questions and 13% for 12) were significantly lower than response rates for phone surveys (38% and 41%).

In the second experiment, Gallup tested sending survey invites and reminders to Gallup Panel members via email and text message. Respondents were randomly assigned to 1of 3 treatment groups: email and text invites and reminders, email invites and reminders only, and text invites and reminders only. All emails and text messages directed respondents to a web survey.

Results – Response rates were highest when using a combination of email and text reminders. This finding is consistent with other research, which has found that employing a variety of contact methods can increase the likelihood of participation.

It appears that surveys deployed over email are among the best and easiest to supplement with text messaging. At the most basic level, texts can be used as a reminder/delivery system for web surveys. A study by Mavletova & Couper (Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology (2014) 2, 498-518) indicates that surveys sent via email got a much higher response rate when they were accompanied by a text reminder. Even more effective is to use text to deliver the web survey directly. Because 53% of emails are opened on phones, making sure your survey is mobile compatible. By serving the link directly through text, you can remove the need for them to take any intermediary action between receiving the reminder text and beginning the survey.

Obstacles

Currently, the major obstacle for conducting a survey via text message is obtaining the consent to send a message. This legal barrier greatly limits the scope for conducting text surveys.

It is important to note that FCC regulations make it illegal for companies to send text messages without expressed consent. This means Gallup or its clients must have explicit consent from respondents before sending them a text message survey. Simply having permission to contact the respondent via cellphone is not enough. Individuals must give consent to be contacted via text message, which is a major obstacle for most survey projects.

 

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