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How can we personalise our interactions to meet customer needs better?

In a rapidly evolving business landscape, understanding and adapting to individual customer needs is paramount for sustained success.

The question becomes, “How can we tailor our interactions to better meet these diverse customer requirements?” This inquiry is not merely a quest for customization but a strategic approach to enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty.

In our first edition of 2024, we delve into effective methods of personalising interactions to forge stronger connections, elevate customer experiences, and ultimately foster enduring relationships in the dynamic marketplace.

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Kat Warboys, Senior Marketing Director APAC at HubSpot

Kat Warboys, Senior Marketing Director APAC at HubSpot

“Current economic conditions mean businesses are desperate to maintain customer loyalty and are trying to do so through increased communications. But according to new data, consumers want brands to ‘do less’.

“This year, an overwhelming majority (89%) of customers cited negative experiences with brands they engage with, such as low-quality customer service or being spammed with irrelevant marketing (44%).

“Instead of over-saturating communication channels in an attempt to win customers’ attention, take stock of what your connection data is saying while simultaneously reviewing how your brand is behaving across the business and its channels. Reviewing campaign and engagement performance data will enable you to dig into the customer experience and understand when and how they like to be reached. With the customer journey, rather than relying on strategies of previous years, be ready to test and learn based on data.

“Declining customer spending and loyalty is keeping business leaders up at night. In fact, 62% of decision-makers agree that existing customers are harder to reach/engage with. Luckily technology is here to help. It’s well documented that AI helps businesses with laser-focused segmentation, up-to-date targeting and recommending the right channels for the right audiences — ultimately leading to deeper and more scalable connections. The bottom line is that effective connection is driven by quality communications, not quantity.”

Anurag Vasisth, Co-chair and Group CEO at Loyalty Now

Anurag Vasisth, Co-chair and Group CEO at Loyalty Now

“As the cost of living pressures drive consumers to adopt more conservative spending habits, businesses must personalise interactions and better cater to customers’ needs to safeguard profitability and maintain customer engagement.

“The power of personalisation sits at the heart of any successful digital loyalty strategy. It can be one of the greatest tools for merchants when addressing customer needs by conveying a sense of understanding and appreciation for the customer’s unique preferences. This approach can convert one-time purchasers into loyal patrons who feel a sense of belonging to a brand.

“Digital platforms let businesses learn from customer interactions across multiple touchpoints, creating a comprehensive view of their journey. With these insights, companies can deliver customised communications and offers tailored to each individual, enhancing the level of personalisation that strengthens the customer experience and elevates the brand’s position in a competitive market.”

Caitlin Zotti, Co-CEO, Pin Payments

Caitlin Zotti, Co-CEO, Pin Payments

“Personalised customer service has always been a big part of what we do at Pin Payments. Since inception, we have made it a priority to provide customer support over the phone and via email, to build strong relationships with our customers. Having recently expanded to New Zealand earlier this year, our model hasn’t changed. We continue to provide local support for our customers and have a hands-on approach to onboarding new merchants and helping existing businesses. Given many companies outsource these components, we feel this is a unique attribute of our brand that makes our customers feel valued and provides trust and transparency. Our merchants know us and in turn, by providing this level of customer service, we learn about their businesses intimately and are able to better meet their needs and continue to improve our offering.”

Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

Elise Balsillie, Head of Thryv Australia

“While customer service is key to small business success, personalised service strengthens long term customer loyalty and business growth.

Research shows that 76% of consumers are more likely to consider purchasing from brands that personalise their interactions with them, making personalisation imperative to a business marketing strategy.

“How can businesses utilise personalisation in their interactions to better meet customer needs? Here are my top three ways:

Make their experience with your business unique.
Customers who regularly do business with you should feel highly valued. Greeting customers by name – both in person and online – is a good way to build rapport. It might not seem like much, but this little bit goes a long way to improving loyalty.

Every customer has different preferences for communication.
Every customer is different, so being able to offer different ways of communication is important in engagement. Plus, with so many forms of communication available, it might be difficult to pinpoint the right ones. Ask your customers for their preferences, and they’ll be happy to oblige – as long as you agree to communicate with them on their preferred platform moving forward.

Target the right message, to the right customers.
You know all customers have different needs, so why offer them the same products? Being able to sort your customers into common shopping history ‘lists’ lets you target each of them individually. Nobody likes being advertised something they have zero need for, so ensuring you’re targeting the right customer with your message – on their preferred platform – will go a long way to helping improve your business’s growth.”

Mark Ferris, Head of Product at ipSCAPE

Mark Ferris, Head of Product at ipSCAPE

“Customers simply want organisations to know who they are and what they need. How do organisations achieve this? Through arming your customer experience team with powerful technology and quality data.

“When a call, email or chat-based interaction is received by the contact centre, the underlying technology must leverage integration with the CRM and use effective routing to resolve the enquiry without an agent, or ensure the customer is put in touch with an agent that can resolve their enquiry.

“ipSCAPE has built out advanced integration capabilities to achieve this. For example, ipSCAPE’s CTI adapter provides native CRM integration into any CRM platform including Salesforce, Dynamics, ServiceNow and Zendesk. This allows the agent to instantly identify the caller, access relevant information, and enables them to personalise the interaction.

“Ultimately, organisations that achieve synergy between their contact centre and CRM, empower agents to deliver a personalised service that caters to specific customer needs.”

Wil Massara, Founder of Youth Leadership Academy Australia (YLAA)

Wil Massara, Founder of Youth Leadership Academy Australia (YLAA)

“‘Know your customers’ is one of the first rules of business. But in today’s world of fierce industry competition, digging deeper than surface level is the only way to make your audience feel truly valued.

“Here’s how you can personalise your interactions with customers to get the best results:

Ask meaningful questions
Asking questions that get to the heart of customer behaviours, values, and motivations allows you to really understand what they’re looking for. It puts you in a great position to not only meet their needs but to make them feel seen, heard, and valued.

Connect on a human level
Being professional does not need to come at the expense of being human. Showing empathy for a customer’s struggles, celebrating their wins, and taking an interest in their lives will only serve to deepen and improve your relationship.

Tailor your service
Customers don’t want to feel like they’re just a number. Taking the time to provide personalised recommendations, incentives, rewards, or insights is a great way to show that you really understand them. When you tailor your services, you create the ultimate point of difference.

“When done well, personalisation is the key to building customer relationships that keep them coming back time and time again.”

Trena Blair, CEO of FD Global Connections

Trena Blair, CEO of FD Global Connections

“Personalising interactions is crucial for creating trust with customers to better meet their needs. However, for businesses expanding into the USA, pay attention to Federal and State Data Privacy Laws.

“First, understand the customer journey and align tailored interactions at each touch point. To capture individual preferences and behaviours, use customer data and analytics to identify purchase history, preferences, and browsing habits.

“Second, employ a personalised communication approach. Understand the USA’s cultural nuances and protocols to address customers appropriately. Acknowledge the client’s previous interactions to foster a sense of familiarity. Automated personalised emails or messages based on customer behaviour can also enhance engagement.

“Third, allow customers to personalise their experience, whether it’s through product configurations, preferences settings, or personalised recommendations. This empowers customers, making them feel in control of their choices. Moreover, use data analytics to adjust interactions in real-time, to personalise communications. For example, an e-commerce site can dynamically adjust product recommendations based on the customer’s current browsing session.

“Finally, gathering feedback is critical as you engage USA clients. Actively seek customer opinions and preferences through surveys and feedback forms. Use this information to continually refine and enhance personalisation strategies, ensuring customer needs are met and exceeded.”

Brett Newstead, Director of Sales, ANZ at Zebra Technologies

Brett Newstead, Director of Sales, ANZ at Zebra Technologies

“Front-line workers are often inundated with tasks that require a significant amount of time and effort, yet do not add any value to the business or its customers. Unfortunately, this constant juggle to get everything done can lead to a decline in personalised service as well as employee motivation.

“In order to provide customers with a more personalised experience, leaders must prioritise supportive measures for their staff. Technology that simplifies workflows and automates labour-intensive tasks can give time back to employees. This enables teams to focus their efforts on catering to customers in a more individualised manner.

“Additionally, tools that connect employees with colleagues — and provide them with fast access to critical information — empower employees to answer customer queries quickly, without ever leaving the customer’s side. This provides a level of continuation for the customer as their query is resolved by a single person, ultimately leading to a smoother process without time lags and confusion.”

Lauren Karan, Founder and Managing Director at Karan & Co

Lauren Karan, Founder and Managing Director at Karan & Co

“To better meet customer needs, it’s vital to shift our perspective. Many businesses tend to view customer interactions as transactions, but we need to go above and beyond our traditional role, and treat interactions as opportunities to add more value, at each touchpoint. This approach applies to various businesses.

“In the recruitment sector, it’s essential to assess how we can elevate our role. Do our clients require assistance with role design? Are they clear about their employee value proposition for potential candidates? Are they strategizing their workforce planning effectively? What does their pre-onboarding and onboarding process entail? By consistently evaluating these aspects, we can contribute significantly to improving our clients’ business performance.

“This commitment to ongoing improvement ensures that our clients perceive us as consistently exceeding their expectations. It transforms a transactional business into a model built on repeat business and long-term relationships. Our goal should always be to leave clients with the impression that we’ve exceeded their expectations. In doing so, we foster trust, loyalty, and lasting partnerships.”

Adam Pay, Managing Director at mycar

Adam Pay, Managing Director at mycar

“The expectations of our customers are changing fast. With a huge volume of information available to them at their fingertips, they want things faster and better – better products, value and experiences. Customers also want to be engaged on a more genuine, authentic, personal level than ever before. While this may seem complex to achieve, the answer is simple. Be obsessed by your customers and be willing to adapt.

“We all know our own expectations of businesses we interact with. So, it’s a matter of understanding that like you, your customers have choices as to where to spend their hard-earned money. And then it’s about carving out a unique space for your ideal customer, listen to them and take action to meet their needs.

“At mycar, we call this care beyond the car. It’s about getting to know our customers so we can better tailor our services and recommendations to them and their unique lifestyle. The expert, technical capability of our team is a given, so our People First approach makes the customer, rather than the car, our focus. Customer expectations will continue to evolve over time. The key is to be open and willing to change – be inquisitive, learn and take action.”

Billie Sharp, Small Business Expert, Coach & Entrepreneur, Billie Sharp Coaching

Billie Sharp, Small Business Expert, Coach & Entrepreneur, Billie Sharp Coaching

Consider your customers as distinct individuals, not mere entries in a database. Craft your communication by using their names and recognising their preferences. Inquire about their likes, previous experiences, and find out what’s important to them, as every customer is unique. Be sure to actively engage with their responses to form genuine connections.

“This not only ensures your customers feel acknowledged, seen and heard but also transforms their experience and your service as a business, creating memorable impact, increased loyalty and customer retention.

Harness the power of technology; leverage data and analytics to predict customer needs and offer personalised recommendations where you can. Technology will help you to monitor customer experience performance and improve your service quality to meet the needs of your customers so they always feel seen and heard.

And les’s not overlook the importance of follow-up. Whether it’s a thoughtful thank-you note or a post-purchase email, these gestures add an extra layer of care. Remember to extend your follow-up efforts to those who haven’t made a purchase yet – a gentle nudge can go a long way in turning potential customers into satisfied ones.”

Tyler W. Condon, Head of Partner Success at Klarna

Tyler W. Condon, Head of Partner Success at Klarna

“Stocard- a Klarna Group Company, is an easy-to-use app allowing millions of shoppers to effortlessly turn their smartphone into a mobile wallet. Furthermore, brands can connect with customers through personalised messaging which aims to drive them to stores. Personalised messaging is possible because Stocard is able to profile the shopping behaviour of its users and knows what loyalty cards are stored in the mobile wallet.  Communications from retailers include information about their brand, deals, relevant catalogues and loyalty programs that users might be interested in signing up to.

“Another way that Stocard can achieve personalisation is through it’s inbuilt geo-targeting technology capabilities, which recognises when a user is within a certain proximity of a store. This will trigger a unique, custom push notification via the app through messaging designed in complete collaboration with the retailer, usually with a strong call to action to enter the nearby store. Offering a personalised experience to the app user is the key to increasing the number of users and levels of engagement. It is also a core reason of what ultimately helps drive success for our brand and retail partners, ensuring they reach and communicate to a highly relevant audience. Stocard are partnered with more than 400 of Australia’s leading retailers and offer the perfect complement to a connected retail experience, using mobile to bring high value customers into stores as well as online.”

Andrew Rossington, Chief Product Officer at Teletrac Navman

Andrew Rossington, Chief Product Officer at Teletrac Navman

“Personalisation is all about making the customer feel like an individual, not a number. It’s not just maintaining good business relationships but having detailed records that give your customers insight into past and current client interactions.

“Time and effort are about minimising the customer’s effort, removing barriers, and making their everyday fuss-free with the insight they get through digital systems.

“Taking a customer-centric approach isn’t new, but the way you use the new technology available is. Our Teletrac Navman’s TS23 Telematics Survey indicates that around four out of five businesses with fleets use, or plan soon to implement telematics. Telematics itself has become the very central nervous system of fleet-based businesses, helping them better understand their business through real-time analytics.

“With access to a fleet management system, your customers can save both the business and customer time to check on the status of their delivery, and other order information, without needing to contact customer service. You can also ensure more accurate billing by utilising telematics and a GPS system to generate invoices based on tracked mileage or machine utilisation automatically.

“Personalised telematics can also support safety management practices, keeping track of driver certifications and vehicle maintenance to ensure you comply with safety regulations. A strong commitment to vehicle and driver safety, with proof to back it up, can give you a competitive edge with customers who want safety in their supply chain.

“By providing a customisable and personalised service that attends to your customer’s specific requirements, you can better ensure a higher degree of customer service and create a loyal client base.”

Sam Ngo, Director of Product Marketing at BlueConic

Sam Ngo, Director of Product Marketing at BlueConic

“Research indicates that consumers increasingly want their brand interactions to be personalized. However, in a world where every interaction seems to necessitate an email, phone number, or other form of data exchange, consumers’ expectations about how their data is used has shifted. That means businesses need to delicately balance consumer expectations for personalization with their data usage concerns.

“To create personalized, privacy-safe experiences, brands must build trust with customers with two key elements: privacy-centric philosophies around customer data and technology that enables them to use that data in meaningful ways. First-party data, sourced directly from customers, provides valuable insights into individual interests, preferences, and behaviors that can be used to fuel personalization. Since it’s collected with consumer consent, it mitigates the monetary and reputational risk associated with data privacy laws.

“However, first-party data is often siloed across systems. It requires technology, like a customer data platform, to transform it into a unified and actionable resource. By consolidating first-party data into comprehensive customer profiles and making it accessible via a UI, business users can activate on it instantly—creating targeted segments and delivering real-time, personalized, and useful experiences based on the customer’s preferences, browsing behaviors, past purchases, loyalty status, and more.”

Andrii Bezruchko, CEO and Founder at Newxel

Andrii Bezruchko, CEO and Founder at Newxel

“Personalization has been a must for customer-centric businesses, especially in high-scale competitive markets, to enhance customer satisfaction, increase engagement, and improve overall user experience. Personalization may require a complex approach to ensure efficiency through the customer journey. Here are some strategies that work well in the IT staff augmentation industry:

Tailored Communication: Research and utilize customer data to understand their preferences and communication channels. Send personalized emails or updates based on individual interests and requirements.

Customized Service Offerings: Analyse the market and provide personalized recommendations that align with the customer’s business goals.

Dedicated Account Management: Assign a dedicated account manager who understands the client’s unique needs and ensures regular check-ins and communication to address concerns, provide updates, and offer personalized assistance.

Feedback and Improvement: Collect feedback after each interaction or project completion. Use this feedback to continuously improve and personalize future interactions based on the client’s preferences and expectations.

Prioritizing Wishes and Preferences: Prioritize each client’s unique wishes and preferences, ensuring that their individual needs take center stage. This customer-centric strategy not only tailors our interactions but also reflects a commitment to delivering a truly personalized and satisfying experience.”

Bevan Guest, CEO of Novated Lease Australia

Bevan Guest, CEO of Novated Lease Australia

“Here are three invaluable customer service lessons. Even if you’re not in the novated leasing sector, these lessons can be applied to any business aiming to elevate its customer service game.

Take it back to basics
If your business involves complicated contracts or in-depth technical considerations, make sure your customer support team are equipped with the knowledge and communication skills necessary to explain service contracts in everyday language.
When explaining quotes to customers, prioritise transparency. Take the time to communicate the factors influencing the quote, empowering customers to make informed decisions aligned with their financial goals.

Pay attention to details
In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, it’s critical that organisations can demonstrate an unwavering commitment to the details. There’s nothing worse than a business that doesn’t care about the little things. And conversely, there’s nothing better than a business that has gone the extra mile to ensure every little detail has been thought through with a fine-toothed comb.

Prioritise flexibility
Modern customers value flexibility. Whether it’s avoiding lock-in contracts or providing a generous returns policy, your customers will appreciate a business that makes their service or product as flexible as possible.”

Brian Hack, Managing Director at EES Shipping

Brian Hack, Managing Director at EES Shipping

“Personal connections often matter the most, and where you can it’s important to learn more about your customer/clients in terms of who they are and what they do, to develop a genuine relationship.

“Value to a customer is not just about price, it’s a whole of transaction experience. Being able to anticipate your customers’ needs and wants because you genuinely understand their specific requirements, and going the extra mile to make their life a little smoother will pay dividends in the long term. Face-to-face meetings, a catch up over a coffee, or even a personalised handwritten note with an invoice are all meaningful interactions that will stand out in an increasingly digital world where it’s too easy to send a text, an email or give a virtual ‘thumbs up’.

“To use a coffee shop analogy – it’s the barista having your exact order ready before you arrive, asking how the dog/kids/partner are, and occasionally throwing you a free brownie.

“They’re small but meaningful interactions that build connection and relationships and keep the customer returning.”

Sabri Suby, Founder and head of growth at King Kong

Sabri Suby, Founder and head of growth at King Kong

“If there’s one thing that isn’t talked about enough in business, it’s the power of enhancing customer interactions to better meet your goals. Here’s how you can harness this game-changing strategy:

Don’t be basic
Meeting customer needs is never a one-size-fits-all situation. With each interaction, you should aim to offer a tailored service. Birthday perks, customised recommendations, personalised rewards – these are all easy and super effective ways to make your customer feel like more than a number.

Keep it real
When it comes to interacting with customers, imagine you’re having a chat with a friend – authentic, straightforward, and to the point. Just like your best mate, customers can tell when you’re not being honest with them and there’s nothing worse for your business than a reputation for being disingenuous.

Leverage customer data
Customer data is like having a cheat code for better interactions. These days every business has access to a goldmine of data that tells you everything from your customers’ ages to their interests and locations. Use this information to give your customers what they want before they even know it and your ROI will fly through the roof.”

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