If there is one thing that’s become clear in the eCommerce world in the past few years, it’s that customer service is one of the key fields of competition.
Businesses are fiercely competing over every single conversion, so providing your customers with a perfect experience is a significant step towards growing your business. More importantly, good customer service gives you a better chance of turning first-time buyers into loyal customers, which is the ultimate proof of success.
One thing that can instantly boost your customer service is personalization. Knowing your customers and their history with your brand will help you deliver them tailored experiences. This will make the customer feel like they’re being treated with care and respect, rather than a number in your Excel column.
So how do you go about personalizing customer service? In this article, we’ll go over some easy tips that you can instantly apply to your customer service strategy and start fostering customer loyalty.
What is personalized customer service?
Have you ever received a customer service email that starts with: “Dear Mr/Mrs”?
If you have, you realized that the brand you’re communicating with clearly knows nothing about you and sends this generic email to every customer.
Personalized customer service is the complete opposite – collecting user data and leveraging it to provide each customer with a customized experience. It could be as simple as mentioning someone’s name in the opening line of your message or as complex as saving entire user histories and keeping them in mind with every new interaction.
This approach relies on one simple fact: there is no “one size fits all” solution to customer service. Think about it – you wouldn’t approach a long-time customer with a deep knowledge of your products the same way as you would a newcomer who might need a tutorial or a demo video, would you?
So, personalized customer service allows you to highlight each customer’s specific issues and address them the right way.
Is personalization effective?
Why does personalized service even matter?
Well, for starters, people seem to like it. Multiple studies have found that people prefer getting personalized offers and recommendations. For example, Accenture found that over 90% of customers prefer doing business with brands that provide them relevant offers.
The same goes for customer service – 93% of customers are more likely to purchase from you more than once if you offer good customer service. Those are what we call “return customers”, and they’re among the most valuable assets in eCommerce.
Now that we know the basics about customer service personalization, let’s get into our tips for implementing this approach into your eCommerce business.
Tip #1: Get to know your customers
All personalization starts with user data. To provide someone with a personalized experience, you need to know who you’re talking to.
You can learn more about your customers in several ways, none of which are particularly hard. Here are some quick tips.
Use social media and website analytics
Your Instagram and Facebook pages have elaborate Insights pages, where you can get an overview of who your fans are. You’ll see their gender, age, location, and various other demographic data that you can use to inform your decisions.
So, if you know that most of your audience are people between the ages of 18 and 34, you can think about making your communication less formal, suited to a younger audience.
You can track website analytics in a similar way, only even more advanced. You can see the demographics of your visitors but you’ll also see which pages they visit, which buttons they click, how long their sessions are, etc.
Source: Online Metrics
All of this can help you paint a better image of your customers and use this data to execute audience segmentation. Once you do, you’ll have different approaches based on demographics – young, tech-savvy users won’t be getting the same types of interactions as older, more traditional members of your audience.
Keep track of user history
Another thing that will impress your customers and make the whole process much easier is keeping track of user history.
Make sure your support team has access to users’ previous issues and interactions with your brand. This will allow them to have a better knowledge about the customer – how they interact with the brand and how they react to customer support. It will also prevent your support agents from guiding the customer through a process they already went through.
There is nothing more annoying than switching to a different agent and having to explain the same problem all over again.
Ask for feedback
A great way to learn more about what your customers want is to simply ask them.
Opening yourself up for feedback gives your audience a chance to point out possible flaws in your process that you weren’t able to identify yourself. It’s also a good way to see if your current approach is working.
You can ask for feedback on almost all touchpoints in the customer journey – your website, social media, email, etc. You can also run customer surveys using tools like SurveyMonkey. It’s easy to set up and gives you all the information you need.
Tip #2: Use customers’ names
Using your prospect’s name is an old sales trick – it’s often said that name repetition and firm handshakes instill trust and make you feel more connected to the salesperson.
But, this is much more than an old-school business mantra. Research suggests that there might be some sound psychology behind this trick. When we hear our first name, our brain lights up and reacts in a very specific way, compared to how we react when we hear other people’s names.
Even if we disregard the scientific background, using your customers’ names is almost common courtesy at this point. It makes the user feel like you’re really listening to them and appreciating the feedback.
Do you think it’s a coincidence Starbucks puts your name on their cups? It’s supposed to elicit a positive feeling and a sense of connection between you and their brand. And, it seems like it’s working – Starbucks has become one of the most famous, most loved brands globally.
So, use customers’ names in your customer support communication to create a stronger connection.
The only trick with name personalization is not using it too much. You don’t want to come off as too pushy or creepy!
Tip #3: Appreciate first purchases with personal messages
When someone makes their first purchase on your website, they’re one step closer to becoming a loyal customer. But, the next step is crucial – the way you turn these first-time buyers into repeat customers is all up to you!
A great way to show appreciation to those customers is to send them a personalized message. You can do this via email, since you likely have their contact from the order they made. By doing this, you place a great deal of value on that first purchase and you contribute to building a meaningful relationship with the customer.
You can also use this opportunity to educate the user and introduce them to some of your key features/products. If you sell fitness courses, for example, this could be a good time to give your clients some pointers and initial tips.
This is best done with videos – a brief personal video gives you the chance to say everything you need in an engaging and fun way. With Bonjoro, you don’t have to be an expert to make these videos. All you need is your laptop, an Internet connection, and a good idea!
When you engage those trialists or first-time buyers with impactful messages, you can get some great results. Not just in terms of email open and response rates, but in important business success metrics as well.
For example, Luxe Fitness, an online fitness service, managed to boost trial conversion rates by 29% in only one month!
How did they do it?
Since their whole platform is about connecting fitness instructors with people who wanted to exercise, they did one thing – they enabled those instructors to send personalized welcome videos to trialists. The instructors recorded brief messages to introduce newcomers to their program and give a few tips to get started with the classes.
As you can see from the results above, they did an amazing job!
So, make sure that first purchase/sign-up counts and connect with your customers right from the start.
Tip #4: Provide a seamless website experience
Personalized customer service isn’t just about solving issues and engaging customers directly. It’s also about personalizing and streamlining each step of their experience with your brand and, most importantly, your website.
It’s a good idea to infuse your website with some powerful personalization techniques like customized homepages. Take a page from Netflix’s book: your front page is not the same as mine – we like different things, so we’re shown different things.
If you create a unique experience for each user, they’ll be more likely to return and keep buying from you, which will slowly turn them into loyal customers.
However, before you can even think about website personalization, you need to think about the overall quality of your website. It should be easy to navigate, browse through products, and place orders. If you aren’t a UX expert, stick to these three simple rules: make your CTAs prominent, use good product photos, and don’t make users register. This last one is really important as skipping it can lose you a lot of leads – always have a guest option unless you want people leaving your website because they can’t be bothered to create an account.
Tip #5: Use an omnichannel approach 250 live chat, chatbot, social media, email, VoIP
Finally, good customer service (personalized or not) means giving your users as many ways as possible to contact you and ask for help. Employ an omnichannel approach and make sure your customer service is for everyone: young, old, mobile users, people with special needs – everyone.
Here are three of the most important customer support channels you shouldn’t ignore.
- Live chat. This is an efficient way to help your customers right at the moment they might need help, while they’re browsing through your website. Live chat extensions and tools cost little to nothing (some are actually free) but they make things much easier for both your users and customer support agents.
- Social media. According to Facebook, 64% of customers would rather message than call a business. That’s not a huge majority but it’s still a mistake if you ignore this growing trend. Whatever your business may be, chances are customers will try to contact you on social. Make sure your accounts are active and your response time is short!
- VoIP business phone systems. So, if 64% of people message businesses, that still leaves us with 36% who call. To provide support to those customers, you might want to invest in a VoIP business phone system. They allow you to have toll-free numbers that your customers can call and get all their questions answered. Modern VoIP systems also have additional features that make it easier for your customer support team to collaborate, forward calls, and assign responsibilities.
Personalized customer service: the final word
If you want to take your customer service to the next level, personalization seems to be the way to do it.
And, while you might know about things like name repetition and live chats, it’s time to think about the more advanced stuff. That includes using customer data to make better decisions and engaging your users with more interesting formats to keep them returning to your offer.
When you do these things, keep an eye on your Google Analytics – you’ll likely experience an increase in repeat customers after a while.
If you want to create all kinds of videos to reach out to your customers on a more personal level and increase loyalty, we at Bonjoro will be happy to help.
Register for a free trial and start creating fun videos that convert!