Creating an intentional customer experience is about making connections with your customers that provide value, automating where it makes sense, and providing a human connection as often as possible.
I had the privilege of speaking with four SMB business owners and founders about what specific tactics they use to create a personal customer experience. Demio, Bonjoro, SMRD and Engage Video Marketing have processes that are genuine, honest, and intentional to connect with their customers. There were numerous similarities in the conversations, and I’d like to share the common takeaways from these businesses and give you ideas on how you can implement these takeaways in your business.
Create a Personal Customer Experience
According to a customer experience survey from Acquia, with 6,613 respondents, “66% of customers say, “when I engage with businesses online, I feel like I’m treated like any other generic customer, not an individual with my own needs.” Knowing that customers want a personal experience, it’s important for businesses to understand exactly what a “personal customer experience” is and how to create that experience for your customers.
Hotjar is a visual tool that helps you understand your customers. They have a great definition that sums up a personal customer experience. They define customer experience as:
“your customers’ holistic perception of their experience with your business or brand. [Customer experience, or] CX is the result of every interaction a customer has with your business, from navigating the website to talking to customer service and receiving the product/service they bought from you. Everything you do impacts your customers’ perception and their decision to keep coming back or not—so a great customer experience is your key to success.”
Providing a personal customer experience goes beyond creating a good customer experience- it’s about helping customers. Every effort you make to correspond with your customers, whether it be a website, marketing tool, or personal phone call, should serve their needs. Everyone wants to be treated as an individual. Essentially, we're all Ron Burgundy from "Anchorman"
So, how do you provide a personal customer experience and still grow a business?
I spoke with Josh at Torchlight Marketing, a Google Ads, SEO, and reputation management agency for service providers, that values one to one communication with their clients. Josh’s goal is to earn the trust of his clients. He knows that there is a lot of complexity in his industry, and often clients come to them overwhelmed with their options and technology.
Josh said, “With an email, they’re going to delay it [responding], but when I’ve sent a Bonjoro, I’ve gotten their engagement back.”
They come to Torchlight looking for help so their business doesn’t get lost on page two of Google. In our call, Josh noted that sometimes what he has to say is complex and could be misunderstood in an email. In those instances, Josh picks up the phone, not to make a phone call, but to record a video of himself speaking to his clients. He says this allows the client to hear his voice, see his face, his body language, his hand gestures- all of which help him articulate his point with more clarity and personalization.
He uses Bonjoro to record his video messages. He said there are times he’ll be thinking of a client’s issues while out and about at the store or gym, and he’ll hop in his truck and record a quick video to send them.
This personalized touch is what helps Josh’s clients trust him and his decisions.
Demio, a webinar platform for B2B SaaS marketers, creates a personalized customer experience for their customers that starts as soon as you become a customer.
While onboarding, Demio asks questions that gives them a better understanding beyond the company name and size. They want to know what the business is attempting to achieve with webinars. Knowing why each business has chosen to use Demio, allows Demio to help those businesses achieve their goals and meet their needs.
Once Demio has a better understanding of the needs of each customer, they know exactly how to support that customer in a way that will help them be successful with their webinar campaign.
Another way to create a personalized customer experience is to meet your customers where they are and provide value that meets their needs. That’s exactly what Engage Video Marketing, a video marketing agency from Australia, has done for their clients.
I spoke with Ben from Engage Video Marketing, where they have taken the concept of providing value to a whole other level. Ben knows that implementing video marketing is an important strategy for B2B businesses, but it’s also one that can be very overwhelming for people with no video production or editing experience.
This is why Ben and his team decided to partner with local business organizations like chamber of commerces and law associations in order to provide monthly free educational workshops to their members and attendees.
Ben was very clear that these workshops, “are not a sales pitch. We believe that if we lead with value by educating our industry, they will come back as clients if they have the need.” After they've taught general video marketing strategies to the group, they will invite those with specific needs or questions to a free one-on-one video strategy discovery session.
It’s only after the free one-on-one session that the Engage team will even mention working together, and by this point, the potential client knows that the agency is knowledgeable in their expertise and has their interest in mind.
Ben mentioned, “this approach works really well for us because as a creative, we’re not salespeople. So by providing value like this, it means we never have to sell or hard pitch potential clients.”
Each company has a unique way of creating a personalized customer experience for their company.
Here are a few takeaways that you can apply to your business:
- Learn as much as you can about your customer, and use that knowledge to help them
- Don’t be afraid to give away value in the beginning
- Face-to-face communication is important - whether that’s in person or via a video
Put in the Time and Effort
For some, business is all about the transaction - “it’s not personal, it’s business” can be heard frequently, but when most of us hear that we have an automatic eye roll reflex that leaves us with a slight headache.
Customer experience is more than a transaction. It really is a relationship between a consumer and a provider. Customer Think reports, “customer experience is not limited to an interaction. Cumulative perceptions, interactions, circumstances, and judgments add up over time to form “customer experience” for each of our prospects, customers, partners, suppliers, and stakeholders. This means customer experience is longitudinal, i.e. developed across a long period of time.”
If customer experience is only transactional, the business is missing a lot of opportunities to improve their customer journey. For the companies I mentioned previously, Bonjoro, Demio, Engage Video Marketing, and Systems and Marketing Solutions Direct, each take time to develop a strategy that creates one on one touchpoints, while also integrating automation in places where it makes the most sense to the business and the customer.
How Do You Invest Time and Grow A Business?
You’re probably thinking, “that’s great! I’d love to call up all of my customers or clients and chat on the phone all day, but I have a business to run.” And you’re right, being personal is time consuming, but there is a way to create personal touches and include automation that allows you the time needed to run your business.
A recurring phrase I heard while speaking with these companies is “your interactions need to be human.” People don’t want to read an email from a blank face and a no-name team member from your company.
Here are three things you can do to be human even in automated interactions.
1. Show up as much as possible.
The Engage Video Marketing team sends an automated email to each business that showed interest in participating in their free one-on-one video strategy discovery sessions. Ben said the video is pre-recorded and shares information about the agency and how they are going to help the potential customer during the upcoming session.
It goes into detail about the agency’s experience and process. Every potential lead who fills out a form after the first workshop is then put into the agency’s CRM and receives the same email and the same video. While the video is automated, it’s a personal message from Ben and helps the customers have an understanding of what to expect before the one-on-one strategy session.
2. Respond quickly and be helpful.
According to Zendesk, “when asking consumers what impacts their level of trust with a company, offering excellent customer service is ranked number one.” Your customers want to be treated well and responded to quickly. Demio agrees and makes their customer success team of a five a priority.
On average Demio has 1,800-2,000 customer conversations a month with a 5 minute response time and 3 hour average close ticket time. But more importantly than how quickly they respond, is how happy their customers are after being helped. On average their rating is 95%!
A quick response is one effective way to make customers happy and grow your business.
3. Be intentional with your engagement.
I noticed a common trend when speaking with each company. They all wanted to be as genuine as possible, and market to potential customers if they believed that they were adding true value for the prospect.
This type of marketing isn’t about staying top-of-mind to potential customers, but rather engaging with prospects in a way that is intentional and purposeful.
Be a Business with Integrity
The market as a whole is concerned with whether or not the company they do business with has integrity. In fact, according to an Accenture study, “64% of consumers say their purchasing consideration is driven by a company's ethical values and authenticity.”
How to Run a Business with Integrity
Operating your business in the most integral way possible means being honest with your customers, providing value, doing what you say you’re going to do, and helping your customers with honest intentions.
Let’s look at how the companies I spoke with are operating with integrity.
Demio has an automated webinar feature that allows attendees to watch a webinar at their own convenience. They want to put an end to the “just a few seats left” and “watch this webinar now while you still have a chance” hype. Because, honestly, everyone knows that’s a lie.
Webinars have been around long enough for most people to have experienced that lie. It’s dishonest and tries to create scarcity where there’s really no need for scarcity. Demio’s automated webinar feature means that any of their customers can record a webinar once, and it will be available for future audiences forever.
Demio also has a University with tons of content that helps B2B SaaS marketers with their needs. It teaches them how to create an entire funnel, write compelling copy, and promote events. Not because that is what’s best for Demio, but it’s what’s best for Demio’s customers.
Bonjoro has found a way to onboard new customers in a way that is helpful, thoughtful, and educational. Casey from Bonjoro has invited his new customers to A/B test their current onboarding practices vs. using a Bonjoro video.
Bonjoro believes in their product and knows that it will help businesses. But rather than continuously telling prospects that, they encourage them to test out Bonjoro against their current method of onboarding.
Casey noted that in the six months he’s been giving the approach a try- 80% of their prospects convert because their business improved while using Bonjoro.
A Personal Customer Experience + Integrity = Lifetime Customers
I’ve shared the tactics that four small to mid sized businesses use to genuinely engage and help their customers. When creating your own personal customer experience strategy be sure to:
- Be personal
- Invest time where possible
- Automate where possible
- Be helpful
- Be honest
If those five points become the driver for every decision you make, you’ll have a business that grows and has life long customers.
If you have any interest in sharing your message or educating your audience through webinars, we’d love for you to check out Demio!