Since business began, good customer service has always held the same principals. Historically, many florists, butchers and hairdressers – and the list could go on – knew their customers by name, their preferences, and even their schedules.
We often hear people complaining that these personalized experiences are part of a ‘bygone era’ of customer service. As companies have changed and adapted to our new, digital world, they have been able to reach a mass market. Scale has become more important than ever before, and the concept of personalization more exceptional.
But it’s not all lost for the modern business. There’s still a chance for companies to get to know their customers, since traditional over-the-counter interactions are no longer the only means of engagement. Nowadays, it’s possible to communicate with a customer over the phone, email, web, text message, mobile applications – and of course, in person. These various channels can work to a company’s advantage, but only if it sets itself up for the job.
Power of Personalization
Delivering a personalized service on a large scale is possible when facilitated by customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. When these CRM solutions are combined with order management technology, businesses are given the opportunity to speak to their entire customer base on a personal level, just like local shopkeepers of the past.
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Looking at purchasing history and customer background, plus data collected on interactions and purchases, means that companies are able to tailor each offer and communicate with customers on an individual level.
One aspect of customer interactions that play a crucial role in this process is social media, as sites like Twitter and Facebook have rapidly become the ‘go-to’ channels for customers to connect with brands. But tracking customer interactions on social media only works if companies integrate this data with other points of contact. That’s to say, if a customer makes a complaint on Twitter, the message should be logged on the customer’s file.
Then, if they were to follow up with a call or email, the customer service representative knows the full history behind the query. Techniques like this take customer service one step further – a personal and seamless process, but applicable on a wide scale.
Data in Demand
For businesses, it’s knowing what to do with the data they have that’s such a vital part of a process like this. For the traditional shopkeeper, it was a question of memory – what is this person’s favorite product, when do they shop, how much do they spend? When additional channels are added into the equation such as email and mobile, the challenge of really knowing a customer increases.
Companies need to know the best way to collate the right data, from multiple channels, and to know what to do with it. Once they’ve overcome these obstacles, a single customer view should be accessible to the right people, in the right place, and at the right time.
It’s no secret that the way we look after customers in the modern world has changed. But what’s important to remember is that delivering first-rate customer service is still a possibility. The presence of mobile, the internet, and social media amongst others, have all contributed to the heightened importance of data for a business.
If the appropriate strategies are developed and this data is used in the correct way, companies can still get to know their customers on a personal level. Customer service can work to set businesses apart, and large companies can still take on the personalized role of the shopkeeper of yesterday.