Become a customer to jumpstart your personalization strategy
By Margaret Wise, Chief Revenue Officer, Arke
When was the last time you thought of yourself as a customer of your company? It can be an enlightening experience for any leader to pause for a minute and think about this question.
If you didn’t know your industry lingo, how would you try to look up your product or solution?
What words would you use to describe your problem, not the desired solution? Where would you look for that information? Who would you ask for input?
Take the next step in the process and try searching for information on your product or service. Are you being asked to provide an excessive amount of personal data just to get some basic information? Can you get a price quote without having to give up any information? How easy is it to reach out for additional information? Are there multiple channels open to you? How quickly does someone follow up with you?
One way to set a positive tone for a prospective client is a simple welcome message. Sitecore allows you to identify first-time visitors and easily configure a welcome message for this simple personalization rule.
This immediately signals that your organization is paying attention to what’s happening on your website and providing a superior digital experience.
The next logical step as a potential buyer is to look for more information on a product or service. Your site visitor could be doing price comparisons or looking for specifications, which means you have an opportunity to add extra value. This is a moment to proactively recommend content that is related to the product or service, offering broader context, in addition to the immediate information they were seeking.
Offering valuable information that is related and not purely motivated to up-selling or cross-selling earns you the right to ask for a small amount of information. Sitecore allows you to leverage progressive profiling, which keeps the value exchange fair but grows your profile data over time. Specifically, you can ask for basic information to start, such as their name and email address to download a gated whitepaper. The next time content is requested, you can ask 1-2 questions about interest or intent. You can build the trust relationship by letting your visitor know that you’ll use the information to create a more relevant visit. This reinforces that you are paying attention to the customer journey and working hard to create a guided, valuable customer experience.
Continue with personalization all the way through a transaction. Analyze the moments where you felt the experience was positive, negative, or neutral. Positive moments are great opportunities for reinforcement or opening a door for advocacy. You have an opportunity to create brand advocacy even when someone moves out of the customer cycle before purchase.
You are still creating a customer sentiment that exists before and after any future transactions. Many luxury brands have mastered this.
Neutral moments can also present unique customer experience opportunities. Many companies neglect to capitalize on these moments because they aren’t particularly “painful” enough that they need to be fixed and require immediate attention. Neutral sentiments are interesting because, with some slight modifications, they can convert into “wow” experiences.
The distance from neutral to “wow” is shorter than negative to neutral for most organizations.
If you are currently delivering a neutral experience, you likely have the foundational elements in place for that part of the customer journey. You’re able to capitalize on specific moments with incremental improvements around personalization and value communications.
One of the best ways to graduate from neutral to “wow” is to not sell. Companies can catapult from moderate levels of satisfaction to creating brand fanatics by timing their communications based on correctly identified personas.
Customers would rather have you invest in their success than in another targeted sales promotion. They’d prefer falling into the persona of "happy client" than "target up-sell". This isn’t automatically the same persona. Personalization rules really come into play when identifying the differences in timing of sales promotions.
Our advice is to create your own "voice of the customer" experience. If you were one of your organization’s customers, would like to be pitched another product immediately after your initial buy? Or would you like the company to first check in with you, ensure you had what you needed, and then receive an appropriately timed follow-up offer? At a restaurant, would you like to be offered dessert as soon as your entrée is placed, before you’ve even taken a bite?
The best strategy is often improved by this simple "voice of the customer" exercise.
For further details on other steps and considerations to improve personalization, download the Sitecore personalization guide.