3 Key Steps to Creating Meaningful Personalised Experiences

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Oliver King

Personalisation is a must have factor in the experience your business provides. Consumers aren’t content with a one-size fits all approach; they yearn for services catering specifically for them as individuals, not numbers. We’ve reached the tipping point where consumer choice is based on service personalisation rather than price alone. But the good news is customers are willing to share their personal data to get it.

Innovators and start-ups who’ve been able to deliver meaningful personalised experiences are already reaping the benefits. However, it’s more difficult for well-established organisations who have to overcome inherent barriers such as siloed structures and legacy systems. The good news is they’re often sitting on large amounts of customer data, they just need a clear strategy on how to use it.

Step 1: Understand What Personalisation Means to Your Business

This also involves clearly identifying what you’re looking to achieve, be that innovation, differentiation, increased loyalty or lifetime value, so you can identify the change required to become a personalisation-ready business. However, personalisation doesn’t mean becoming a slave to customers. It’s about understanding what customers would find useful and desirable and innovating your business model appropriately to achieve growth.

It’s important to note two things: (1) customers don’t necessarily know what they want, it’s therefore the company’s responsibility to adapt accordingly, and (2) some customers won’t welcome increased personalisation, so it’s important to gauge the appropriate level across the board.

It will reveal whether implementing personalisation involves a small tweak or something bigger. Mercedes Benz flipped their entire traditional after-sales service model to serve the person rather than the vehicle. Using customer insight, back-end processes and employee behaviour were redesigned to create a customer-centred vision. They ensured that the anchored value propositions were viable for the customer and Mercedes Benz, with complementary propositions and compelling reasons to choose Mercedes-Benz’s servicing.

SEE ALSO: 30-Minute Customer Experience Remodel Webinar: Creating a Customer-Oriented Culture

Step 2: Embrace Data

Customer data – or rather good segmentation and analytics on it – is the foundation on which personalised services can be built. Many businesses are great at capturing data but have yet to define Step 1 so they can’t do something meaningful with big data to provide the personalisation that benefits both brand and customer.

Once you’ve achieved Step 1, you need to assess the data you currently have in order to identify gaps or capabilities required to collect any additional data you require. A common barrier here may be legacy systems or outdated infrastructure which requires investment to create better data collection tools, technical infrastructure, and analytical/business intelligence resources.

The goal of data here is to create a clear picture of what your customers need and value by mapping out the current customer journey in order to identify pain points and opportunities to deliver personalisation capabilities that address specific needs.

Channel 4, for example, redesigned the back-end system for their 4oD service so they could better segment and analyse customer usage data to improve the service. The new system harnesses customer data to service users with more relevant shows and information based on their behavioural data. The key result was making it more personal through the ability to provide recommendations much as a friend would.

Dubai Airports also recognised a complete rebuild of back-office legacy systems was required to deliver their vision – an airport that meets current customer expectations and predicts future ones. The system linked the passenger with their ticket in order to thread together the entirety of their transaction to help identify opportunities to deliver personalised services. It’s about going beyond a transactional passenger classification to understanding individual behaviours and preferences.

Step 3: Realise It May Require a Change of Company Culture

Just as service design principles are applied to the technical changes outlined above, they must also be addressed for the culture and working environment of your business. The capability to deliver personalisation at scale is deeply engendered in the company culture.

Many of the barriers businesses face involve siloed business units, and a lack of positive incentives for employees. Are your employees empowered or equipped with the right tools and processes? Do you have the right people in the right roles? Staff should feel empowered and imbued with the necessary skills, flexibility and resources in order to deliver robust personalised services.

Zurich Insurance, for example, empowered staff to better understand the acute needs and support customers may require at a time of illness or bereavement. Agents are now provided with a budget to allow them to make individual acts of kindness.

A frank assessment of this current landscape and an appropriate blueprint for change are a key part a successful personalisation strategy.

And Don’t Forget…

It’s vital in all the above that you identify key goals and metrics to measure the success of a personalisation strategy which are then built into every tranche of the strategy piece and form a key part of the business case for organisational change. This allows for easier signoff on essential investment requirements and also enables you to quickly adapt to changing expectations – internally and externally. Personalisation is an ever-evolving entity.