Tap into the power of per­sonal touch

The Herald (South Africa) - - BUSINESS - Bev Han­cock Bev Han­cock is MD, Kamva Lead­er­ship In­sti­tute

THE most cru­cial trend in cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence re­quires a mind­shift from view­ing your cus­tomer as an LSM de­mo­graphic to hy­per-per­son­al­i­sa­tion – a tar­get mar­ket of one.

It is a re­turn to the days when the cus­tomer was known and loved.

It is mass-cus­tomi­sa­tion taken to scale through ad­vanced digi­ti­sa­tion and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

The big­gest cost to most busi­nesses is hu­man in­ter­ac­tion.

Many cus­tomer ser­vice chan­nels have been au­to­mated or con­signed to call cen­tres, which leave peo­ple feel­ing like a de­per­son­alised cog in a wheel.

Hy­per-per­son­al­i­sa­tion seeks to re­con­nect with the cus­tomer us­ing big data and in­tu­itive ma­chine learn­ing. Com­pa­nies that can gather, in­ter­pret and use data ef­fec­tively to con­nect with their cus­tomers are gain­ing the edge and the ex­po­nen­tial bot­tom line.

How to hy­per-con­nect

What I en­joy about book­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion through Euro­pean AirBnB is the fact that I can con­nect per­son­ally with my host.

It builds trust and gives me a sense of se­cu­rity. I can chat to my Uber taxi driver about the cur­rent wa­ter cri­sis and Ama­zon is fine-tuned to my some­what eclec­tic read­ing pref­er­ences.

Face­book tells me when it is your birth­day and if no one else knows where I am, Google does.

All this from the data that I have given them. So how can we, in a very prac­ti­cal way, hy­per-con­nect with our cus­tomers?

Be part of your cus­tomer’s story

Al­go­rithms and ma­chine learn­ing al­low you to build your client pro­file over time and in­tu­itively en­gage at a deeper level to in­flu­ence fu­ture buy­ing be­hav­iour.

Those al­go­rithms tell you that “peo­ple who bought this book also liked these” – the power of rec­om­men­da­tion.

Max­imise use of on­line plat­forms

Talk to your cus­tomer, not at them. They are look­ing for an im­mer­sive, multi-chan­nel ex­pe­ri­ence where they can in­ter­act in their own way. Know where they hang out, how they com­mu­ni­cate and where they are likely to make their buy­ing de­ci­sions.

The ben­e­fit of the cloud is much of the work has been done for you. Start with on­line plat­forms that are do­ing this well.

Con­nect your cal­en­dar to LinkedIn and get to know you cus­tomers be­fore you meet them. Use video to con­nect in real time.

Use hash­tags and key­words strate­gi­cally not #ran­domly.

Find out which por­tals your cus­tomers like, when they are most likely to read their feed. Mil­len­ni­als are on In­sta­gram, Snapchat and What­sApp and 55-year-old women are on Face­book.

Turn your data into gold by us­ing one of the many CRM sys­tems avail­able – to in­form strat­egy, sales and de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

Craft mes­sages to speak per­son­ally to your cus­tomers. Ad­dress them by name and avoid jar­gon.

And lastly, there is only so much con­nec­tion you can do dig­i­tally.

So pick up that phone, walk down the pas­sage, switch off the Wi-Fi and talk to your cus­tomer.

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