Offering personalized customer service

5 minute read

Personalized customer service experience is still a current topic as we live in a world of endless options and an empowered buyer. Customers can switch over in no time unless you can demonstrate to them that they are truly valued and understood on a personal level. Your personal customer service touch can awaken emotion in a person, and in these modern times this is very valuable currency.

With a continuous commoditization of products and increasing competition in a global marketplace, there are plethora of options available for the customers. As our lives are increasingly busy, many of us appreciate service that is more efficient and easy-to-use. People are expecting that companies know them and can use that information for quicker and better service.

For a product or service provider, personalization is a great way to differentiate yourself. If you consider your product premium to the competition, personalization is a must and you have to go beyond the traditional customer service KPIs to get there.

Offering a personalized service means understanding the customer and tailoring the service to their situation and needs. With this definition, there is an inherent requirement of knowing your customers and hence gathering and utilizing data regarding them.

Personalizing customer service with data

First, you may need to take a bird’s eye view of your customer service concept and customer journey to really see in which processes and interactions personalization makes sense. After that, you need to understand if you have the necessary data and in which systems you collect it.

Gathering data is done in various ways. Secure portals allow you to gather data on the customer with regards to who they are, where they are in the purchasing process, the web pages or products they may have visited or the previous customer service cases they have had with the company. Pre-chat windows and chatbots can gather data on the customer and pass through to the customer service agent or CRM system.

To gain a better understanding of your customers’ needs, you can also ask them directly about what they are interested in and what channels they would like to use for different customer service scenarios. You can even conduct a survey or ask customers to join your workshop since you need that first-hand information.

Gradually this all starts to build a picture of the customer that can then be used to serve the customer in a more personalized way.

Personalized customer service experience

Once you have that data about your customers, you may then want to create layers of personalization based on how valuable each customer is to you. Then you need the technology to implement the personalizations. This may involve your website, marketing automation, or customer service platform.

It has been proven in customer communication personalization works: marketing messages convert better when they are personalized. Your average customer also expects more today than they did yesterday, and personalized customer service is a way to differentiate your product from the competition.

It can be wise to start with a smaller scope involving a limited number of customers and service channels — for example, self-service — and to plan out in advance what kind of personalized customer service experience you are aiming to achieve.

From an agent perspective having the customer data at the ready allows them to serve the customer in a personalized and productive manner. Whether it be in a web store where the customer is unable to find what they are looking for or the customer is following up on a previous case through chat, having the data at the agent’s fingertips enables them to provide the customer the service they expect.



Personalized customer service examples

A typical example of personalization is a web store. First, you identify a user as either your existing customer or a potential customer, and then you adjust what they see based on this information. For a returning customer, you may show product or service recommendations based on their past behavior; for a potential customer, you may show marketing content or a promotion to help them convert into a customer.

Or let’s say you are a hotel company and a customer contacts you via your web page chat. Instantly your customer service agent or chatbot knows if this customer is one of your top-tier customers and if they should be directed to an expedited VIP service process. In the actual service interaction, if you have the customer data available, you can use that to address any open requests or items that are related to that customer — even proactively. You can also see what future bookings they have and use that information to, for example, suggest complementing services or products.

In this example personalization means quicker service, addressing all of the customer needs, seeing that they are satisfied and maybe even up-selling to another product or service.

Salesforce for customer service

Salesforce is a great tool for personalizing customer service. The advantage of Salesforce is that a majority of the technology solutions can be delivered using an integrated platform, enabling a complete overview of the customer relationship.

You may also have Experience Cloud running on Salesforce and, since you can identify your customer, you can show them more personalized data about their transactions or have a chatbot ask something based on what you know about them. For example if the customer wants to check on a case’s progress and the chatbot provides the customer with an update on the case. You can achieve this using the latest integrated telephone technology too. This is a highly productive method of providing personalized customer service at a low cost to the call centre operations.

Meaning of data and AI for customer service

In the future, mobile applications and additional channels will help to collect more data about customers, such as their location, and also other supporting data sources with APIs will increase. Continuously more and more data will become available.

Artificial intelligence provides a lot of new opportunities. An AI assistant can mine large amounts of data about the customer and give the customer recommended solutions directly, or it can simply help the customer service agent or sales rep to provide a more personalized service to the customer.

The more you know, the more you can understand, the more you can help. And this allows you to build a strong connection with your customer.

Finnair: transforming customer experience

Finnair now provides consistent and personalized customer service across multiple channels and markets with Salesforce Service Cloud.

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