Customers choose, recommend and pay more for a brand that provides a personalized experience
Whether introducing users to your platform or sending them reports and invoices each month, every interaction you have with customers is an opportunity to influence them, impress them and strengthen their loyalty to your product. These touchpoints, or moments when users come into contact with your platform through different channels and devices, shape the overall experience customers have with your brand over time.
One of the experiences customers crave the most is personalization. Even if you haven’t interacted with them much, they still want to feel known and engage in relevant interactions instead of generic ones. Up to 77 percent of consumers say they have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience, according to a survey by the market research firm Forrester.
Personalizing your touchpoints with customers is much easier when you are talking to them over the phone or interacting in person. But what if your touchpoints are mostly digital? For customer success managers with a portfolio of 50 customers or more, keeping these interactions personalized can quickly get complicated, especially as digital touchpoints increase.
Identifying Digital Touchpoints That Drive Value
In the digital economy and the software as a service (SaaS) business in particular, managing and personalizing digital touchpoints are vital to creating value for users and driving customer and product success.
Before you can achieve this, you must be able to analyze your usage data to identify what the most common digital touchpoints are for your customers and which ones are the most important to them.
A significant digital touchpoint that often gets overlooked in most organizations is the introduction to the platform itself. The first time users log into your platform, the experience they have sets the tone for every other experience that follows. It’s similar to a first impression in the physical world. The first time we meet someone, we naturally develop perceptions that influence how we interact with that person moving forward. Likewise, firms should strive to ensure that the first impression users have when using their platform is a positive and memorable one.
Over the lifetime of a customer, there are many other digital touchpoints that make an impact, too. These include the automated and manual emails they receive from you and the push notifications they get through their phones and the communication-in-platform itself.
Keeping track of all of these interactions with customers and using each touchpoint, whether it happens to be digital or physical, to personalize the next touchpoint is one of the biggest challenges for customer success and customer experience managers. For example, you might pick up on something a user says during a phone call that you want to incorporate into your next email or push notification to them. This is easy enough to manage if you only have a few customers but doing it at scale is much trickier. The more customers in your portfolio, the more complex this gets for your team.
Having insights handy on the basics of your usage is a good first step — who is using your platform and when, how and for how long are they using it — and the ability to slice and dice that data to identify the top digital and physical touchpoints for different customer groups can help you determine which touchpoints you need to influence and how to start doing that.
Personalizing Touchpoints for Customers
Most SaaS organizations see the value of incorporating personalization into their touchpoint management, but putting it into practice is often much harder than it seems. This can be due to silos between the product success teams who own these initiatives and the customer success teams who execute them. But more often it stems from a lack of integration and data liquidity between the tools these teams are using.
Relying on multiple tools or systems to analyze usage, collect insights, personalize interactions with users and take actions to influence these touchpoints can create a bottleneck that makes it difficult to implement customer success initiatives in the most cohesive, timely and meaningful way. And when data is fragmented across these systems and groups, personalization is even more challenging.
To pull off personalized touchpoint management, organizations need data liquidity between their tools and teams, along with integration between disparate systems. The alternate is a system that connects all these moving parts together and is action oriented.
You can personalize any touchpoint, from the push notifications and reports you send to customers to the way you guide users in your product screens. The more specific and granular you can get in these interactions with customers, the more likely they are to respond favorably.
Take first-time users, for example. Even before they log into your platform, you may send them a welcome email to connect with them and encourage them to interact with your product. If you can personalize that content to the specific roles those users have in their organization, your messaging is more likely to resonate with them. For instance, does your email recognize that the user is also an administrator of the platform and deliver messaging relevant to that? When users log in for the first time, can you personalize what they see on the screen to make it easier for them to navigate your platform? Can you provide guidance on how to best use certain features for the first time or where to go next?
Managing Personalized Digital Touchpoints at Scale
Once you know the touchpoints you want to influence and how to personalize them, you can determine the best actions to take next. This may be easy enough with a few customers, but the more you grow and add to your customer base, the less feasible this becomes. The only way to successfully manage your customer touchpoints and continue making a positive impression at scale is through automation. Can you develop automated triggers that enable you to send out personalized surveys, notifications and other messages across multiple channels?
Investing in an integrated system that seamlessly connects insights and personalization with automated actions for better touchpoint management gives customer success teams the tools they need to handle a growing volume of customers without sacrificing speed or the value they provide to customers.
This article is written by Prithwi Dasgupta, Founder & CEO – SmartKarrot. It originally appeared on Medium.