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The importance of individualization in customer convenience

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Over the past few weeks we covered the topic of user experience convenience. What is convenience? Why is customer convenience important, and moreover, how can you achieve and create convenience in your customer experience through customer communications?

 

We distinguished perception as a crucial parameter to factor into customer convenience. Perception depends in most cases on timing and varies as well from person to person. As such, there is an indisputable link between personalization and customer convenience and it is one that businesses can’t afford to ignore in their efforts to boost customer loyalty by providing a quality customer experience.

Today we’ll take a closer look at the link that ties personalization or even more so individualization and customer convenience: relevance. To boost convenience in customer communications for each individual customer or prospect, this is key: deliver the right message at the right moment via the right channel.

Personalization vs. individualization

While personalization is about being polite and not about relevance, individualization is. When do I provide what content? In order to individualize, you need data about the motivations and behavior of your individual customers in the context of time. Starting off your emails with “Dear David,” is no longer sufficient. Because of this it’s much harder to achieve than personalization, but nonetheless, it’s what customers have come to expect.

Deliver the right message

Understanding your customers starts with knowing what exactly they want and need. What are their interests? Their hobbies? Do they have kids, a partner? Fail to do so and your customers won’t feel valued and respected. Every year since my wife gave birth to our son, I have been receiving emails from my health insurance fund reading: “Dear David, Why should I breastfeed?” or “How can I avoid pregnancy ailments?”

 

Correct, something’s not right. First of all, the department that sends out these emails should know that I am a man. Secondly, I have been receiving this kind of emails for the past four years. My son is 3,5 now. They should know this as well. Although correct data should be the norm, it does seem to be quite a challenge for a lot of organisations to get the basics right…

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At the right moment via the right channel

While every touchpoint is vital to strengthen your bond with customers and prospects and tie them to your brand, you can be easily inclined to begin spamming them. However, unnecessary communications should be avoided at all times. As a result, timing is also crucial. Customers aren’t constantly waiting to hear from you. Instead they expect you to know when they want to be contacted. Indulging in these preferences is one thing, knowing your customers so well that you can reach out when they need you to before they even realise themselves, is something else. This, you could say, is convenience at its finest.

Last summer, however, I drove off to Spain for a sunny holiday. On my way back my car broke down. Getting home was a nightmare, even from a communication perspective. I got one text saying that "The breakdown service will be there soon to tow your car“, while I was already waiting two hours in the garage to where my car was towed. Another text came in when I was resting in Luxembourg after driving for 2 hours with the replacement car: "Your replacement vehicle is available for pick-up at Zaventem Brussels Airport. DO NOT REPLY!". While these messages could have contributed to my customer experience and boost convenience, now all they did was confuse and aggravate me because of bad timing.

Channel

Lastly the contents of your communications go hand in hand with the channel by which they reach your customers. While in the past print would be the go-to medium to get your message across, the digital era has provided us with numerous ways to create touchpoints and new channels pop up almost everyday, from websites, to apps, texts …

 

Not long ago our VP marketing Geert received the following bankmail after making an appointment. It told him that he could find all details of his appointment attached. So he had to download and open a PDF on a mobile device to find out what he needed to know. That’s not convenient. It’s harder to read but moreover it demands more effort and time from the customer’s part to get to the point where he finds what he needs.

 

With a communication in mind you should always carefully consider not only the best way for it to reach your audience but also the customer journey and the response you want to spark.