Personalisation in the Contact Centre- A How-to Guide

There isn’t a single brand on Earth whose marketing and advertising would claim that they were ‘the world’s most average company’ or that their products ‘are just okay, I guess’. No-one wants to be ‘average’.

Yet, this is precisely how many brands treat their customers. They look at the average customer and build journeys accordingly (full disclosure: your average customer is a mythical creature that doesn’t actually exist in the real world). I’m going to make the blunt assumption that you have already bought into this idea and need some ideas on how to do it.

 Let’s explore ways to personalise and ways not to personalise, which is equally important.

Key Considerations for Personalisation

It is essential to bear in mind that personalisation can only happen through data. And when we say data, we don’t just mean the records you have on your CRM or databases, it could include anything your customers may have shared with the organisation, including when talking to your agents.

Is your Data in Order?

Look at the way your data is structured. What is the lens through which you look at your customer? No technical skill required here: ask yourself (or the analysts in the business) whether the company works around customers, orders, addresses or any other feature?

In other words, when you look at how the business operates within the systems, is the data and the reporting done around products, orders, or customers? Although you may have assumed all the data, programming and reporting are based around the customer, in reality this is rarely the case. It is often looked at through the lens of the order or a postal address rather than an individual customer or account.

This has huge ramifications because answering questions such as ‘how often does this customer order from us?’ or ‘when was their last order?’ becomes a lot more challenging as a result of this structural configuration. Like the foundations of a house, to be sustainable and efficient, you need to first make sure that the data you have is structured appropriately.

If the data is in order and all relevant information is displayed to the agent on their screen, it allows them to capture small moments of delight. For example, let’s say that Jenny calls two days prior to her birthday. A small but powerful way to get Jenny to feel seen and heard (not just a number, yet another anonymous caller) would be to wish her a happy birthday. Or even proactively offer a small gesture!

Empower your agents to take on board the available data and use it proactively during the interaction. If I recently called to resolve a problem with my broadband, and I’m now calling you again, I’d like one of your first questions to be to ask if your colleague solved the issue to my satisfaction. Reading and harnessing the data goes a long way to personalising the experience.

Harness Unstructured Data

Empower your team to go off-script. If the agent hears the dog barking in the background, do they feel confident and comfortable enough to ask about the dog, their breed, how old they are and share anecdotes of their own dog, or are they worried this could mess their AHT (average handling time) metrics?

Humans connect emotionally by sharing experiences, finding commonalities and building upon them. ‘Small talk’ is incredibly powerful in personalising the experience your customer has.

Make it Relevant

Another powerful way to personalise in the contact centre relates to complaints and issue resolution.

Let’s assume your company has let a customer down (happens to the best, literally), and you are now the agent in charge of rectifying the situation. You decide it is worthy of compensation. How do you go about this? The blanket approach could work, but that’s what we’re trying to move away from. Instead, is there a way to deliver value and offer relevant perks to your customers?

For example, if you see that your customer often calls abroad, could you offer them credits to call overseas? Remember, it has to be relevant to them: if they never make phone calls and spend their lives on messaging apps, this wouldn’t be of any value.

And that’s the key lens through which you should train your agents to look. What matters is the perceived value for the customer. If done right, it wouldn’t surprise me if you could reduce the average compensation value by tuning into a customer’s preferences and adjusting the right perks for them.

Finally, Identify the Personas

Last but not least, if you get to know your customer base, you will identify that you have different personas, different profiles that most customers will fall into. If you understand who your customer is, you can tailor the approach to them and communicate at the right level.

Let’s say you work for a major streaming company and you have access to your customers’ viewing history. If a customer tends only to watch documentaries or they tend to binge-watch series, these are two very different profiles, but you can certainly relate to them. If the organisation understands this and gives the agent even more insight…say, by sharing titbits about great documentaries, that can be exceptionally powerful!

No Material Gain Comes without Risks

I’d be lying if I said it was easy – we recently published an entire post on the risks of trying too hard Top Personalisation slip-ups and how to avoid them. It’s easier than you may think to cross a line and be perceived to be intrusive, use incorrect or incomplete data or sound awkward when attempting to connect, but personalisation is well worth the effort.

After all, every brand wants to be unique, differentiated, and valuable, it’s only fair for you to walk the walk and give your customer the same treatment. When you interact with them, be sure to be relevant but not too personal. Make them feel special by providing them with a relevant conversation, appropriate offers and references to their customer history. Average Joe could well be your customer: however, he isn’t John Doe, so make sure to acknowledge and celebrate him!

This article was first published on Premier CX.

About the author