How to Drive Personalization with Voice of the Customer Data

By: Clarabridge Team

July 17, 2015

by Rachad Davis, Content Marketing Associate

Customers expect companies to know who they are, where they are, what they like, and how they shop. It is assumed that companies should track these metrics and the insights gained from them in their digital marketing to personalize experiences for customers. This is the new paradigm created by the advent of data analytics.

That’s asking a lot, right?

Well, not so much, as many marketers have begun to recognize the importance of personalization. Tailoring your marketing to specific groups or people is now a necessity. Adobe recently released a survey from 2014 that highlights the importance companies place on personalization. According to the survey, 63% of high-performing companies say that they are “completely or very focused on personalizing experiences for customers.” Furthermore, 61% percent of marketers said social media was the most important marketing vehicle to focus on, with personalization being the first capability that should be prioritized.

As businesses up their personalization game, a multitude of marketing strategies are emerging—some of which are basic (recommending that customers buy similar items to what they’ve purchased in the past) and some of which are increasingly sophisticated. For example, when a customer returns to an online store that they haven’t visited in months, a “welcome back” message pops up with an incentive offer. This type of personalization shows that you are aware of the customer’s comings and goings and that you value their business enough to entice them to shop. Just as a store manager may notice that one of their frequent customers hasn’t visited in awhile, online personalization makes businesses appear more empathetic.

Although personalization is a necessity, too much may alienate customers. Eli Pariser, author of “The Filter Bubble,” highlighted the notion of keeping a watchful eye on your personalization efforts. According to Pariser, seeing and hearing your own ideas may feel good, but also stops consumers from seeing the whole picture. This view was supported as 65% of respondents in a survey said they disliked personalized searches because they “may limit the information you get online and what search results you see.”

The name of the game is balance. Too much personalization can seem creepy, while too little may make you less competitive. Start your personalization efforts off small and monitor your metrics to see what makes your customers respond positively.

Keep in mind that demographics alone don’t form a complete picture of your customers. Make sure you are also analyzing your Voice of the Customer (VoC) data for a complete picture of customer needs, wants, and feelings. In this hospitality industry, for example, personalizing the guest experience goes a long way in creating customer delight.

21c Museum Hotels, winner of the Clarabridge CXC Innovation Award, sets a high bar for personalization. When one of their guests wrote about the lacking vanity space as well as dissatisfaction with the beds, the hotel staff entered these comments into her guest profile. When she returned a year later, she checked in to find an extra luggage stand placed in her bathroom and an extra memory foam cushion on the bed. No one needed to point these things out to her, she knew they had listened and followed through with a fix to make her stay even better the second time around.

Upon checking out she stated on her survey, “This process of listening to my feedback and making the changes that were possible was the nicest thing ever! Thank you!” The customer relationship clearly extends past the time of departure – so 21c Museum Hotels continues to listen and find creative ways to improve upon each guest’s experience.

For more ways on how to analyze your customer data to drive personalization, download our cheat sheet: 9 Ways to Slice Customer Data.