Creating a personalized customer experience is a goal for many, if not all, firms as they strive to compete for, retain and deliver the best customer experience to their customers.
But, if you have been to any conferences or have been reading analyst and commentariat articles lately, one would not be wrong in thinking that the way to achieve this was primarily through the use of software, data and analytics.
This seems to be particularly true for firms that operate in the B2C space.
“The personalization and recommendation engine is the backbone of our Company” – Amazon
“At Netflix we use personalization extensively and treat every situation as an opportunity to present the right content to each of our over 57 million members” – Netflix
But, what of B2B companies? Should they follow suit or should they take a different approach? Are there other elements and activities that underpin and drive the creation of a personalized customer experience?
To find out a bit more, I recently conducted a round table for my podcast to explore this issue with 3 leading, and very different, B2B companies all of which have a passion for creating and delivering a personalized customer experience for their customers.
Here’s some details on who I invited to participate:
- Sam Johnson, VP of customer service at Jamf, a provider of software for both enterprises and smaller businesses that helps them manage their Apple devices,
- Mark Wilson, Senior director of customer transformation at Paycor, a provider of recruiting, human resources, and payroll solutions through an integrated, cloud-based platform, and
- Chris Lisica, Director of customer success at Qumulo, a provider of simple, scalable, and efficient enterprise data storage systems.
You can listen to the whole conversation or read the highlights here.
What was fascinating about the conversation was that when I asked them what a personalized customer experience meant for them and their firms, they all started with, and emphasized that, their people came first and are at the heart of their personalization strategy.
“In high tech, great customer success is all about going through the technology and humanizing it so that you can connect with people on a more enriched level……and to enable that we look for people that can make their passion for something contagious.”
That does not mean, however, that data does not play an important part. But, what they all made clear was that whilst having lots of data is great, it is not helpful if you are not clear on what you want it for and how you are going to use it to help deliver the experience that you want to create.
“Rather than focusing on just our analytics we now look at what are the drivers behind our calls and support requests. This allows us to take a more holistic approach to achieving a personalized experience.”
Towards the end of the conversation, I asked Sam, Mark and Chris to reflect on their respective journeys and what have been the biggest lessons they have learnt. They agreed on two main things. The first was that their journeys were not finished and they see the creation of a personalized customer experience as a continuous and ongoing journey. The second thing they agreed on was that listening and responding to customers was hugely powerful and key to their success. Mark from Paycor provided a great example of this when he said that 60% of their quarterly product enhancements are driven by feedback from customers.
“Listening is so powerful. Customers want to be listened to and they want to be heard. You have to come with a modern customer experience approach that is able to evolve and adapt. Ask your customers what they want and then give it to them.”
So, it seems that the keys to creating a great personalised customer experience, particularly if you are a B2B company, is to first focus on hiring really great people, listen and act on what your customers tell you, collect the right data and enable your people with the right tools to allow them to deliver the experience that your customers want.
Not rocket science, admittedly. But, easier said than done. And, with customer retention rates north of 95 percent and NPS scores hitting heights of +88 these companies show what can be delivered through focus, dedication and the right balance of people, data and technology.
This post was originally published on my Forbes.com column here.
Thanks to Brian Smithson for the image.