An excerpt from Chapter 3 of Daniel Glickman’s new book Personalize This. In this excerpt, learn how to win customer loyalty.
Relate or Perish
When Apple first came out with “always on” Siri or Apple TV, people were a little freaked out: Is that robot going to be listening to me all the time? Does that Apple TV watch me? But over time, people got used to it. They liked the benefits. People love their mobile apps because of all their personalization features. Even BITMOJI allows us to text in “personalized emoji,” because emoji is no longer enough.
Personalization is happening, and is developing quite fast. It’s already become the new standard. Recently, I got an email from IBM. I was using one of their software programs, and when I was asked to fill out a satisfaction form, I noted that honestly I was not too happy, and then gave some detailed feedback. A week later, I received an email from a product manager. He acknowledged my dissatisfaction then asked for more feedback. I thought: Okay, that’s a good personalized email. In the second email he sent a day later, however, he wrote: What product are you using? I’d like to get this to the right person.”
That’s when I felt stupid, and then mad. I had spent my time doing something for him, assuming we were engaging in a personalized experience. He should have known what product I was using.
This kind of second-rate effort at personalization was completely acceptable just a few years ago. You’d call a 1-800 number and a computerized voice would ask you to enter your account number. It would respond: “Sorry, Daniel, I did not understand. Please enter your account number again.” So, you would, and then once you were transferred to a human, he or she would ask you to provide your account number yet again.
There were plenty of technical reasons why first-rate personalization was so difficult to implement just a few years ago, and we were used to it being what it was–sloppy, inefficient, and annoying. That was the reality then; it is not the reality now. We’re very used to things being done–and done well–for us. If we aren’t entirely used to it quite yet, we at least expect it, because most of us have dealt with at least one company that provides supreme personalized customer service.
The battle to win wishy-washy customers
Interestingly enough, the increase in customer expectation–that we marketers are going to “get them” and treat them special–is happening in parallel with a decrease in brand loyalty. People are not as loyal to brands as they were. Ten years ago, you bought from Sony and said, “Sony’s good. I’m going to keep buying all my electronics products from them.” Now, you’re going to buy what’s cheaper on Amazon. You may not completely trust Brand X, maybe you can’t even locate the country that product is made in on a map, but because you trust Amazon–sold! In fact, some of the top selling items on Amazon are made by virtually unknown brands.
Customers expecting more sophisticated personalization efforts, yet being less loyal than ever means two things for marketing departments: First of all, companies are wasting their money, especially if they are sending direct mail that’s not personal. Coupons are not personalized and people toss them out immediately. Secondly, with the decrease in brand loyalty, we are playing constant catch up. It’s a constant battle to win wishy-washy customers. Even cable and phone companies are experiencing a higher customer turnover than they used to.
Again, Forrester Research shows consumers want and expect more of what we somehow are failing to deliver. Consumers are declaring that they would pay more attention to loyalty programs and loyalty rewards, if companies were offering them greater value. Marketers need to acknowledge that they are working in a new environment, where the old way of building brand loyalty through brand recognition has become way too expensive. Marketers must seek innovative ways to build brand loyalty. In this experience economy we are now a part of, a perception of value is earned, not bought; and loyalty is won by action, not ad spend.
Can’t wait to continue reading? Your copy of Personalize This is waiting for you on Amazon.
Latest posts by Daniel Glickman (see all)
- Personalize This: Loyalty is Won By Action - December 12, 2016
- Personalize This: Moving Beyond “Dear John” Messaging - December 5, 2016