Article

An enterprise guide to personalised service

Enterprise companies often get a bad report when it comes to personalised service. It’s up to you to change the narrative.

By Patrick Cwiklinski

Published November 23, 2020
Last updated April 16, 2021

Have you ever been to a clothing store where an employee makes some seriously odd suggestions for your wardrobe?

Confused. Tired. Frustrated. These are just a few emotions that pop up while you sit tight, hoping they’ll find the perfect T-shirt you’re looking for. It turns out the employee only pushes products the brand is trying to sell, with no regard to your personal style.

They just don’t get it because they don’t know you.

If you’ve ever been in this type of scenario, you’re not alone. In fact, 71% of consumers have voiced some type of displeasure when their shopping experience was too impersonal.

That feeling is only amplified when consumers interact with large companies worth millions and even billions of dollars. Since they’re already massive and making so much money, customers often think they are not an individual priority for enterprise companies.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. As an enterprise company, you still have the ability to make every single customer feel special. To avoid alienating them, it’s important to provide personalised service that always addresses individual consumer needs.

What is personalised service?

Personalised service refers to a customised approach to the customer experience. It’s all about taking individual customer needs into consideration.

To get an idea of what personalised service should look like, you don’t need to look any further than your email inbox. Go ahead and take a quick look at a few emails you’ve received from different companies. Notice anything interesting?

If you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance you have some emails from companies who address you by your name and include information you’re personally interested in. Then there’s spam, the emails that are generic sales pitches masked as personal emails.

So, which type of email do you think gets a better customer response?

Based on email subject lines alone, personalisation can boost open rates by 26%. That means something as simple as greeting a person using their first name versus a “Hi there!” opening. The former makes it feel like the company is addressing you directly, while the latter is like getting a car dealership grand opening letter in your mailbox.

The power of personalisation is not limited to email, either. Personalised service is also something companies are keeping a closer eye on these days. Personalisation efforts account for 14.2% of an average CMO’s budget. There has been an increased focus on personalised service in recent years, and enterprise companies are starting to take notice.

Why should enterprise companies offer personalised service?

At large companies with sprawling customer bases, consumers often feel they are just another number on the board. Nobody thinks the Nike store values you more as a customer than a locally owned trainer shop — even though that might be true. The general perception is that enterprise companies don’t have time for the little guy.

While there are certainly some outliers, people often view enterprise companies as faceless organisations who don’t care about them. Personalised service can help you change that narrative and provide great individual support to each customer. It can even make you stand out among competitors who aren’t offering that type of support.

Customer retention is another major benefit of offering personalised service. Segment’s 2017 State of Personalisation Report found that 44% of consumers who have been satisfied with personalised service will become repeat customers. This can help drive customer loyalty, with customers championing your product or service.

Don’t let those loyal customers just come in and out of your life, either. Give them a reason to stay around. With loyalty programmes, enterprise companies can reward customers for making multiple purchases and sending referrals — two factors which boost brand affinity.

And it’s easier than ever. CRM software has made sure of that. With seamless access to a vast array of customer data, enterprise companies are able to use CRM software to get a better understanding of consumer buying habits and personalise the customer experience for them.

With all the tools and tech available to enterprise companies today, there’s really no excuse for not offering personalised service.

What information do you need to provide personalised service?

To offer the best personalised service, you need the best customer data. Without it, you won’t be able to discern any customer insights at the individual level, and offering a great customer experience will become a pipe dream.

Customer identification

Not to turn Shakespearean on you, but, "What’s in a name?" For enterprise companies, names are gateways into delivering personalised service. If you address a customer by name, they go from being just another number to a real living, breathing person with their own personal preferences.

Companies ask for your name in forms, so they can start building a personal connection with you. It’s the first step in establishing a personal connection that your entire personalised service towards them will be built on.

So, as an enterprise company, always ask customers for their name. Whether that’s in the form of offering gated content or a compelling weekly email newsletter, offering some type of value in exchange for identification is also a great way to entice customers.

Customer history

Customer history is one of the most important pieces of the personalised service puzzle. This gives you immediate context into how a customer has engaged with your company. It’s like a relationship timeline.

Despite having so many customers, enterprise companies need to have insight into each and every one of them. They need to know what products and services their customers have bought. They need to know which service reps customers talk to. They need to know how long a person has been a customer.

For enterprise companies, automating this process is a must. Using CRM software, you can instantly pull customer history insights.

Zendesk Support’s Customer Context feature can help you quickly surface your customer’s name, location, purchase history, and detailed insight into their unique customer journey.

Zendesk’s Customer Context feature

Device information

Convenience is critical when it comes to customer support. You need to find out what device your customers primarily use and the best way to connect with them on that device.

While younger consumers generally lean towards smartphones to make purchases, older consumers might be more inclined to buy things on their laptop or tablet. It’s up to you to find out what their preferences are.

With that in mind, always optimise your personalised service for different devices. If you have a great signup form or email newsletter for desktop, that should also be the case for mobile. You need the same user experience and quality on every device your company is represented on.

Languages and cultural expectations

Enterprise companies often have a wide customer base that spans the entire globe, which means you can’t communicate with every customer in the same way.

Making sure your customer service is available in different languages is important. Don’t assume everyone can read your company’s native language. From your website to conversations customer service reps have with customers, everything needs to be customised by language.

It’s also important to understand cultural differences when dealing with customers. Someone from the United States will probably have a different outlook on customer service than someone from India, for example. Making sure your customer service is personalised for every country your company has a presence in is absolutely necessary.

Then there’s the time difference. Zendesk’s Multiple Schedules feature makes it easy to display worldwide operating hours to customers. This feature can also leave personalised messages for customers about when they’ll probably get a response if they try to reach out to support after hours.

Zendesk’s Multiple Schedules feature

Location and environmental context

Enterprise companies usually have many different locations. Getting intel on a customer’s location can help you deliver better offers to them faster. You can give them a discount code that they can redeem at a nearby store, for example.

Alternatively, if they’re out in the backwoods, offering free delivery and/or an online discount code can be useful if you offer online shopping. These customers might not have immediate access to a nearby store, but they can be just as willing to shop and spend money online.

Start personalising your customer experience

Personalised service at the enterprise level is not going away. In fact, as technology continues to open up new ways to innovate the customer experience, enterprise companies are going to be investing more money in it.

The key is to always be in step with your customers. You’re not creating the most convenient personalised service experience based on your preferences as a company. You’re creating it with your customers’ individual needs in mind.

Building a strategy to deliver personalised service now can set your enterprise company up for success later on. To learn more about how to deliver a truly exceptional customer experience, the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2021 has all the top customer insights you need.

Read the report