Customers prefer to have a say in what can be done to improve their personalized experience. Source: AFP

Customers prefer to have a say in what can be done to improve their personalized experience. Source: AFP

Why it’s time brands took a different tack to personalization

For a while now, businesses have relied on data and advanced analytics to curate and deliver improved experiences to customers. In a very saturated and competitive digital scene, it is critical for brands to be more connected with customers and aligned with their needs and demands.

Since customers are also spending more time on brands’ digital channels and platforms, and even ingraining the use of some applications in their daily lives, business leaders are constantly touching base to answer key questions like; What do customers want? and What do customers expect?

And for a while now, businesses have found success through the customization and personalization of customer experience (CX) strategies – but is the model aging?

The human-centric approach in CX

A growing base of customers is no longer delighted by targeted ads that are often becoming presumptuous.

Automated content recommendations can sometimes end up making customers feel like the experience is being forced on them. Customers can feel like the experience is being decided for them based on previous taps and clicks which don’t necessarily reflect their needs.

The need for brands and marketers to review the situation was highlighted in a new report by Accenture, which said: “People want customized experiences, but they don’t want their experiences overly determined for them without their knowledge.”

In a survey, the firm found that 76 percent of executives agree it’s high time for businesses to revolutionize the relationship between their technology and customers through a more human-centric approach.

Although businesses have found initial success in leveraging customer activity and journey data to gain insights on what can be done to create personalized experiences, the strategy is no longer doing the trick in pleasing them.

This is why more forward-thinking businesses are moving towards handing more autonomy or agency to the customers, effectively enabling them to decide their own personalized experiences.

Power to the customers

Giving more control to the customers simply means businesses will gradually grow to become partners to their customers, in helping curate the most favorable and accurate personalized experience.

An interactive system interface will be key in making this work. Instead of clustering all the customization processes on the backend – using data that might not tell the most accurate stories – brands need to collaborate with customers by allowing them to choose the kind of experiences and recommendations that they want.

In turn, businesses can expect greater satisfaction, elevated user experience, improved customer journeys and, more importantly, nurture brand loyalty.

“Giving customers agency—the ability to make relevant choices that inform their experiences— will turn passive audiences into active participants, increase engagement and let businesses sidestep many of the hurdles that are holding back their customization initiatives,” read the report.

In other words, giving more power simply means gaining more chances to create a more polished relationship with customers and securing bigger wins in terms of revenues.

Transparency is key

Moving forward, businesses have to be mindful of how they are using customers’ data and the intensity of their reliance on it. Brands must not forget that securing long-term wins in the digital age means abiding by data ethics and privacy laws, being transparent, and striving for customer trust.

Sixty-six percent of consumers have reported their concerns citing the commercial use of their personal data for customization of experience purposes is just as worrying as security threats and hackers.

With unpredictable market conditions and increased competition, the last thing brands want is to be perceived as data predators by customers. Being transparent – and again, being partners with customers – will ensure a healthy and holistic relationship with customers is established even well into the post-digital age.