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Current State of Customer Experience and Personalization: Not a Pretty Picture

During the May 26 session titled, “Today’s Personalization is Broken. Learn the Breakthroughs that Work!” at the 9th annual Loyalty Expo, presented by Loyalty360 – The Association for Customer Loyalty, Ernan Roman, President, ERDM Corp. talked about the current state of customer experience and personalization among loyalty marketers.

Roman’s findings were based on learnings from more than 15,000 hours of Voice of the Customer interviews.

“The perception is we’re just putting lipstick on a pig,” Roman said.

To give a better picture of that, Roman offered several quotes:

“What we receive is not smart personalization.  They aren’t personalizing the things that matter to me!”
“What they consider personalization is so old-fashioned.”
“I want more than just buying history-based emails.”
“With today’s technology, I expect emails to reflect my interests and preferences.”

A CMO of a Fortune Company added: “We are using new CRM technology to automate old bad behaviors … not guided by how customers define improved CX. Result; high tech, irritating and brand damaging spray and pray.”

Roman said that customers want deeper engagement at eight lifecycle points:

-Acquisition
-Onboarding
-Anticipating responses to decreasing engagement
-Immediate responses to negative experiences
-Surprise and delight thank-yous
-Value-added cross-selling/upselling
-Repeat sales
-Renewal/activation

Despite increased privacy concerns, Roman said B2B and B2C customers are willing to provide trusted brands with deep business and personal information in exchange for more personalized offers and communications. 
“This fundamentally reframes data privacy concerns because of reciprocity of value!” Roman said.

Roman touted the VoC-based Reciprocity of Value Equation.

Consumer Reciprocity Recognition that, to receive true personalization, must provide deep or personal or business preference information. This marks the shift to explicit vs. implicit personalization.

Business Reciprocity
Commitment by marketers to provide smart personalization; to be truly personalized, must be based on more than transactional, overlay, and inferential data.

Human Data
B2B or B2C opt-in self profiled information
Key issues, needs, expectations 
Decision-making process
Messaging and media preferences 
Self-described personality types, attitudes, life stages
Consumer reciprocity + Business reciprocity + deep human data = CX innovation.

What’s more, roman offered a CX Innovation Check List: 

Three strategies for delivering on customer expectations;
Capture individual preferences
Use preferences to drive true personalization
Establish guidelines for safeguarding data privacy.

Don’t ruin the hard fought gains by sending spray and pray blasts which disregard preferences in hopes of generating extra sales
Find the right mix between implicit and explicit data; using only implicit data is not enough to power true personalization
Consumers define personalization as much more than “those old-fashioned transaction-based communications;
Communications should reflect my individual preferences

Change company culture and thinking; 
From “How does this benefit us?” to “How does this benefit the customer?”
Insights from customers are a privilege, not something you are entitled to

Understanding the Seller’s Journey (your sales channels are as critical as knowing the Buyer’s Journey)
Enable preference-based personalization across every channel.

Motivate customers to provide ongoing feedback about the relevance of your offerings and communications.
  
To drive change, shift focus from E (Expense) to R (Revenue)
Ensure that every department and channel uses and respects customer preference information.
Create programs that recruit your best customers to drive social engagement. 

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