Digital shoppers appreciate the convenience of online shopping, but they do require a personalized experience. Studies show that 56% of customers are likely to return to a business when the experience is personalized. Personalization in 2022 can mean a lot of different things.
It used to be that if you personalized an email by addressing the customer by name, that was enough. As omnichannel marketing got more complex, we're seeing brands integrating data between 10-15 different marketing channels and trying to sync it all together to offer the ideal customer journey for each consumer.
On the other hand, with all that personalization, many consumers still need a human touch. Studies show that over 50% of consumers will use whichever communication channel is fastest to reach a human agent. Brands need to emphasize personalization that goes beyond product recommendations and simplified ordering. Instead, brands need to be able to deliver on-demand customer support provided by humans with the right expertise and empathy.
In this article, we cover the latest trends in consumer demand for personalization, along with how retailers can answer the call with outsourced customer service.
What Is Personalization?
Personalization is when a brand tailors its marketing to a specific need of the customer based on the data they've collected. Some early personalization efforts include things like adding the customer's name to email subject lines, addressing them by their first name inside their email, and displaying "you may also like" shopping recommendations based on their past purchase and browsing behavior. These early personalization efforts deliver some value but ultimately, they don't meet shoppers' needs for human connection.
Shoppers Want Human Support When They Need It
Online shoppers have embraced convenient ordering and self-service, even in the world of B2B. According to Digital Commerce 360, online sales on B2B eCommerce sites have increased by 17.8% to $1.63 trillion. The global B2C eCommerce market has been growing at an annual compounding rate of 9.7% and is expected to continue its massive growth into the next decade.
With all the benefits of online shopping, customers still want access to human support when they need it. In fact, 50% of online shoppers still prefer a live conversation with a human agent rather than an automated response. Eighty percent (80%) of consumers say that the experience they have with a company is more important than its actual products or services. And very often, that's what's needed to secure the sale.
Here are three main scenarios that often require human touch:
Making Complex Purchases
Sometimes a customer uses multiple marketing channels and expects their data to get synced with all of them. They may have added something to the cart on their mobile device and then interacted with a special social media promotion, and now they want to put everything together. However, the discount or promo code they were using is not active anymore. So even though the business may have integrated all of these channels together, and the data is synced properly, it may require a human support agent to make the correction and help the customer go through checkout properly.
Navigating Product or Account Issues
Often customers face account or product issues that require a human support agent. For example, if they have a question about a product feature and can't find a guide or video explaining it. Or they may have a custom setup or unique use case that isn't mentioned in the product manual. All it takes is a quick call, chat, or video conference with a support agent or a personalized message to get them back on track and happy with their product.
Processing a Return
Returns are very common in retail. Retail returns jumped to an average of 16.6% in 2021, totaling more than $761 billion in the US alone. As more customers shop online for goods and services, the return rates go up, adding a ton of complexity to the fulfillment process.
For most customers, returning something is a burden that can lead to a poor experience if not managed effectively by the brand. Studies show that one in three customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, and 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions. That's why it's absolutely critical for companies to nail the return experience. Brands need sympathetic agents that can streamline every return transaction, make the customer feel comfortable, and save the day.
What Today's Customers Expect
What customers truly need is 1:1 personalization with a human support agent, and brands need to meet that need if they want to continue being profitable. Companies need to have a customer service team that's knowledgeable and empathetic and can quickly adapt to each customer's need and deliver best-in-class service. And that kind of human support needs to be built over existing data and marketing platforms so that each rep is armed with all the data on each customer and can quickly step in and move them along their customer journey.
Unlock 1:1 Personalization with an Outsourced Customer Support Team
More consumers are utilizing online shopping channels to buy goods and services, creating a greater demand for personalization. The most common challenge that brands face is syncing all the data from their various channels and marketing platforms to customize each shopper's experience accurately, but that's not even the crux of the problem.
The real issue is that even after all the basic personalization, consumers still may require a live human agent to help them complete their order, process a return, or navigate a product or account issue. The challenge is that most brands don't have the resources to provide adequate support. Many companies don't have live agents available across time zones or the capability to train them on every type of marketing software they're using.
That's why brands should invest in hiring an outsourced team of highly skilled and trained customer support professionals. Here at Helpware, we offer a transformative digital customer experience with an inbound and outbound call center, a customer success team, multilingual support in 25 different languages, and much more.
Want to provide the advanced personalization your customers crave? Get started today.