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Small Business Owner’s Guide to Personalized Customer Service

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Personalized customer service is becoming more important to consumers than ever before. This is exciting for small businesses, who can differentiate themselves from bigger brands through great customer service and a personal approach.

According to a study from Vistaprint, “27 percent of consumers say that they’re likely to shop at a small business more often in 2018 than they did in 2017.” Further, 69 percent of these consumers said that they would be more likely to shop at small businesses if the owner knew them by name.  Based on these statistics, small business owners should aim to improve and personalize their customer service.  Here are some great ways that you can make your customer service more personalized and ultimately more effective.

1. Offer a Loyalty or Rewards Program

One great way to show customers that your company values their business is through offering a loyalty program.  Loyalty programs can take a number of different forms. However, most loyalty programs offer customers different types of rewards for purchasing their goods or services.

One great example of a loyalty program is Amazon’s Prime membership. This is a loyalty program where customers pay an annual membership fee and as a result can gain personalized value in the form of free, fast shipping, online video and music streaming, and more. Another example is Starbucks loyalty program, which allows members to get a free drink once they spend a certain amount of money at the store. 

Not only do loyalty programs show customers that you value their business, but they also encourage customers to do business with you over your competitors. A recent study conducted by Small Biz Trends found that loyalty program members generate 12 to 18 percent more revenue growth per year than non-members.

Take some time to consider if there are opportunities for you to offer personalization in the form of loyalty programs.

2. Personalize Email Communication

If email marketing is part of your communications strategy, one great way to personalize customer service is through personalization of emails. Based on a recent Experian study, “personalized emails have a 29% higher open rate and 41% better click rate than standard, non-personalized emails.”

If you use marketing automation, which we discussed in a past blog post, it is very easy to personalize emails. With marketing automation tools like Hubspot or MailChimp, you can personalize a variety of different parts of the email, from names, past purchasing behavior and noted preferences. It’s important to consider which details you should personalize in your emails, based on your audience. The goal is to make your customer feel like they are known, but not exposed.

3. Examine Customer Analytics and Offer Incentives

Another great way to personalize customer service is by offering incentives based on customer analytics. There are various customer relationship management (CRM) and analytics tools that allow small businesses to use analytics to provide personalized service.

With customer analytics, you can gain insight into your customers’ behaviors, which will help guide your business decisions. For instance, if your analytics show that sales are lower at specific times, you can offer certain promotions during these times to increase traffic. Another example would be to offer customers complimentary products while they’re shopping, based on their purchase history.

These types of initiatives, when based on analytics, will help build customer loyalty and ultimately increase traffic to your small business. 

4. Ask for Your Customers’ Feedback and Respond to It

It’s important to let customers know that you value their feedback. To go even further, you can personalize questions to your customers to get their feedback and help them know that they are an important part of your business. To help encourage customers to give feedback, you can offer certain rewards.

Once you get their feedback, it’s important to make your communication sincere. Do not use an autoreply, but instead take the time to send thoughtful responses to each customer. Customers like to know that they’re dealing with an actual person, and if they feel like the response is from a nameless website or email address, they may feel as though your business is not appreciative of their feedback.

There are a variety of easy ways to make your customer service more personal. If you take some of these steps, you will see an improvement in your overall marketing return on investment.

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