• March 18, 2022
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

CX Today Demands Hyper-Personalization, Kustomer Speakers Assert at CX Connect

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are now starting to realize that their contact centers can be valuable tools to keep customers coming back, speakers from Kustomer said during the second half of CX Connect’s third day.

“Traditionally contact centers were seen as cost centers and the priority was cutting costs. Now organizations are starting to realize that their CX teams have a really big opportunity to create brand loyalty and advocacy,” said Andrea Paul-Salerno, director of content and research at Kustomer, a Facebook company.

“CX is now being tied to revenue,” Gabe Larson, Kustomer’s vice president of marketing, added. “The more you can connect growth to CX, the better.”

A big part of that, Paul-Salerno explained, is due to the vast amount of customer data that contact centers collect.

“Companies are really changing how important CX is to the business,” she said. “There is just so much information that customer service teams have about the customer, and companies are starting to see the value in that.”

This marks a larger trend where companies have shifted their contact center priorities. In a study by Kustomer, 81 percent of companies said their top customer experience priority through 2025 was to reduce wait times, followed closely by achieving consistency and delivering proactive support. Additionally, 52 percent of companies today are preparing to be able to deliver customer service with video within the next three years. Other investment priorities include agent training, artificial intelligence and chatbots, and advanced analytics.

“Chatbots can be a great first line of service for simple requests,” she said, noting that self-service has become a lot more desirable, especially for younger consumers. But, at the same time, “that escalation point to a human is very important.”

Also important is personalization, which Kustomer’s research found to be the most valuable customer service attribute. In fact, 85 percent of respondents to the survey said they appreciated support that is conversational, and 74 percent said they disliked when agents stick slavishly to prepared scripts.

“Customers value personalized experiences. It’s important to treat customers as individuals. That can be a real differentiator for the business,” Paul-Salerno explained.

And CX leaders are also starting to catch on. In Kustomer’s research, 84 percent of CX pros said they believed personalization will be more important in 2025 that it is today.

But it’s not just about personalization, according to Paul-Salerno. In today’s business climate, customers want hyper-personalization.

“Hyper-personalization can mean so much to a customer. They want to feel valued; they don’t want to be treated like just another transaction,” she said.

Kustomer’s research also found that customers spend more when experiences are tailored to their unique needs and preferences.

The challenge for many organizations, however, is that the technology hasn’t caught up yet. According to Paul-Salerno, too many organizations require their agents to toggle between systems to access information, which does not allow them to have the truly personalized conversations that customers want.

Tied with the idea of personalization is reaching customers on their preferred channels, and there, too, changes are becoming evident. Though phone is still the preferred channel, other forms of communication are gaining popularity. “The phone’s not going to be it forever, and you need to start preparing for that shift immediately,” Paul-Salerno said.

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