How many peppers would Peter have picked if the chatbot had called him by name? Wynand Smit, CEO of Inovo looks at how personal means business.

Personalisation has become a value proposition. Or, as McKinsey calls it, a ‘force multiplier’ in its Next in Personalization 2021 Report that found 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalised interactions, and that 76% are frustrated when this doesn’t happen. It also found that fast-growing companies drive 40% more of their revenue through personalisation.

In short – this simple step that puts a person at the heart of digital engagement and communication is one that can lift the business several storeys, and is one that should be part of every customer engagement arsenal.

The reality is that getting personal is good business, and makes strategic sense when looked at through the lens of a highly competitive market that’s clamouring for customer attention. However, personalisation has to be managed intelligently, leveraging smart approaches and tools so that it actually connects with the customer.

If poorly managed, integrated platforms will only increase customer frustration and company complexity. So, to help the business step up, here are seven steps to improving personalisation and customer experiences.

Step 1: Step towards the chatbot

There will always be a place for agents to field customer queries. There will always be multiple touchpoints across contact centres, social media and email.

However, agents can’t scale to meet all customer queries at speed and they can be costly to manage, which is why chatbots have become increasingly invaluable in supporting companies and delivering superb customer support.

This is evidenced by their remarkable market growth – predicted by Mordor Intelligence to reach $102,29-billion by 2026.

Step 2: Choose the right chatbot

While the chatbot can be a valuable and reliable tool that enables customers to interact with the business 24/7, not all solutions are created equal. In fact, the rise in value predicted by Mordor Intelligence is predicated on their evolving abilities.

To reduce wait times, increase engagement and cut out customer frustration, use a chatbot that’s properly integrated and capable of intelligent personalisation and engagement.

Step 3: Nobody is a number

Nobody wants to be just another number in a queue or on a company ledger. Everybody wants to be seen as an individual, and as someone who has value to the business. So, use a chatbot that can provide customers with a personal edge. They know they’re talking to a bot, but that doesn’t mean the conversation has to be impersonal.

Step 4: Use the data

Data is the fuel that drives the chatbot. It’s the reason why it can make a customer-specific response, and that it presents relevant menu options, and that it can tailor the conversation properly. If data and chatbot are integrated correctly it opens up a whole new world of personalisation that can transform how customers feel about your company, and your use of chatbot technology.

Step 5: Recognise the risks

Everybody has fallen victim to a badly designed chatbot. Ever sat on a chatbot for a financial institution that refuses to provide the right information, don’t let this be your chatbot implementation. I’d like to get an account letter. Chatbot: Want to open an account? Here are your options. Account letter. Chatbot: Here is your account number, do you want to open a transaction? Letter of account. Chatbot: Your account is now closed.

Step 6: The best of both worlds

Ensure that your chatbot can connect customers with the right people at the right time.

When self-service is no longer serving, ensure that the chatbot is capable of routing the customer to the most relevant department so they can resolve their queries quicker.

This is a smart use of both data and chatbot integration that’s capable of identifying trends and behaviours so that preferences are stored and customers remembered.

Step 7: Evolution

Invest into a chatbot solution that’s capable of evolving with every interaction so that improvements are continuous and engagements consistent.

Chatbots should be capable of adapting to the business and the customer so it can provide increasingly engaging and personalised interactions. They should also send data back to the business that can allow for it to proactively prioritise customers and get as personal as possible.

That way, when Peter wants to pick his peppers, he’s got the right basket so he can pick far more than just a peck – which is eight kgs.