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Customer strategy pillar 1: Personalization

Customer strategy pillar 1: Personalization

What it means

Today's customers expect you to know them. They want their product and service providers to cater to their preferences. They have spent years giving their data to countless retailers, agencies, and service providers (whether willingly or not) and now expect richer and more tailored experiences in return.

To excel in personalization is to meet or exceed this expectation by wielding customer data and real-world insights to understand their lives, anticipate their needs, and craft your offerings to match. It's to focus on the market of 'one' by understanding how end users in every demographic spend their focus, time, and money.

53% of Canadians like/expect companies to personalize all interactions (69% of millennials).

What it looks like

Companies that get personalization right are those that demonstrate a deep understanding of their end users at every interaction. It's the retailers who keep customers up to speed on promotions and new arrivals specific to their tastes, the airlines that track travel preferences and offer compelling package deals, or financial partners that reach out first with new products or strategies based on their client's life milestones. The leaders in personalization have an acute, data-driven understanding of what makes their customers tick and are continually adapting their products, services, and channels to match.

The challenge

Personalization relies on the ability to collect, secure, and analyze large volumes of customer data. That can be difficult in an age where Canadians are growing more cautious about with whom they share that data, and less likely to align with parties that appear intrusive or over-reaching. In KPMG's 2019 Me, my Canadian life, my wallet study, over a third of Canadians admitted they were highly concerned about identity theft or having their personal information hacked; and nearly a quarter said that trading their data for anything was not worth it. Companies must balance the fine line between obtaining the data they need to craft more personal experiences, and doing so in a way that will not erode trust.

Moreover, there is a cost and effort to personalization. Specific technologies and talents are needed to acquire and manage data and drive genuine customer insights, and they don't come free. Moving forward on this pillar requires ongoing investment and a game plan for turning that data into actionable insights.

Companies that get personalization right are those that demonstrate a deep understanding of their end users at every interaction.

Where do you stand?

  • Do you know your customer? What are they looking for? What's most important to them? What do they expect from your business, and how can you meet these expectations through their channel of preference (e.g., online, in-store, on-site, etc.)?
  • Have you mapped their journey? Have you designed that journey based on data and genuine insights? Are you putting customers at the core of the journey? Are you developing strategies based on their wants, beliefs, and preferences?
  • Is your customers' data in good hands? Are you doing everything in your power to protect the safety and integrity of the data being shared with you? Are you explicit and transparent about how that information is collected and used? Are you using the insights to deliver value to your clients (e.g., personalized promotions, custom information, intuitive services, etc.)?
  • Are you always listening? Do you involve your customers in the growth of your company? Are you taking their feedback seriously? Are you drawing inspiration from your community for new ideas or improvements? Letting customers customize their experiences? While 'co-creation' may not be suitable for all business strategies, it is always worth looking at how you can integrate your customers' ideas and feedback into product and service design.


When you are ready,

let's do this.

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