The Cocktail Party Effect

The reason you should personalize your customer communications

Have you ever heard of the cocktail party effect? It says that our attention seems to be primarily triggered when we hear our own name, while useless information gets sorted out automatically. Nowadays, the flood of information we see ourselves confronted with is immense. In a digital age, humans adapted to these circumstances by developing a kind of ‘sixth sense’ when browsing any kind of information.

For example, when we daily check our inbox, we can almost automatically filter out any generic information that seems not to provide us with any value. Information that will most likely stand out is sent by real individuals, such as co-workers, family, friends – or companies that personalize their customer communication. Let’s explore how they do it.

Trend towards personalization

According to a recent study by Gartner, brands are at risk of losing 38% of their customers due to poor personalization. 93% of companies with an “advanced personalization strategy” saw their business grow, and the potential for generating sales this way nowadays is enormous. Studies support this view and clients explicitly ask for it. Brands with the most successful personalization campaigns focused on loyalty as their top performance indicator. Nowadays, loyalty is the name of the game. For creating a trusting bond with your enterprise, customers expect impeccable service and an experience catered to them as an individual.

Why is personalized client communication important?

If we receive a newsletter with just our first name swapped out and with the rest of the content being generic, we don’t really feel our time is valued. Then we just simply ignore it or might even consider unsubscribing. As a result, we as a customer (as many others) will just move on to the next bit of information and so the attempt to form a bond with the reader has failed.

There are two ways to deal with this issue: You can make the generic content as enticing as possible and add some clickbait title and in the end disappoint the loyal reader. The other (and more sustainable) way is to personalize the content based on the information you have about the individual or about the target group the person belongs to.

Take care not to overstep the customers’ boundaries with bad engagement tactics, such as sending them a text message when he is near your retail store or bombarding them constantly with promotional newsletters. The key here is to find creative ways to provide an authentic engagement with the given data set.

Where to get the data from?

Customers not only leave their money when they exit your physical or virtual store. They leave a trail of data, such as their age, adress or behavior. Their shopping history tells you a story about what products they like, when they bought them and what other things they look at. With advanced data analysis, this allows you to get a much more detailed profile of the individual customer.

Of course, there are many data privacy issues connected to personalization. You sure are familiar with the headphones that you once evaluated on Amazon starting to appear on every single website the following week. This tactic may still work in making some customers reconsider and order the item, however it also gives them a tingling feeling of haven woken up in a dystopian 1984 surveillance system. The key here is that you work with a set of data, the customer feels safe with.

A new Customer Journey – Personalize as much as possible

Not only classic channels of communication, like newsletters, can benefit from personalization. For example, when a client visits your website via a login to look for documents, bills or product information, all visible information can be directly catered to his expectations.

If you can, involve a customer at an early stage to give him a personalized experience by using electronic forms and interactive documents. Use access rights to allow them to make decisions within the framework of pre-defined options. The collaborative aspect of these processes will give them a feeling of familiarity and union. The possibilities seem endless, when you decide to step away from a one-size-fits-all solution.

Tools to help you personalize

You feel a certain urgency to get going, but where to start? Firstly, you don’t have to start from scratch. Many companies use Word templates, where they fill out certain parts with personalized information. This process can lead to many errors, as often the templates are not up to date or are filled out incorrectly. Also the integration of the segmented customer data is not always fail proof.

The demand for modular solutions for personalized user experiences has already been met by suppliers like Infinica. Based on a given set of data, Infinica offers platforms to help you create and distribute the desired kind of content. With a wide set of pre-built tools you can start to personalize your communication and user interfaces. The whole process has never been more seamless, as these platforms can be tailored into your existing structure.

With personalization towards long-term customer loyalty

As customers themselves are diverse, they also demand to be treated in a unique way. To persuade them to stay loyal to your business, you need to change the way you communicate with them. Instead of just being the recipient of information, turn the customer into a collaborator, letting him leave his own mark on the shared communication. A thoughtful strategy in combination with content creation tools help you achieve this goal.

Save time and money by relying on pre-built tools, which are customized to your business. This way you can access best practice solutions fitting right in with your existing company structure and processes. Rest assured that the customer will notice and will give you credit for every step you take towards personalization. For your investment, they will pay you back with loyalty.