Skip to Main Content

Experience Points featuring Ramon Ray

Avtex Chief Experience Officer, Kurt Schroeder sat down with VP of Marketing, John Seeds to discuss key takeaways from this episode of Experience Points with Laura Gassner Otting. In this episode, Kurt and John discuss personalization and customer effort.

Fake or Fact

[John] This is a fascinating topic because it's been growing and growing and growing from a business landscape perspective as customer experiences have kind of increased in their notoriety, or increased as a discipline right? There's this conscious bias around personalization equals better experiences. But I think that there's a couple of things that I want to pick apart with you to help our viewers and listeners understand the nuances of personalization. I thought the tact they took today was fascinating because working in a number of different companies, I've seen some wacky fields in CRM and just kind of thought to myself, "Why are we tracking that in our industry?"

I think that the first comment they hit on that I wanted to spell out is around what personalization should be doing. What does that come across as? And it should come across as a feeling of connection to the brand. They talked about noticing in a negative way, but I think even noticing it in a positive way you've missed the mark! Because if you're noticing the personalization, then you're not being seamless enough to just create a natural feeling of connection with the message or with the brand or with the experience.

[Kurt] Yeah, I think that's right. I think the other thing that comes into play is, what do you do with those fields you capture? Just because you have them doesn't necessarily mean you need to expose them to the customer. A couple of years ago, we were working with a consortium of credit unions, and we did a 5,000 person consumer research study. And what we wanted to know was, when does personalization cross the line? How much personalization should we be considering? What that study found was something I thought was fascinating, which is there is a direct correlation between the complexity of the offer and the amount of personalization that was appreciated and expected. The more complex the offer, the more complex the product offering was, the more people expected personalization because they really wanted to understand do you know me, right?

[John] Yeah, and I think that you hit on something that really acts as the crux of some of the consulting work that we do with our customers. Because as you know with Avtex, we focus on bringing CX design and CX orchestration together to really transform the experience, right? And so I think this is a good kind of topic around personalization takes data, right? And that's what we're talking about. But you really have to know what you're going to do with it, right? Otherwise, it becomes kind of collecting for the sake of collecting, and then you become a hoarder in a sense of just all of this data that is taking up space and things like that.

And I think one of the final things I want to hit on is that personalization at scale is hard. I think that we saw that with Dan's example of all of the mail that he got, and his aliases right? So how are you supposed to know that you're sending two pieces to the same person when it's a completely different name, right? Well, there are ways that you can start to study that, but putting personalization at scale takes purposeful planning around what you're going to do with it, where that message comes to life, and to your point, how complex the situation is that you're dealing with.

[Kurt] Yeah. And I think sometimes when organizations try to do it at scale, it comes across as patronizing. And also one last comment, you better be careful about how you use personalization in different channels. I don't know how many times I've called into a call center, and they think they're personalizing it by repeating my name in every sentence. That's not personalization, that's patronization.

[John] Right. Well, I appreciate the insights, and I'll make sure not to use Kurt in every other sentence from now on.

What Happened?

[Kurt] So this is just a case of CX101, right?

[John] Yes!

[Kurt] The effortless experience. One of the things I'd like to challenge our listeners and viewers on is that you really need to understand why you are causing the customer effort? Not just are you causing them to put out effort, but why? Is it because of the systems that you have in place? Is it because you want to remain efficient in your processes? So you put more on to the customer in order to complete a task or accomplish something.

We see things all the time that have to do with internal, sometimes arbitrary policies or procedures or processes, or the way systems are designed, that really creates the effort. And that's why customers tend to tap out, you know? Especially if that effort is early on in the process.

[John] Well, I think that early on the process point is one of the interesting things that she called out that we don't necessarily have at the front of our mind when we leave an experience. You know I've got kind of a bad habit of just buying stuff that I see on Instagram. I'm a marketer! I love good advertising and if the products are front and center and it's something cool, I'll buy it. But if they take me away from that medium, if they ask me to enter a whole lot of information, I'm also very quick to abandon that. If it's difficult to do in the beginning if my initial interactions are difficult when I'm trying to give you money, what is that going to be like later on when I'm trying to get help?

I think that that's an interesting nuance as to the "why" from the customer side, that we have to make sure that we're thinking about that effort at every touchpoint in that journey, and understanding that customer experience starts way before a purchase. The formation of an opinion on your brand is happening sometimes without your input. So you have to make sure that you're thinking about the effort at each touchpoint along the way.

[Kurt] Yeah, I think that's right. And I think effort comes in a variety of different forms too. I had a circumstance this morning where I needed to make sure that a payment was applied to one of my accounts and it didn't look like it was, but it looked like it was out of my checking account. I went online and holy cow, that was just gymnastics, I finally called, and after three times of them telling me, "you know you can go online” “You know you can use our mobile app." I just wanted to talk to somebody, but, I'll admit, when I finally got to that menu option that said, "would you like to talk to somebody?", it rang once, and somebody picked up. So that was an interesting juxtaposition between making it really difficult to talk to somebody and find out what you want to do. But boy, when I finally got there, it was pretty effortless.

[John] Yeah. And I think that that's a fascinating opportunity to look at. We talk about the customer journey at this macro scale, but there are journeys within the larger journey, right? Orchestrating across those macro and micro-moments is really critical. And to make sure you're looking at things holistically. And that is why Avtex exists.

Because the comment of, there's got to be a way to do that. There's got to be a way to make this better. People intuitively know what the experience should look and feel like on some levels, but in terms of how you bring that to life, how you understand what that means to your customers, is what we spend all of our time doing. So that the businesses don't have to get into that mindset of knowing all across the space and what tools and processes need to be orchestrated to meet that vision and really where we help our clients out a lot.