Personalize customer service.

I believe the difference between acceptable and great customer service is usually how much an organization can personalize the customer service experience. Personalizing the customer service experience is quite difficult and organizations really have to think about it to get it right.

So how do you customize the customer service you provide? Here are some of the things I usually suggest:

Collect information about customers.
You don’t want to be “Big Brother”, but you do want to collect information about your customers, especially their:

  • Likes
  • Dislikes
  • Preferences
  • Important dates
  • Reasons for coming to your location/choosing your business
  • etc.

All of that information can be used to customize the customer service experience. More importantly, the information should be readily available. Let’s say a couple of visiting a hotel to celebrate their anniversary. Here are some areas in the customer service experience that companies should note:

  • When the customer calls to make a reservation, the hotel should ask what the occasion is. If they say anniversary, it should be noted.
  • When the customer pulls up to the hotel, the bell staff should find out the customer’s name and immediately wish them a happy anniversary.
  • The front desk clerk should do the same.
  • If the couple orders room service, there should be a note wishing them a happy anniversary or something along those lines.
  • and so on.

The hotel should then pay attention to what the couple orders (drinks, food, etc.) and note that. Many hotels pay attention to what customers use from the mini-bar and store that. Others use that to provide the customers will free gifts every now and then.

Use signals to tell other employees about customers.
I read about a spa that uses different color smocks (is that what they are called?) for new customers vs. old customers. It signals to all employees in the spa that the customer is new and that they should be welcomed. When they see someone that has a smock on that indicates they have been there before, employees say things like “welcome back” and so on. It is a classic example of a little thing that makes a big difference.

Your company can find ways to do this as well. A company I worked with used a certain code in tickets to indicate if a customer had signed up within the last 30 or say days. A ticket ID of NFQ49341 indicated that the customer was new. AFH93341 showed that it was a regular customer (since it didn’t start with N). The key is to be creative about signals you can give to all employees.

Use notes to help the experience in other ways.
Another company I worked with used the previously mentioned “notes on customer” to make notes of customers that were usually demanding, easily frustrated, technically literate, etc. They used that information to ensure customers talked to someone who could best help them.

What types of customer service personalization have you seen? What has made the biggest difference?

One Response to “Personalize customer service.”

  1. What Do You Need, Customer Service? | The Web Hosting Show said:

    Mar 23, 08 at 2:22 pm

    […] Personalize Customer Service […]