June 30, 2021

How Customer Preferences and Personalization Impact the Customer Experience

Erin McCart | Sr. Product Manager

The impact personalizing customer communications has on business, customer loyalty, and corporate profits

Customer attitudes towards business’ have changed.  McKinsey & Company found that customers expect better consistency, quality, availability, and value from organizations, whether that is making a purchase online, interacting with customer service, or receiving communications such as bills, statements, and invoices.  Customers also want to customize their experience so it will be personalized for them. If enterprises cannot meet consumer expectations, then they will switch to new and different businesses that will provide products and services that will meet their expectations.

The effect the pandemic has had on digitization and consumers

The global pandemic accelerated the long-running digital transformation process for organizations and consumers.  Planned digitization projects are now completed in months, rather than years. Consumers and business buyers quickly pivoted from in-person meetings and purchases to completing all transactions online. Prepared organizations took advantage of the digital acceleration and thrived.  Consumers took notice.  PwC found that 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great, holistic customer experience.

What do consumers want?

Consumers want more from organizations with whom they conduct business.  They want to be treated and serviced like they are known, part of a brand’s extended family.  Deloitte Omnia AI reported that customers are 80% more likely to make a purchase from a company that personalizes their experience by knowing their name, product preferences, payment method of choice, and preferred communication channel.

Know your customers’ experience (CX)

Organizations need to know their customers’ experiences.  That is, how their customers feel about the business and what positive and negative emotions they receive when interacting with the business, its departments, and employees throughout the relationship.  When expectations are met – consistency, quality, availability, and value – customers remain emotionally loyal to the brand; when exceeded, they become outspoken supporters; and when expectations fall short, customers will find alternatives and give negative reviews.  In fact, PwC surveyed 15,000 consumers for their future of CX report and found that 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 93% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.  As a result, top companies understand that knowing their customers’ experience is critical to achieving revenue growth, customer retention, and optimal operational efficiency.  They are investing in people, processes, and technologies
to drive and evolve their customers’ experiences.

Preference Management helps you and your customers

Out of necessity, consumers are digitally savvy, using laptops, tablets, and smartphones to communicate, purchase goods, and make payments.  Organizations need to take advantage and give customers the option to choose their digital experience with you.  Preference management is all about that.  Customers choose the communication frequency, topics, and channels they have with you. It will help you build trust and the foundation for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship across communication channels— mail, email, text, social, and more.  In a recent DM&A survey, it was estimated that for every dollar spent on a consent and preference management system, the return on investment was 40x. In the organizations that had a preference management system in place over half reported increases in customer engagement rates, sales/business revenue, and customer database size.

Personalization increases customer engagement, spending, and retention

The work you do to personalize customer communications is well worth the investment – people, time, and money.  In the Forbes article The Value of Investing In Loyal Customers, the probability of selling to an existing customer is up to 14 times higher than the probability of selling to a new customer.  And existing customers are 50% more likely to try new products, and spend 31% more, on average, compared to new customers.  Not only that, if an organization can increase customer retention rates by 5%, it can increase profits by 25% to 95%.  In some cases, according to another Forbes article, Does It Still Cost 5 Times More To Create A New Customer Than Retain An Old One? personalization by itself can increase overall customer spending up to 500%.

As more companies have adopted some form of personalization to improve customer loyalty and attract new ones, it has created a new expectation threshold for personalized interaction among consumers. Companies can no longer get away with general advertisements to all potential consumers and successfully engage with some of them. Technology now allows for every interaction to be unique and personal, and consumers expect a personal connection with the companies with which they interact, even if it is a digital one.