Personalization Makes for Satisfied Consumers

A study sponsored by CRM vendor Kana found that, online and offline, consumers find personalized and proactive customer service is critical to a positive customer experience.

Almost 75 percent of respondents cited personalization as a major contributor to their most satisfying purchasing experience, online or offline. The study was based on a cross section of consumers who have made purchases in both online and offline environments. The study sought reaction to customer service independent of channel, including offline interaction, phone, email, Web chat or online self-service.

According to the study, personalization capabilities including self-service; personalized voice or email interactions; the ability to track purchases and requests; and knowledgeable customer service representatives who are educated in the customer’s history with a business contributed to 73 percent of the most positive customer experiences. More than one-third (34 percent) of respondents noted that lack of personalized customer care contributed to their least satisfying customer experience.

Half of the negative customer experiences reported included untargeted marketing campaigns over the Web or via mail and contact center interactions that were redundant, inaccurate or slow. Kana also found that email and Web customer interactions continue to increase and that rapid response times to customer inquiries are important to providing a positive customer experience. According to the survey, nearly one-third of all respondents cited slow response times as their biggest issue with organizations.

Additional findings of the study include:

  • 56 percent of consumers stated that interactions over the Web or via email represent their most positive customer experience
  • 33 percent of consumers indicated that slow response times are the key contributor to a negative experience
  • 20 percent of respondents decided not to purchase product as a result of slow response times.

Research by Gartner predicts that personalization, and its accompanying privacy concerns, will be at the forefront in 2002 because consumers will want to see what companies are doing with all the data they are collecting. This may force enterprises to rethink how they have deployed CRM applications. Garner believes that as many as 40 percent of enterprises that have already installed CRM applications will rethink them to emphasize personalization with privacy.

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