Personalised, relevant, timely. Three words never far from a marketer’s lips. Here’s another three on mine currently: freezing, grumpy and shivering. Ever tried to get hold of a plumber when your heating is on the blink? Then you’ll sympathise. Two weeks without heating and hot water as the chilly autumn mornings start to bite and my patience is beginning to wear thin.
So, imagine my reaction when the nice lady from the boiler company calls me to not only confirm an installation date, but to inform me that she’s going to be my personal adviser between now and then. She checks the address, confirms the arrangements, reassures me all’s well and on-track and, leaving her direct number in case I encounter issues, seals her place on my Christmas card list. A welcome call and great customer service.
The person in the personalised
In an article by Manita Dosanjh back in September* she says, “Real personalisation is about invoking a positive emotional reaction from your customer when you’re interacting with them in key moments.” Jasmine (my boiler-angel!) certainly did that. But the “personalised” in this interaction was in fact two-fold. That she chose to call me created a dialogue, a real-life, real-world conversation which not only made me feel like an individual rather than a data record but showed her (and the business she represented) as real and personal too. Sometimes the message is ALL in the medium, or channel.
The relevance to the customer
Our conversation was relevant… of course. In other situations, where the communication was less important to me, or indeed less emotive, an interruption to my day to try and sell me something or to confirm an already scheduled delivery would not have been so well received. Its irrelevance would frankly be nothing short of annoying. Imagine, for example, that for every impending Amazon or supermarket shop you had to field a similar call!
The timing in the timely
Heard of “cookie decay”?** Me neither, until very recently. I was astounded to learn that "The half-life of an average third-party cookie is about three days, and one-third of all cookies last less than an hour."*** Which explains why, after browsing a site but failing to complete a purchase until perhaps a day later, the same retailer can seem to stalk you with prompts and reminders for weeks afterwards. There’s a missing jigsaw-piece in the customer’s journey which makes their timing “out” and their approaches unwelcome and unnecessary.
So, while I’m still freezing and shivering, I’m a little less grumpy. A happy customer? Well, ask me next week when we’ll know if the lovely Jasmine has delivered on her promises and is still on my Christmas card list!