There’s no denying it: everyone likes to feel special. People enjoy being treated with individualized care, whether it’s a friend or a customer at your business. This simple truth can greatly improve service at your company.
Personalized services are a great way to connect with your customers and increase the chances that they will use your product, recommend your services to others, and maintain a loyal relationship with you. Tailoring your services to fit a customer’s wants and needs puts you ahead of other businesses that lack personalization.
The personalization spectrum
There are two types of businesses: businesses that offer personalized service and ones that don’t. Companies that don’t customize their services lack the appeal of individualization, which can often turn customers away before even trying a product. Imagine placing an order for a veggie pizza and finding out that there is no option to leave off the olives. If you dislike eating olives, you will not order that pizza, and that store will miss out on your business.
There is a spectrum of personalization for companies. As a business owner and professional, know the difference between mass customization and individualized customization.
For example, a shoe company like Nike that allows customers to pick the color of their shoe sole, laces, and embellishments is at one end of the spectrum, as they allow some personalization on top of a base model. Chipotle and Subway both offer a variety of ingredients, but you have a pre-determined set of options (e.g., bread, meat, cheese, vegetables, and sauce) for each product. A diamond that is cut specifically for a wedding ring, a suit tailored to fit only you, and a custom-built website are at the other end of the spectrum.
Almost any company can find a way to customize its services to some degree. Cold Stone Creamery and Marble Slab let customers add “mixings” to their favorite flavor of ice cream. Two other companies that value personalized services are Amazon and Netflix.
- On Amazon, you can see products related to your search that other customers have viewed, which helps narrow down your purchasing decision. Based on your purchase history, your Amazon homepage offers deals, promotions, and suggestions that are suited to what you’ve bought before.
- Netflix offers customized services produced by algorithms and movie ratings. When you are browsing for movies to watch on a Friday night, Netflix tries to answer the question for you with personalized suggestions based on your viewing history. Amazon and Netflix operate in industries heavily influenced by customer interaction and usage. Other industries can follow their successful paths by implementing similar customized services.
- At my own private tutoring business, I understand the importance of individualizing each customer’s experience. By matching students to tutors by need and subject, we make sure a student is learning to the best of his or her ability. Tutors adapt their teaching styles to each student, which is another level of personalization. Learning is similar to many products other businesses offer — it isn’t “one size fits all.”
Go ahead, get personal
Look for opportunities to implement personalized services in your company. Even small and gradual touches in your daily interactions with customers can help change your service in the long run. Restaurant owners could accommodate a person’s dietary needs by adjusting items on the menu, such as serving dishes with less salt or sugar. This does not require drastic changes to a business operation and can significantly improve your customer’s experience.
By paying careful attention to detail and offering what the customer wants, within reason, you don’t have to compromise your business values for sales or better consumer experience. Who knows? You might be the only restaurant in town that customizes dishes to fit dietary needs, and now you have gained a repeat customer.
Providing a personalization opportunity shows the customer that your business is making an effort to cater to him or her, which creates an invaluable connection, leading to growth for your company.
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