As in any relationship, the connection between you and your customer should be a two-way street. Each touchpoint, (and there are more today than ever) whether that be a social post engagement or a payment confirmation (and everything in between), must be a give-and-take situation in order to build the strongest relationship.
Consider the beginning of a new friendship. You made a new friend at work, and you invite him over for dinner. He will probably ask what he can bring, or without prompt come bearing a bottle of wine or an appetizer. Right off the bat, you are building a relationship based on give-and-take: you are serving dinner in your home, and he is bringing a contribution for the meal.
If it is a worthwhile friendship, the rest of your interactions will likely follow suit—you and your friend will continue to give and receive from one another, and the benefits you receive from this relationship will build trust.
Your relationship with your customers should function similarly, but it’s not as simple as you give your customers a product and they give you money. Building trust is not as objectively transactional as the exchange of goods. Trust is built by making a personal connection.
Imagine that when you had your new friend over for dinner, the two of you did not find a topic to discuss that was interesting or relevant to both of you. You talked about different activities that you enjoy—he spends most of his free time golfing and bike riding, you prefer reading and cooking, and neither of you were very interested in trying new activities. You and your new friend lack a personal connection, making it difficult if not impossible to build trust between the two of you. For businesses, if a customer can’t connect with what you’re offering, why would they trust you enough to become a regular?
The Key to Paving a Two-Way Street? Personalization.
As a strategy, personalization enables your customers to access the information most relevant to them based on their preferences, location, and other data points.
In a recent survey conducted by SmarterHQ, 72% of respondents said that they will only engage with companies that deliver messages tailored to their interests. Almost three-fourths of customers will only continue to invest in their relationship with your company if you are able to demonstrate that you are relevant to them.
Another survey by Infogroup found that 44% of consumers are willing to switch to brands that better personalize their communications. That is almost half of your customers who will not return for another dinner at your house because you couldn’t find a topic that was relevant to them.
Even if your product is great, even if your restaurant’s food is delicious, even if a new friend is polite enough to bring a bottle of wine to dinner at your house, when the conversation becomes irrelevant and falls flat, the relationship suffers.
With personalization, you have the power to go beyond the exchange of goods, paving the way for a relationship based on your customer trusting that you not only understand what is relevant and important to them, those same things are important to you so you deliver an experience focused on the person.