Not that long ago, most business interactions were carried out face-to-face. Every item we bought, from clothes to cars, would be bought from someone we knew or somewhere we´ve gone. The same happened with the work environment: except for rare exceptions, all workers shared the same physical space, and videoconferencing was (almost) science fiction. Now we live in a different context: digital channels and tools play a major part in our daily lives, with virtual collaboration changing the way we talk, work, and live.
Recent data highlights that a popular reaction to isolation and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic was for people to drastically change their shopping, work, and lifestyle behaviors: consumers who would normally visit physical stores are now increasingly shopping online with the result that e-commerce is booming. Companies are rapidly — and in some cases permanently — moving towards an increased reliance on remote working, thus the market for digital collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, and Zoom has grown exponentially Finally, staying in is becoming the new going out, as instead of visits to concerts, museums, and events, consumers have sought out equivalent AR and VR experiences, which can be enjoyed safely from the comfort of their own home.
As face-to-face communication is currently rare, global companies from every sector – from fashion to retail and entertainment - have been challenged to find new ways to keep customers close. The word “personalization” no longer refers to the simple inclusion of a customer's name in various locations throughout a communication piece. As technology has evolved, every business has the ability to further personalize communication, through varying degrees of customer segmentation, but also to personalize the interaction, and at the end the whole customer experience in a one-to-one dynamic.
And why is this so important?
When people meet face-to-face, first impressions often set the tone for the future of that relationship. If either person is unsatisfied with the initial interaction, there’s a high probability the relationship will not continue. However, if the interaction is pleasing, engaging, and satisfying, there’s a good chance that they’ll build on that relationship through future interactions. And that’s exactly the same that happens with digital interactions, so the more personalized the experiences are, the more linked customers stay with the brand.
Customer profiles are changing because the environment around them is evolving, characterized by economic constraints and new competitive options. The customer is now in control of their relationship with a brand. In a commoditized space, product and service are a given. Therefore, companies can no longer solely rely on their product or service as their main competitive differentiator; they must compete on the basis of delivering a superior experience.
As stated in this article, 48% of consumers spend more when their experience is personalized while 74% of people hate being shown irrelevant content. In customer experience, personalization is a key strategy to help companies grow further their relationship with the customers. Because over the years, consumers have become accustomed to and expect personalized, one-to-one interactions with businesses, they tend to apply the same principles when evaluating a business relationship as they do when evaluating a personal relationship. The goal is to reach customers on an emotional level so that they feel a personal, genuine connection with the brand—like a friendship. Once customers are comfortable in the relationship, they tend to remain loyal and even recommend others to the brand.
We at Didimo want to be in the final step of this process, to humanize all customer experiences. Because as we wrote here “we believe in a more human and humane world, where digital communication might be a way to build bridges, not walls, to give a voice to someone who’s not able to communicate with their peers and to promote equality.”