Fight digital fatigue with deep customer personalization

Today’s customers expect digital communications to be convenient and efficient, but they also experience digital fatigue. And that means organizations face a multi-part challenge: how to meet consumer preferences while limiting churn, avoiding greater complexity, and keeping costs low. How can you design consumer experiences that are impactful rather than irrelevant? It’s not easy, but it is possible – and those who can do it will gain a competitive advantage.

The paradox of digital communication

Methods to effectively connect with customers online are now a business necessity. According to a Symend survey as of July 2021, 42% of respondents said they use their service provider’s digital tools significantly more than before the pandemic. New digital converts are part of this trend: according to one 2020 McKinsey Poll75% of those who used digital channels for the first time said they would continue to use them after COVID-19.

The catch is that while consumers want to use digital communication tools, they are also exhausted by the constant barrage of emails and text messages. Service providers must negotiate the future of digital engagement because they face conflicting desires: customers have high expectations, but they also receive a deluge of messages.

According to the Symend survey, four out of 10 customers will leave a provider if they don’t give them the resources they expect. At the same time, a Deloitte survey found that 32% of respondents felt that since the start of the pandemic, they had been overwhelmed by the number of devices and subscriptions they had to manage. This makes them more likely to ignore digital communication. Symend found that 35% of consumers are more likely than ever to ignore emails and text messages.

This creates a paradox of digital interaction that companies have to deal with.

Make a real connection

Most efforts to address this problem focus on automation and targeting technologies, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Customers are smarter than many companies think. They require individualized interaction, especially those who suffer from digital fatigue. This is crucial, but most companies – a staggering number 67% of respondents – admit they don’t have the right tools to implement personalization at scale.

Businesses need a mechanism to dynamically personalize engagement at scale, so it stays relevant as customer demands and desires evolve. Every customer engagement should be viewed as an opportunity to learn more about the customer, understand them better, and grow your relationship with them.

What does compassion look like today

Businesses need to show compassion to their customers, many of whom are currently struggling. Many companies have worked hard to show their customers that they understand the difficulties caused by the pandemic. For example, consumers received on average 12 messages of compassion from each of their vendors between March and April 2020. This is a delicate balance because too much of this type of communication can feel empty.

That’s what it takes to overcome the digital paradox, but few companies do it right. Building more predictive models, automated tools, or artificial intelligence doesn’t guarantee you’ll be more compassionate. It just indicates that you understand how to use the technology and that customers can tell the difference.

Being a compassionate brand is crucial, but overall the customer service industry hasn’t made the necessary investments. Saying the word “empathetic” in your marketing materials does not prove that you have the scientific aptitude or the technology to be more compassionate and individualized on a large scale. This robocaller mentality persists in the industry.

Are your processes up to the challenge?

It’s time to take an honest look at your company’s customer service processes if you want to make substantial changes. Examine your actions objectively:

Are you developing or implementing solutions that simplify the measurement and analysis of customer interactions?

Do your processes have the flexibility to respond in real time to what you learn?

Do you work with individuals and software vendors/partners who focus on customer experience as you grow and scale your business? You will be left behind if you don’t.

With each new interaction, do you better understand who your consumer is, what they want and how they like to communicate?

Are you able to use behavioral science at scale to personalize your customer interactions?

If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you may need to prepare for a complete overhaul of your customer service function. You can’t just add automation to your current system and expect it to fix the problem. Instead, you will need to change your thinking as well as your technology.

make yourself heard

The pandemic has accelerated a trend that was already underway: the digitization of customer communications. Simultaneously, the problem of digital fatigue has arisen, in which people are overwhelmed by digital interactions, and it becomes increasingly difficult to get their attention.

Businesses face a major hurdle due to this digital paradox. When it comes to digitizing consumer communications, you can’t just lift and move; you must do this carefully and strategically, taking into account the preferences and habits of each client. This requires a tool that can scale while personalizing interactions. This is what it will take for businesses to overcome digital fatigue and create opportunities to learn more about their customers and make every communication interesting. The companies that do will be the ones that speak up.

Written by Hanif Joshaghani.
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