Tech companies are thriving, a mix of tech starts-ups and pivots onto line. But in a crowded market, differential is key and one winner is personalization.
Great tech alone does not win customers. The winning formula takes more than just the tech.
Personalization and pets
James Davidson, the co-founder of tails.com, and contributor to Scale for Success, is a hugely seasoned entrepreneur, having worked under Richard Reade at Innocent for many years. Tails offer personalized pet food and even have their own dog cookbook. In his contribution to my book, James is candid about how when tails first opened, they came near to closing a few months later. He says that “we had missed while we focused so hard to create the very best quality, tailored product, were the real-life needs and expectations of our customers.”
Having realized their mistake, it catalysed them into taking a new approach and putting customers at the centre of everything they did. They structured the business to take on feedback fast, communicate well, make changes if needed from that be it to the feed for dogs, delivery times, or responding to customers questions. It was their very personalized customer journey through which I first heard of them through a chum who was wowed by every contact she had by them. Their personalization had achieved a very special customer relationship.
James says that a useful piece of advice for any business is that however passionate you are about your product, you need to understand your customers’ needs and expectations. “It sounds simple,” he says, “but getting this wrong is potentially the end of the line.”
When you understand them, you can develop that personalization, especially for the very personal relationship we have with our pets.
Holidays and personalization
Another area we take seriously is our holidays, often the highlight of our year. We want them to live up to expectation, to be massive successes.
Maison Sport, co-founded in 2016 by former British ski champion Nick Robinson and have also found success through putting the customer first. Maison Sport has given visibility and a platform to some of the most renowned ski-instructors, who were previously only found by word of mouth or via concierge services. Maison Sport makes them accessible, and as they set their own pricing, this elite group is often cheaper for the customer than the average ski-school.
“Skiers and snowboarders aren’t all looking for the same experience. Nick explains: “Some are focussed on learning or refining their technique, some are after the cheapest lessons available, while others while want to ride with a true local someone who can show them a resort’s hidden gems, whether it’s a tucked away, scenic café or restaurant or fresh untouched off-piste.” In other words, what they need is personalization.
And they get it. Customers can narrow their search in the booking journey to a range of instructors that suit them; they can then compare instructor profiles – taking into account the instructor’s unique skill set and experience, reviews from past customers, and their pricing.” They also off a unique process linking the instructor to the customer before booking, ensuring the instructor can meet the customer’s needs. Like tails.com, this mix of personalization enabled by tech delivers and is rewarded with outstanding customer reviews.
Banking and Personalization
Our money is, of course, also pretty important to us and we want it to feel catered for in a personal way. Who hasn’t been irrated with automation in fintech at some point!
Amaiz offer a business banking app that aims to take the hassle of payment admin away from small businesses and sole traders. Business accounts are quick and easy to open and use and you can seamlessly invoice and receive a credit card payment within minutes by return. I asked Matt Goddard, their Head of Acquisition how they managed to keep the customer journey in focus when there are so many requirements to meet in the Fintech sector. He agreed for them too it is a case of balancing human support and automation.
“We want customers to easily understand the journey they are on, but also minimise our touchpoints,” Matt says. “Each one should add real value – be reassuring but not overly obtrusive.” Matt says that while their tech may lead the way, they have customer support available from onboarding so that they can both provide customer support but also get to know their customers, creating that personalization. They find the double reward of increased accuracy combined with the interaction paying off in the relationship itself.
Amaiz also work on striking a balance between informing but not overwhelming customers. By managing customer expectations, they can prepare them for each step of the way but also highlight the product features. “Voice biometrics is a great example”, says Matt. “It’s cutting edge technology that shows customers that security is a live concern and is easy to use. But it also has a wider role in providing value, support, and a better customer experience during their time with our app. Onboarding sets a tone, and we’re very excited about the potential of features like this as our app continues to develop.”
Personalization whatever the sector
Three very different companies in three very different sectors, but one key message. If you are caring for your pet, looking after your money, going on holiday – if you want to buy a loaf of bread, it is still nice to feel special and increasingly personalizaiton is what makes customers feel they matter.
Great tech alone is not enough to help you to success. You need a well thought out, supportive customer journey which adds back in the personal touch and connects to people individually and emotionally.
Part of this article originally appeared in Irish Tech News