We’ve all had interactions with brands that, unfortunately, just don’t get it.

Whether they’ve sent you an email that has absolutely nothing to do with your interests, bombarded you with offers for a product you’ve already bought, or asked you for the same information over and over again when you call their customer support line, it’s frustrating and creates an unfavorable customer experience.

Buyers want, and expect, to be treated as individual human beings with unique needs and preferences. Businesses need a reliable way to understand the individuals they’re communicating with, especially in today’s online world where most businesses rarely meet their customers face-to-face.

The solution is to develop a personalized customer journey that creates a positive and memorable experience every time a client interacts with your brand. While reaching that level of individualization can be a daunting task for small businesses that are stuck dealing with disorganized data, you have the ability to mitigate that problem through your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform. An all-in-one CRM can create a top-to-bottom view of your client data, thus helping solve the problem of poor customer experiences.

Understand your customers as individuals

From a business perspective, one of the most frustrating situations is not having data when you need it the most — asking leads or customers for the same information multiple times can cost you sales. This can hurt your retention rates, cost you referral opportunities and damage your brand loyalty.

With your CRM, every customer automatically gets an individual contact record as soon as they enter your database. The contact record holds all the information you have relating to each lead or customer, from purchase history to contact information to account activity.

You can also view real-time records of every interaction your customers and leads have had with your business through the contact log. Whether they opt in to your email list through a form on your website, call your business and chat with one of your sales reps, or send an SMS text message to you, every aspect of their relationship with your business is recorded and stored automatically. If you have specific information that you need stored, such as clothing size, allergy concerns, marital status, occupation or anything else, you can create a custom data field within your contact records to both store and organize that information.

This provides a goldmine of customer information at your sales team’s fingertips. Instead of hunting down customers’ information while you are on a call with them, simply pull up their contact record and see their demographics, purchase history, emails read, booked appointments and so much more. It makes it easier to know exactly who you’re talking to and what their needs are so that you can have valuable sales conversations.

Incorporate automation to ensure personalized follow-up

You can also routinely follow up on those sales conversations and easily assign automated task prompts or reminders for someone on your team to complete a manual task, such as a follow-up call. Task outcomes can be selected by your team member to trigger an automated response such as a follow-up email, confirmation text, or thank you postcard. Again, this supports customers in feeling they’re being personally taken care of.

Another way to ensure you’re treating each customer as an individual is to view your contacts based on their stage within your funnel or pipeline. With visual displays, such as Ontraport’s Card View, rather than simply seeing a list of names, you can see critical information, such as the status of each contact, at a glance on a business-card-like display. This allows you to know exactly when and on whom to focus your follow-up so that you’re always prioritizing customers’ needs.

To create a truly personalized customer experience, you must go beyond simply collecting and storing customer data. You need to utilize it — and you can do that by having a birds-eye view of your contacts and using automation to stay on top of follow-up.

Create perfectly targeted messages

It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you that sending mismatched marketing messages won’t yield favorable results. For example, an email marketing campaign promoting men’s fashion to a list that is 70% female, or a direct mail campaign with coupons for daycare to an audience of whom 90% aren’t parents, simply doesn’t work.

This problem can also manifest as messages that are poorly targeted to the individual’s stage in your funnel. For example, a contact who joined your free newsletter yesterday might receive a message promoting your $10,000 coaching program the next day. That kind of mismatch is a red flag that a business is not being sensitive to the individual wants and needs of the contacts in their database.

To combat unfavorable experiences like that, you can create custom and dynamic groups of your contacts that fit any criteria you want. You can divide your list by industry, interest, behaviors displayed, or nearly any other data point that you can think up.

For example, if you own a yoga studio and want to create a campaign promoting your new family package, you can create a group of your contacts that fit that criteria. That segment might include people on your list who are married, have children under the age of 18 or have attended X number of classes within the last month. You can automatically add tags, which are labels to help you effectively group and identify the contacts in your database, to include any people who match that set criteria to your campaign in the present and future.

To personalize the messages in that campaign further, you can easily select a merge field to insert any type of data from a contact record into your marketing message. You can add the customer’s name, credit card expiration date, and last purchase amount into your message, form, landing page or task content. For example, you can include a merge field for [First Name] in your email, send it to 50 different contacts, and the field will populate with each contact’s first name.

With access to all of this data, it becomes easier to carve your list of targets into narrower segments and increase the effectiveness of your campaigns.

About Tatiana Doscher
Campaign Strategist Tatiana Doscher is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a dual B.A. in Communication and Global Studies. After working with several small and local businesses, Tatiana joined Ontraport’s Marketing team. She loves running, hiking and enjoying Santa Barbara’s beautiful beaches.