Tag Archives: personalization

The Personal Touch Should Not Be Faked

The Personal Touch Should Not Be Faked

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

One of the most powerful customer service and CX tactics is personalization. We interviewed more than 1,000 consumers for our CX research, and 71% said a personalized experience is important to them. When personalization is used correctly, customers feel as if you recognize them. Using their name, remembering their past purchases, their buying patterns and more can build confidence and trust.

While personalization is nice, it is not required, and if you decide to do it, there are some mistakes you must avoid. For example, if you’ve ever talked to a customer service agent who uses your name repeatedly to the point that it seems disingenuous, the effort to personalize fails. Another example came in the form of an email I recently received from a sales rep. It started out like this:


I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to discuss upgrading your current technology …

Obviously, my name is not “Not Provided.” I could tell the mail-merge field didn’t work. It took about two seconds for me to delete the email.

What made it worse was the next day, I received a phone call from the salesperson who sent the email. He didn’t ask for me by name. He asked for “the person in charge of technology.” So, this guy has my phone number and email address, but can’t get my name? His “personalization” strategy failed. As always, I’m polite to every salesperson who calls, but the conversation and relationship were over in less than a minute.

Shep Hyken Personalization Cartoon

There are some pretty easy ways to create a personalized experience. Here are three of many to consider:

  1. Use the Customer’s Name – As already mentioned, be sure to use it correctly.
  2. Know the Customer’s Buying History – With the right software, you can track what the customer bought, how often and more.
  3. Make Appropriate Recommendations – Knowing your customer’s buying history can give you insights into up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. This isn’t a traditional sales pitch. It’s based on what you know about the customer. And if you know a customer can use something and don’t tell them about it, that is actually bad customer service.

While there are many more ideas, let’s wrap up with this. Personalization is about connecting with your customer. Be sure to do it right, whether it is as simple as using the customer’s name or as sophisticated as using data to understand your customer’s needs. No personalization is better than personalization done wrong.

Image Credits: Shep Hyken, Pexels

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10 Ways to Rock the Customer Experience In 2023

10 Ways to Rock the Customer Experience In 2023

GUEST POST from Shep Hyken

As of today, 2022 is behind us. It was quite a year. Some businesses are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic, and then came employment issues, supply-chain problems and a shaky economy. All that makes for a company’s leaders having to use every skill they ever learned in their careers.

Our CX research indicated that 2022 was worse for customer service than the prior year. So we don’t continue that trend in 2023, I’ve created a list of tactics to help you. And while these may seem basic, they are essential to your organization’s success. With that in mind, here are ten ways that you can rock the customer experience in 2023:

1. Manage First and Last Impressions

There may not be anything more basic than this. Start with a strong first impression—and not just the first time a customer interacts with you. It could be the 500th time. First impressions set the tone for whatever is to follow, be it the first interaction or the 500th. As for last impressions, be sure to end strong. Last impressions create lasting impressions.

2. Give Back

Customers gravitate toward companies and brands that give back. Forty-five percent of the customers we surveyed in our annual customer experience research said that a company that gives back to the community or stands for a social cause is important to them. That’s almost half of your customers.

3. Be Customer-Focused

My definition of customer-focused is more than just delivering a good customer service experience. In addition to paying attention to customer service and CX, every decision you make keeps the customer in mind. Even if you are considering a change that will negatively impact the customer, you think it through, understand the ramifications and strategize how to overcome or handle the decision’s impact.

4. Empower Your Employees

If you want to keep your best employees and want them to take care of your customers, you need to hire good people, train them to do their job and then let them do it. Customers become frustrated when they encounter employees who aren’t able to make smart decisions. By the way, employees become frustrated as well, and that’s not good for the culture.

5. Practice Proactive Customer Service

This how you create customer confidence. Reach out to them proactively if you know of a problem. For example, the cable company that reaches out to its customers to let them know about an outage before they turn on their TV or computer. Or the retailer that emails, texts or calls a customer to let them know their purchase is delayed. While nobody likes bad news, knowing in advance gives the customer a sense of control and knowledge that the company is working on the problem.

6. Make It Personal

Find ways to personalize the experience. Customers like to be recognized and remembered. Make your customers feel as if you know them.

7. Have an Abundance Mindset, Especially When It Comes to Time

Zig Ziglar used to say, “You will get all you want in life if you help other people get what they want.” In this case, help customers get the most out of their experience with you and your products. That may mean spending a little more time selling, supporting and relationship-building with your customers. One of the big “loyalty killers” in business is when employees rush a customer to get to the next customer. Customers know it, feel it and don’t like it. An extra minute or two can be the difference between a customer coming back—or not.

8. Be Convenient

Eliminate anything (or at least as much as you can) that causes friction. Don’t make customers wait, don’t make them go through extra steps or do anything that is in the least bit inconvenient. Seventy percent of the customers we surveyed said they would pay more for convenience, and 68% said a convenient experience alone will make them come back.

9. Practice the “Employee Golden Rule”

My Employee Golden Rule goes like this: Do unto employees as you want done unto your customers. In other words, treat the people you work with as well (if not better) than your customers. That sets the tone from the inside and is felt by the customer on the outside.

10. Be Helpful

Ace Hardware is known as “The Helpful Hardware Place.” That’s their secret sauce. It separates them from their direct competitors (Home Depot, Menards, Walmart, etc.). I was interviewing an Ace executive for one of my customer service books, and he said, “Our competition has friendly customer service. So do we, but we also provide helpful service.” Think about how to help your customers be more successful when they buy whatever it is you sell.

BONUS: Show Appreciation

Don’t ever forget to say, “Thank you.” It doesn’t matter if it’s in person, on the phone, a text or an old-fashioned, hand-written note. Customers must always know you appreciate them for their business.

Some of these ideas may seem basic—even common sense. Maybe they are, but they are also essential to delivering the experience that gets customers to say, “I’ll be back!”

This article was originally published on Forbes.com.

Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Future of Retail

E-commerce, Augmented Reality, and Personalized Experiences

The Future of Retail: E-commerce, Augmented Reality, and Personalized Experiences

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

The retail industry has seen significant transformations in recent years, and these changes are only going to accelerate in the future. As consumers increasingly turn to online shopping, retailers are finding new ways to engage their audience, provide enhanced experiences, and stay relevant in a digital age. Two case studies highlight the impact of e-commerce, augmented reality, and personalized experiences on the future of retail.

Case Study 1: Amazon Go

In 2018, e-commerce giant Amazon introduced Amazon Go, a cashier-less grocery store. This innovative concept allows customers to simply walk in, grab the items they need, and leave. Powered by a combination of computer vision, machine learning, and sensor technology, Amazon Go tracks customers’ selections and automatically charges their account, eliminating the need for cash registers or checkouts.

The introduction of Amazon Go showcases the potential of e-commerce to revolutionize the retail experience. By removing friction points in traditional shopping, such as waiting in line, Amazon Go provides customers with convenience and saves them precious time. Moreover, the technology-driven store gathers valuable data on customer behavior, enabling Amazon to further personalize its offerings and enhance the shopping experience.

Case Study 2: Warby Parker

Warby Parker, an online eyewear retailer, has successfully integrated augmented reality (AR) into its business model. Using AR technology, customers can virtually try on glasses using their smartphone or computer camera. This innovative approach eliminates the need for physical try-ons and allows customers to see how the glasses fit and look on their face in real-time.

The introduction of AR in the retail industry demonstrates the power of virtual experiences to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. By leveraging AR, Warby Parker provides customers with a personalized and interactive shopping experience. This technology-driven approach not only enhances customer satisfaction and confidence in their purchase decisions but also reduces return rates, resulting in cost savings for the retailer.

Looking Ahead

The future of retail lies in the seamless integration of e-commerce, augmented reality, and personalized experiences. With the rise of technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and Internet of Things, the possibilities in retail are endless. Here are a few predictions for what lies ahead:

1. Personalized Product Recommendations: As retailers gather more data on customer preferences and behaviors, they will be able to offer personalized product recommendations, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

2. Enhanced In-Store Experiences: Physical stores will leverage AR and VR technologies to create immersive experiences, enabling customers to interact with products in new and exciting ways.

3. Voice Commerce: With the proliferation of voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, voice commerce will become more prevalent. Customers will be able to make purchases, ask for recommendations, and receive personalized offers using voice commands.


The future of retail is undoubtedly evolving towards e-commerce, augmented reality, and personalized experiences. Retailers who embrace these technologies stand to gain a competitive advantage by providing enhanced convenience, personalization, and engagement to their customers. By examining successful case studies like Amazon Go and Warby Parker, we can see the immense potential and exciting possibilities that lie ahead for the retail industry.

Bottom line: Futures research is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futures research themselves.

Image credit: Unsplash

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The Power of Big Data

Driving Innovation and Insights in the Digital Age

The Power of Big Data

GUEST POST from Art Inteligencia

In today’s digital age, the massive amounts of data generated every second have unparalleled potential to drive innovation and provide invaluable insights across various industries. With the advent of big data analytics, organizations can now harness this enormous volume of information to unlock new opportunities, improve decision-making processes, and foster growth. In this article, we will explore the transformative power of big data through two case studies, showcasing how businesses have leveraged it to drive innovation and gain unparalleled insights.

Case Study 1: Amazon’s Personalized Recommendations

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, has revolutionized the way we browse and shop by effectively utilizing big data analytics. By leveraging extensive customer data, including browsing history, purchase behavior, and product ratings, Amazon has developed an incredibly effective recommendation system that personalizes each user’s shopping experience.

Through the power of big data, Amazon’s algorithms analyze millions of data points to make predictions about a customer’s potential interests. These recommendations have significantly increased customer engagement, driving sales and loyalty. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 35% of Amazon’s revenue comes directly from these personalized recommendations.

By leveraging big data insights, Amazon understands customer behavior patterns, which allows them to optimize their supply chain management, inventory, and product placement. This invaluable knowledge enables Amazon to forecast demand accurately, reduce costs, and optimize their operations, contributing to its position as an industry leader.

Case Study 2: Google’s Self-Driving Cars

The development of self-driving cars by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, illustrates how big data is transforming the automotive industry. Google’s autonomous vehicles rely on a multitude of sensors, including cameras, radar, and LIDAR, to collect and process vast amounts of real-time data about the vehicle’s surroundings.

Big data analytics enables these vehicles to react dynamically to changing road conditions, avoiding accidents, and providing a safe driving experience. Through machine learning algorithms, these cars continuously analyze the collected data to improve their decision-making capabilities over time.

Moreover, the data collected by these self-driving cars provides invaluable insights into traffic patterns, road conditions, and potential hazards. This knowledge can be utilized to optimize urban planning, reduce congestion, and improve infrastructure. By leveraging big data, Google has not only created a groundbreaking technology but has also paved the way for a smarter and safer future of transportation.


These case studies clearly demonstrate the immense power of big data in driving innovation and generating invaluable insights. From revolutionizing customer experiences to transforming entire industries, big data analytics has become an integral part of businesses across the globe. Embracing and effectively leveraging the potential of big data will not only enhance decision-making processes but also foster growth and lead to a more efficient and prosperous future in the digital age.

Image credit: Pixabay

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The Future of Retail: Experiential Shopping and Personalized Experiences

The Future of Retail: Experiential Shopping and Personalized Experiences

GUEST POST from Chateau G Pato

The retail industry is constantly evolving, and recent years have seen a significant shift towards experiential shopping and personalized experiences. In an era where e-commerce is dominating, retailers have realized the importance of creating unique and memorable experiences that cannot be replicated online. By incorporating technology, customization, and interactive elements, retailers are re-imagining the traditional shopping experience and connecting with customers on a deeper level.

One of the key drivers behind the rise of experiential shopping is the desire for authenticity and connection. Customers no longer want to simply buy a product; they want to feel a genuine connection with the brand and the story behind it. This shift is evident in the success of retail spaces that prioritize storytelling and create immersive experiences for customers.

Case Study 1 – Samsung 837 Store

A prime example of this is the Samsung 837 store in New York City. Rather than being a traditional retail store, Samsung 837 is a three-story experience center that showcases the brand’s latest products and innovations. Customers are invited to interact with and test out the products in various experiential zones, such as the Virtual Reality Tunnel and the 4D VR Theater. Additionally, the store hosts regular events, workshops, and performances, creating a sense of community and excitement around the brand. By focusing on creating an immersive and interactive experience, Samsung has successfully transformed the traditional retail space into a destination that customers actively seek out.

Case Study 2 – Nike Flagship Store

Another successful case study in experiential shopping is the Nike flagship store in New York City’s Soho neighborhood. The store features a range of interactive elements that engage customers and encourage them to personalize their shopping experience. For example, the Nike By You Studio allows customers to design and customize their own sneakers, creating a one-of-a-kind product that is unique to them. The store also includes a Nike+ Trial Zone, where customers can test out products on an indoor basketball court, a soccer field, or a treadmill. These interactive experiences not only create a memorable shopping experience for customers but also allow them to engage with the brand in a deeper and more meaningful way.

Personalization is another key aspect of the future of retail. With advances in technology, retailers can now collect and analyze vast amounts of customer data, allowing them to tailor the shopping experience to individual preferences and needs. This personalized approach not only enhances the customer experience but also increases customer loyalty and drives sales.

Amazon is a prime example of a retailer that has successfully leveraged personalization in its shopping experience. Its recommendation engine analyzes a customer’s browsing and purchase history to provide personalized product recommendations. Additionally, Amazon’s Dash Buttons enable customers to quickly reorder commonly used items with the push of a button. By understanding and anticipating customer needs, Amazon has created a seamless and personalized shopping experience that keeps customers coming back.


The future of retail lies in experiential shopping and personalized experiences. By creating immersive and interactive spaces, retailers can forge genuine connections with customers and create a sense of excitement and community. Additionally, by leveraging customer data and technology, retailers can personalize the shopping experience and cater to individual preferences. As the retail landscape continues to evolve, it is clear that the traditional shopping experience is being transformed into a holistic and personalized journey.

Bottom line: Futurology is not fortune telling. Futurists use a scientific approach to create their deliverables, but a methodology and tools like those in FutureHacking™ can empower anyone to engage in futurology themselves.

Image credit: Pexels

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Apple Touches on a Potential Innovation Integration

Apple Touches on a Potential Innovation Integration

Recently Apple announced its intention to acquire Authentec, a biometric authentication company. Apple was in a real hurry to complete the acquisition and it makes you wonder whether Authentec’s fingerprint authentication technology will make it into the home button of the iPhone 5 and possibly the iPad Mini in the coming months.

If Apple were to integrate the Authentec technology into the home button on the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini, and eventually the iPad 4, then it would not only create a handy way to make the devices easily personalized for multiple users of the same device (or just a simple password-free login for a single user), but purportedly the technology also has the ability to recognize multiple fingers (allowing for the home button to potentially achieve multiple functions), and to serve as authentication for mobile payments (most likely via NFC – Near Field Communications).

That would mean that Apple would add a lot of new functionality with the integration of this tiny piece of hardware, several software updates, and another tiny piece of hardware for NFC. But more importantly, these tiny pieces of hardware and software could make the computing experience more personal, and more naturally personalized as you move around the environment into different applications.

I know it is only a replacement for what could or can be done with a password, but I would love to be able to have apps like Netflix personalized based on whose finger was used.

This could become a great example of flexible design and innovating for the future present if they launch the iPhone 5 with these technologies. That would show that they started the design process with this as only a possibility but decided AFTER the technology looked ready to actually integrate it into the shipping product, and remained flexible enough to integrate the component near the end of the design process – something that is very hard to do, but very powerful.

Are all of these potential innovations ranging from the minor (login) to the transformative (speeding up mobile payment adoption) likely to make the cut for the iPhone 5?

I guess we will wait and see what happens on September 12th.

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