30th September 2015

Don't underestimate the emotional impact of personalisation

Mike Jongbloet
Head of Design and UX

I recently became a married man and it was a fantastic day. Very sadly my wife’s father died eight years ago after suffering long term with cancer. He had written a letter to be read out during the Father of the Bride speech and we wanted to find a way to honour his memory on our big day. 

Following the speech we gave our guests the opportunity to “buy Steve a drink” by donating any loose change to the fantastic charity Pilgrims Hospice. Incredibly, and thanks to our generous friends and family, we raised over £200.

When dropping our donation into the charity we were asked where the donation came from and if we would like a letter of thanks. The volunteer recommended it as a nice keepsake, so we requested the letter of thanks.

At this point I’m going to pause my story and go back a few years to when we made a previous donation to the same charity. We’d donated some handmade gifts and items and received a letter of thanks that was personal and the gratitude was clear; with detail of which items they liked the most and where they would be displayed and sold. It was unexpected and my wife in particular was extremely happy and appreciative of the letter, feeling happy that she had made a difference.

A few days ago our thank you letter for our recent donation dropped through the post:

Dear Mr Jongbloet, thank you for your donation of £234.58. It is greatly appreciated and will help to keep Pilgrims Hospice operating. Did you know it costs £1,000 to keep Pilgrims Hospice running..."

The personal touch that had made such a lasting impact on us before was missing.

So what is my point?

I’m using this as an example of the impact personalisation can have on your customers whether you are a charity, an ecommerce site or a B2B service.

By embracing personalisation throughout the customer experience you can have a real impact on your customers; make them feel special and increase brand loyalty.

What is personalisation?

Personalisation, simply put, is tailoring an experience to an individual or commonly a segment of your audience. It works by providing more relevant content to a user and / or making them feel valued as a customer. Here are examples common usage of personalisation across the web and marketing:

  • At a basic level saying ‘hello’ when I log in is personalising the experience. Many sites will use messages like “Welcome back, Mike”. It might not be much but it’s the small details that count.
  • Sites like Amazon rely on personalisation to drive their growth and profit. Many sections on Amazon are heavily driven by personalisation and target users based on their previous searches and purchases.
  • Email marketers use personalisation to drive targeted emails based on behaviour. For example I receive special personalised offers from William Hill about horse racing and football but I am not sent irrelevant offers about other sports.

It isn’t just online either, when you go to the local pub and the bartender offers to pour you “the usual” or your hairdresser remembers small details from when you last spoke, it shows a personal touch and makes you feel valued and more likely to return.

So next time you are making website improvements, planning a new marketing campaign or thinking about the service you provide take a moment to consider the customer experience and where you could create those little moments where your customers feel special and valued.