Oh You! Might not be right way to talk to someone

Jun 30, 2014
Posted by: David

When you meet someone you know you will normally greet them with their name. It is polite, it is common sense. We use names as a way of identifying and signalling that we know them. Just shouting out “ Oh You” is unlikely to elicit a smile.. When we sit at a restaurant and call the waiter by the name on his shirt we often then get better service. Why? They feel they have a relationship with us.

So we should not really be surprised that a recent survey stated nearly half of American consumers cite personalization as vital component of their customer experience, according to Maxymiser. The report examined how consumers use online and mobile devices to browse, research, and book travel plans, as well as the impact of an optimized and personalized experience on customer loyalty, engagement, and revenue.

This finding was supported by other research from the UK that found that 56% of consumers say they would be more inclined to use a retailer if it offered a good personalised experience, according to O2 ’s The Rise of Me-tail study. It also found that personalisation could lift sales by 7.8%.

Itemize, a company that auto-extracts data from receipts in under 15 seconds and stores the receipt in an online vault found that people who were sent offers based on their receipts( i.e. personalised offers, as opposed to just based on what they said they might one day be interested in) responded much better to the offers. They showed a 97% uplift in the take up of the same offers.

There are two justifications for personalisation, both drawing on the theory of social exchange. The first argues that, if potential respondents recognise the extra effort required to personalise the researcher’s communication with them, they will be more likely to respond because of the social obligation to reciprocate the expended effort (Dillman 1978).

The second argument, and one that I feel is probably stronger, is that personalisation creates the impression that respondents are receiving something addressed to them with special attention, not just a general communication.

The table below shows a wide number of pieces of research around personalisation, all of them consistently show that personalising communication sees an uplift in response rates. Certainly the research was done in the ‘old days’ of direct marketing as in mail rather than the modern internet world, but the consumer is still the same. A consumer likes to feel they are a single person, not just part of a mass group being spoken to as “OY You”.

So should we really be surprised at all this research, given that we are ultimately consumers and like to be addressed personally by name? Surely it is just a matter of common sense that the more you can tailor an engagement the more I will be interested in engaging with you. The more you can send me offers based on what I am actually doing today, rather than in theory on what you might think I want to do, the more I will take up those offers.

Certainly many of the companies promoting new Bluetooth Beacon technology, such as Apple with their IBeacon offering, believe this is the way to go. Offers based on who you are, where you are, the time of the day, what you have bought previously are the way to engage with the modern consumer. And as the world becomes increasingly digital consumers are going to start to expect that they are dealt with as unique individuals and not as an “Oh You”!