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Expanding Customer Loyalty : From Personal to Personalized Published: Wednesday, February 24, 1999 By: Dr. Manuel Angel Morales

Here today, gone tomorrow pretty much says it all. The loyalty core customers have felt towards their suppliers has taken a mayor shift. It is a turn from personal to personalized service. Personalized means that the individual customer defines his or her expectations. Personal service is qualitatively different. It emerges not from the customer, but from the provider of the service.

The new understanding is that personal service will not be enough for the years to come. The customer wants to participate proactively in establishing customized requirements. There is also a technological imperative. The Internet is slowly redefining customer service. As it has been said by John Graham, one of the personalized service champions, the Internet is the one realm where direct human contact is absent. This open access technology stresses consumer interdependence. InPuerto Ricothere are about 150,000 people using the Internet… Rough data shows that around 5% of the local market is purchasing airlines tickets directly through this device…

The progress from personal to personalized service is expanding the sense of customer loyalty. Such a state commonly arises from a sustained personal relationship. Usual wisdom is that business is strictly personal. However, these days such a premise is complemented by practicality, efficiency and expediency. The future design challenge will be how to couple knowledge, expertise and personal relationships with personalized-technology based interactions, giving rise to a radical behavior proposition: As the demand for personalized service increases for the next decade, customers will have less interest in conventional service methods. The purpose should be that of discovering ways to personalize personal service. But what are some of the potential strategies.

  • Focus on individual customer behavior. Be sure that companies and organizations with mission statements incorporate the customer as a key actor in the management drama. Personalized service asks what the individual customer wants and delivers it. It doesn`t make assumptions about what the customers may want. Again, the Internet offers to the customers an endless array of personalized news, stock market information, weather data, products and services of all sorts. (Currently, around 40% of our on going researches are by way of the Internet, and 15% of our sales are by way of our Internet page).
  • Aim at total efficiency as saving time, providing convenience and promoting customization. There are various companies in the island allowing customers to design their products, services and requirements without constraints. It is all about getting what you want, when you want it, the way you want it.
  • Target at meeting customer expectations. Because customers are more in control, they no longer take no for an answer. Every organization is experiencing demands for shorter cycle times, highly customized services and finding exact solutions customers want. Personalized services is not about traditional management practices of investing time, energy and capital in getting systems in place so the operation will run smoothly in the delivery of products and services.

Rebuilding the sense of customer loyalty is about allowing them to establish their goals and requirements, sharing with them what the organization wants to do internally and encouraging flexibility to overcome routines. We have developed various Customer 21 Centers, where customers expectations are addressed and responded in a personalized fashion.

Copyright 1999 QBS, Inc.
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