Personality matching in social research is nothing new; in fact, you may remember this happening back in 2009:
This made the news circuits because it highlighted Zappos’ customer service and how they were willing to do almost anything to provide exceptional customer service.
Personality matching is a fairly simple concept. Match your personality to that of the person you’re talking to, which in turn can create a bond or feeling of connection when engaging with that person. It is as simple as using similar catchphrases or tone of voice when talking to that person. If you’re having an in-person conversation, matching their body language.
Personality matching is effective in customer experience. Consumers who engage with representatives with personalities similar to them tend to feel more connected, more heard and feel as though they can better relate to a brand. This, in turn, can lead to a more loyal business relationship. As an added bonus, when CVS looked at personality matching and its effect on customer service, they found that resolution time was shortened as well.
Of course it’s virtually impossible to match customer service representatives to individual customers. But if a company invests time in learning some basic nuances their customers share beyond their affinity for a brand, it can really make a difference.
Customer experience and personality matching should be considered for both customer support and service as well as digital marketing. Use the guide below for both to identify ways to make some adjustments in engagement across the board.
Social lets you “talk like Timmy” better than before
Social data is a godsend. For brands, it’s almost like being at the zoo. They can see their customers interact & engage in their own environment. Social conversation is more personal and unstructured, and the place where personalities become apparent. Beyond the conversations, analyzing those engaging around a certain brand or topic yields more information on a personal and demographic level. Finding this information is key to enhancing personality matching techniques.
Sounds difficult, right? Thankfully it’s not as much of a challenge as it used to be. Using social listening and research is an effective means of learning about your customers on a deeper level. Find those commonalities, and use them to your benefit, both in customer service related issues as well as general marketing initiatives. Here are some tips & tricks to find this valuable information.
Go Beyond Vanity – It’s Not About You
If you’re using a social listening platform, you’re already one step ahead of the game. While you may be focused on the other metrics, such as reach, share of voice, and sentiment, you’ll be surprised to find that there’s a layer of metrics & insight that can be used for personality matching. Remember, customer experience is about the customer, not the brand. Look beyond the metrics that make you feel good; find out what makes customers feel good and work and take it from there.
Start at the Beginning: General Personality Types
If you’re “talking their talk”, customers will feel as though a brand “gets” them. To best understand how to do that, start with basic personality types. The four basic customer personality types are:
- Analytical – facts & figures driven, does their research ahead of time
- Amiable – want to foster relationships & rapport with a brand
- Expressive – sharing their own experiences is important
- Driven – want to be in control, opinionated, and want to resolve issues/get needed information as quickly as possible
Look at keywords and phrases that each personality type uses within the social data collected. Set keyword inquiries to incorporate phrases most used with each personality type to track frequency.
- Which of the four types are noted most often?
- Do two personality types dominate?
- Are there differences across social platforms?
Once the predominant personality types are identified, response styles can be easily incorporated into training programs and digital messaging. This article from slide genius How to Handle 4 Different Personality Types of Customers shares some great tips on how to achieve this.
Beyond this, there are some techniques and content to look for within social analytics to capitalize on matching styles and personalities. Which leads to the next step…
Learn the Lingo
How do your customers talk online? Do they ask a lot of questions? Share stories? Like to debate? Using social listening to identify communication styles and patterns can help gauge your messaging to mirror these patterns.
Look for nicknames and other catchphrases, and use them too. While it may not be something that’s trending or significant enough to show up in standard dashboards, keep an eye out – then make use of them.
For example, a local water park using social research on a regular basis. They noticed some customers started referring to the facility as “the Cove” instead of its actual business name. Seeing this, it gave a new opportunity to use this term in marketing initiatives and social engagement. Not only did the brand give the impression that it was “one of the gang” but a new, consumer-driven nickname was born.
Remember, you’re not the only one they love
Of course, the commonality across your customer base is YOU. However, there’s a whole world out there, and people are multidimensional. Within a group, there can exist more than one common interest. What else do they love?
Social insights can give you an idea of what else they like. Many analytics programs offer this type of deep level insight, whether it’s shared interests, professions, marital status, or family makeup. Take advantage of this little known metric and look at it from different angles. Start broad by looking for commonalities across the entire data set, then look deeper to find specific interests in demographic subsets. No matter how you look at it, brands can find some great information about their customers’ outside interests. And when the opportunity exists, digital messaging can play off of this.
How can you use this?
Look to the community
In the case of a local restaurant, social listening revealed that a good chunk of their customers were rabid fans of a particular sports team. They also noticed that many of their customers were also following this team’s Twitter account. The brand decided to have some fun with it. They celebrated the team’s milestones by offering discounts and promotions, engaged with the team’s Twitter account, and worked with them to offer cross-promotion. The restaurant’s customers loved this, and at the same time it opened up the restaurant to an entirely new set of potential customers. Followers of the sports team’s page learned about the restaurant through cross promotion. A great situation all around!
You think you know, but you don’t
Another brand did some digging and learned that, while their customer demographic was consistently folks in the 25-35 age range, a good portion of those were students. Students? It wasn’t a college town, and there was no other indication to suggest that “student” was a prominent theme among their base. Looking at conversations coming from that segment, the brand learned that many of their customers were going back to school for advanced degrees or headed to college for the first time. They were able to use this information to communicate with them and offer specials/information/promotions around key times of the school year.
Break Out The Map
If your brand is nationwide, you know that people living in one area of the country talk differently than people in other parts of the country. Again, this could be as simple as people in one region needing issues resolved quickly, having a no-nonsense approach to getting their questions answered. Whereas folks in another part of the country may be more laid back and prefer a bit of small talk while getting their issues resolved.
Couple this data with what the customer service reps experience when they are on calls, and trends of what the customer experience looks like across regions will become more clear. Take this data and incorporate it into training for customer service representatives for a more positive customer experience.
Now That You Know What Makes Them Tick, Talk Like Timmy
The examples above are simple and high level, but gives you an idea of how you can go beyond vanity metrics in social platforms and look deeper to find out more about your customers. Then apply what you learn to training programs and digital strategy.
Key tips for incorporating social analysis into customer service & digital marketing initiatives
Identify key insights/trends and then use them
Find the key identifiers and use them as appropriate. From a customer service perspective, knowing the tone & personality type of customers can make resolution easier and more efficient, with a more positive outcome. Take it a step further: for those customers who like to build rapport with reps while engaging, use those known outside interests to try to generate small talk. Feeling connected is important to this set of customers, so being aware of interests beyond typical demographics can be impactful.
Cross-reference interests in messaging
On the digital front, there are some fun things that can be done. One example is cross-promoting – if a segment of consumers shares a particular interest, reach out to that brand’s social media managers and work on cross-promotion.
Connect your customers
Another tactic is cross-promoting your customers to build a sense of unity. Once there is a product or service, or even outside interest identified, tie those customers together to build a sub-community. A great Twitter example is the “follow train”. This is seen a lot on sports-related accounts.The brand will encourage fans to use a hashtag, something like #CubsFollowTrain. Then instruct customers to not only use the hashtag but follow anyone else using it. While this is an easier task for sports teams, think outside of the box for your brand to see how this can be used. It’s another win-win. Customers connect with each other, the brand has a new hashtag to monitor and gain insight from. Potential customers identified as those who have not engaged with the brand socially may be more inclined to connect based on the follow train.
Use customer lingo in messaging and service engagement
Social listening can identify lingo and terminology that is more informal and used by customers. This can be catchphrases or even nicknames consumers informally use to describe the brand or products. Make staff aware of these terms of endearment and try to incorporate them into conversations. This can easily build an affinity and loyalty that will keep them coming back.
Use results to enhance customer mapping
For customer service representatives, customer mapping is often used when personality matching is a core standard. Social data might yield different results than traditional research methods. Coupling social data with traditional data and monitoring on a regular basis to identify shifts and trends will make customer mapping efforts more effective.
Use what you learned in social/digital marketing initiatives
Content messaging can (and sometimes should) look very different from one site to another; use personality matching to make your customers feel like you’re “one of them.” Take the insights and break it down to the individual social sites; find the commonalities on each and create messaging based on findings. Repurposing content may be a bit more challenging using this approach, but a little creativity can show some great results.
Social insights have been a blessing to brands, but it’s still a widely untapped area. Digging deep to learn about your consumers in a new, innovate way can give marketers and customer experience professionals new ways to engage and create loyalty on an entirely new level. The data is already there for you to use. Why not take full advantage of personality matching to make the most of your customer experience initiatives?