Personalisation is arguably the most important aspect of The Six PillarsTM. It accounts for 23 per cent of the overall experience, and in recent times it has underpinned the customer experience strategy of the most successful CEE brands. Crucially, it is something that customers are receptive to; Coca Cola’s ‘named’ bottles took the social media world by storm when they were first introduced, and the hazelnut spread Nutella has recently invited consumers to design their own labels for their jars, which they can customise online and have delivered free of charge. As such, the art of catering for the individual is one that many organisations are starting to recognise, and master.

A personalised banking experience

This is certainly true of the new digital-only brand Atom Bank, which is aiming to become a ‘next generation’ organisation that focuses on the customer instead of itself. The company’s chief marketing officer described Atom Bank as “a customer-obsessed organisation,” stating that, “We want to be highly personal and demonstrate this at every point of our proposition that it’s about the customer, not us.”

In practice, Atom Bank’s endeavours are certainly unique in the world of financial customer experience management. When users sign up, they have the ability to choose their own brand logo and colour palette, and they are also able to customise the bank’s name, perhaps choosing to call it Jenny’s Bank, or Dave’s Bank.

“It’s a way of showing that we believe every one of our customers is unique,” Atom Bank explains. “No one should have exactly the same experience of Atom. Visually, it will also look very different from other bank experiences.”

And it’s an approach Atom Bank is looking to expand upon. The brand hopes that customers will be able to log into their accounts using face and voice biometrics, powered by the Unity engine, which is usually reserved for the development of video games. It’s a trailblazing approach to customer experience management from a company that is not afraid to ‘think outside the box.’

A richer customer experience strategy

Similar qualities can be seen in many other measured brands. The bank first direct, for example, empowers its employees to make their own decisions, ensuring they’re always in a position to adapt the customer experience to the specific needs of the individual. And it’s proven successful, landing the organisation in second place in the UK CEE rankings. Similarly, the country’s highest-scoring brand – the cosmetics retailer Lush – affords team members with a thorough knowledge of the company’s products, enabling them to give accurate and informed advice to shoppers with a range of different needs.

One of the most interesting brands, though, is the electronics retailer Richer Sounds, which currently sits in fourth place in the Customer Experience Excellence rankings. With a Personalisation score of 8.33, the company puts the individual at the heart of its operations, even going so far as to open its stores at a time best suited to the customer, provided they are a member of its VIP Club.

“We want you to enjoy an enhanced shopping experience with extended opening times so we can spend more time with you on demonstrations and you can purchase without the distraction of a busy shop floor,” Richer Sounds says. “As a VIP Club member, we’re giving you out-of-hours access to one of our friendly experts, as well as the ability to book demonstrations and shop.”

And for the more casual shopper, the brand is still committed to providing for their needs. The staff members take their time in discussing products with the customer, guiding them through a range of choices with a view to finding exactly the right one. There is a strong emphasis on the shopper’s happiness and satisfaction, which is given greater priority than the day’s takings.

Subsequently, there is much for customer experience management brands to learn from companies such as Richer Sounds, Atom Bank and first direct. For a customer experience strategy to succeed in 2016, it must be built with the pillar of Personalisation as its foundation. The art of understanding the human shopper, and the ability to tailor the service around their needs, emotions and preferences, is key to success in the CEE rankings.