How to start personalising customer communications

Today, being communicated to online is becoming an expectation. However, that’s a significant challenge to businesses – particularly for those which are in the growth phase. SMB Trailblazer ModularWalls talks us through how to start moving your small business towards a personalised customer journey.

When Nick Holden, Founder of ModularWalls, was prevented by council from building a brick wall outside of his house, he took matters into his own hands and invented his own category: modular walls. After an appearance on ABC’s The New Inventors, business started to boom and he first saw the power of marketing and engagement. 

Today, ModularWalls employs 70 staff and a trade network of around 2,000 trade partners. With a growth rate of 20-40% year on year, needless to say, when it comes to business growth Nick has learnt a thing or two. Now the challenge for ModularWalls is maintaining sustainable growth by communicating with customers more personally across a wider range of platforms. Here, he answers some of the concerns small businesses have when they start to personalise their communications.

Concern #1: How do I connect with my customers?

It’s all about being where your customers are – the days of a single form or platform of communication are long gone. We need to allow the customer to communicate with us in the way they feel most comfortable, whether that’s through SMS, email, phone or social channels. The time of day also plays an important part. Most people are at work during the day and want to communicate fast and efficiently; but this will be different for a tradie who’s got five minutes to SMS or call someone, compared to an office worker, who’d rather shoot off a quick email.

Concern #2: How do I know what data I need to tailor my communications?

Hire people with the right knowledge and specialised skills to understand your data and implement it within your communications process. When you have the right person utilising your supportive data correctly you will be able to understand:

  • Customer personas
  • Each of your markets
  • The customer journey; knowing where they sit, and when to push communications and what type of communications to push at each stage
  • Customer platform preference for communications

Concern #3: How do I know what I should focus on?

The key features of your personalised customer journey is going to be employee driven, so you should be looking at your internal processes. You should be thinking: do we have a single view of the customer? Are we managing multi-channel platforms within a holistic and customer-focused process? Are staff accountable for their response time? The answers will give you an idea of the customer communications that need improving. As such, we’ve put more focus into providing resources for customers and staff alike, as well as creating better UX, so that customers feel assured throughout their journey.

Concern #4: How do I start the process of customising my communications?

Appointing a brand message ambassador is a critical first step in personalising your messaging. At ModularWalls, that’s our marketing department – they ensure the whole company lives and breathes the same message. They are the gate-keeper of all customer communications; they create the blueprint for the most successful communication processes.

In short, our process starts with the marketing team analysing where the customer sits in their journey, how to provide the correct messages for the most common questions and how to drip-feed the right resources, with the right answers, at the correct time. However, personalising the customer journey is not done in a silo; implementation is key. 

Marketing and sales work together to refine the messaging, presentation and execute the implementation across the sales department, so that there is strong consistency across the company.

Concern #5: How do I get teams to work together?

As many companies find when they go through a digital transformation, culture can take longer to change than the technology. We will be the first to admit, there have been challenges for our departments to really work together and deliver that consistent messaging and experience. 

But these challenges have really allowed us to better understand how to nurture staff. We recommended taking a transparent and consistent approach to all changes and creating easily accessible quality resources for staff to use. Everyone needs to sing from the same song book; they can add their own flavour, but our core messages and language must be consistent.

Concern #6: Will I see a ROI?

A better customer journey always promotes a better customer experience; which promotes better reviews; which increases positive word of mouth; which creates more user generated content; which ultimately improves your bottom line.

Starting the process towards tailored communications is a tough and long process. But at the end of the day, you’re moving your business towards a more personalised model that your customers – and your staff – will enjoy. That’s worth the time and investment.

Want to learn more about growing your small business? Download our new Small Business Growth Toolkit.

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