Consumer Personalization with Darren Tessitore and Scott Wozniak

Consumer Personalization with Darren Tessitore and Scott Wozniak

The Chris Hood Digital Show Episode 12 album art - Personalization
The Chris Hood Digital Show
Consumer Personalization with Darren Tessitore and Scott Wozniak

In a world where businesses compete for consumer attention, personalization has emerged as a critical strategy to foster customer loyalty and engagement. As of 2023, 89% of marketers see a positive ROI when they use personalization in their campaigns. However, at the same time, up to 80% of marketers could abandon personalization efforts by 2025.

In this week’s episode, Chris Hood sits down with Darren Tessitore, CEO of Thrive Reviews and Scott Wozniak, CEO of Swoz Consulting, to discuss how striking the right balance between automation, which drives scalability, and genuine human connection, which ensures authenticity, can be challenging for consumer personalization.

Automated Personalization

AI and automation technologies are powerful tools for achieving large-scale personalization. They allow businesses to track consumer behavior, anticipate needs, and tailor communication and offerings to individual preferences. For example, the recommendation algorithms employed by streaming platforms like Netflix and Spotify curate personalized content based on users’ viewing or listening history.

However, the reliance on AI can be a double-edged sword. While AI excels at handling vast amounts of data and spotting trends, it can often overlook nuances of human emotion and context that are vital in crafting meaningful relationships. Studies have revealed a growing consumer desire for human interaction. A PwC report shows that 75% of customers want more human interaction in the future, not less.

The Human Connection

So, how can businesses marry the efficiency of AI with the authenticity of human connection? The answer lies in a balanced, omnichannel approach. AI can handle the initial stages of personalization, like data collection and trend prediction, while humans take over the more nuanced areas, such as problem-solving and emotional engagement.

“Not only do we wanna show up authentically to them, we need to show up authentically as ourselves. And that’s where real connection happens.” – Scott Wozniak

Take the case of online retailer Zappos. They utilize AI to curate personalized shopping experiences yet emphasize the importance of human customer service. Their approach to customer communication is notable, with their service reps encouraged to build genuine customer relationships, even if it means lengthy phone calls. This blend of high-tech and high-touch has paid off, with Zappos boasting a high customer loyalty rate.

But personalization comes with its own set of challenges. One key issue is privacy concerns. A study by Cisco reveals that 84% of consumers want more control over how their personal information is used, but 80% will share personal data in exchange for deals or offers. Businesses must handle customer data carefully, clearly communicating data usage and allowing consumers to opt-out.

Personalization Alienation

In addition, personalization can sometimes backfire, making customers feel typecast or boxed into specific categories. Companies should offer personalization as a flexible feature, allowing consumers to modify their preferences when desired.

It’s important to note that personalization is not a one-size-fits-all solution. A study by Gartner found that more than 38% of consumers would stop doing business with a company if they find personalization efforts ‘creepy.’ Businesses need to use personalization strategically and ethically, prioritizing customers’ needs and comfort.

“There’s so much of that happening right now where it’s, they’re trying to personalize, but really are just making it look so fake.” – Darren Tessitore

Consumer personalization can elevate the customer experience significantly, boosting engagement and loyalty. However, businesses must be mindful of the balance between automation and human interaction, ensuring their approach is respectful, flexible, and tuned to the customer’s evolving needs. While AI and automation offer unprecedented opportunities for scalability and efficiency, the value of genuine human connection remains irreplaceable.

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Chris Hood (00:00):
Hey everyone. Thanks for listening. In a world where businesses compete for consumer attention, personalization has emerged as a critical strategy to foster customer loyalty and engagement. As of 20 23, 80 9% of marketers see a positive r o ROI when they use personalization in their campaigns. However, at the same time, up to 80% of marketers could abandon personalization efforts by 2025. In this week’s episode, I sit down with Darren Tessitore, c e o of Thrive Reviews, and Scott Wazniak, C e o of Swoz Consulting to discuss how striking the right balance between automation, which drives scalability and genuine human connection, which ensures authenticity can be challenging for consumer personalization. To support the show, visit chris Subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform. Follow us on social media, or you can email me directly, show chris I’m Chris Hood, and let’s get connected

Voice Over (01:13):
Access. Granted, it’s the Chris Hoods digital show where global business and technology leaders meet to discuss strategy, innovation, and digital acceleration. 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Your digital evolution starts. Now, here’s your host, Chris Hood.

Chris Hood (01:42):
Personalization has become synonymous with digital experiences, but do they work? Let’s find out from our guests. Scott, would you mind introducing yourself?

Scott Wozniak (01:52):
Hey, there, I am Scott Wozniak. I’m the CEO of Swoz Consulting. And I’ve had the chance to work inside some big great brands and then learned a lot about how to create kind of high end customer experiences, sometimes in low end industries. But how do you create that intense connection? And a huge part of it is personalization. So I’m excited to kind of get in there and talk about it. I’m based in Atlanta, Georgia, and man travel all over the world, teaching and coaching and helping companies figure out how to do this.

Chris Hood (02:22):

Darren Tessitore (02:23):
Hey Guys. Darren Tessitore here, CEO of Thrive reviews. Past 25 years, I have been a consultant helping companies expand, basically helping them to grow, increase productivity, increase profitability. And then about three years ago, I started a company called Thrive Reviews, which really helps the local small businesses get found and get noticed. So I’ve been working very heavily with helping that industry. Yeah, and that’s, that’s who I am, that’s what I’m doing.

Chris Hood (02:50):
Awesome. It’s great to have both of you. I wanna start off with kind of a theory I have. And so I’m gonna pose a question and see if I’m right. What the last personalized experience that you had online that you can remember

Darren Tessitore (03:06):
I my daughter sent me a video from YouTube that was Happy Birthday, Darren . And that was it, man.

Scott Wozniak (03:16):
Mean, I’m having trouble coming up with a vivid one that’s recent because I, I guess I was on Amazon over the weekend looking up prices, and I know that they, you know, based on your previous purchases, we, we’d recommend looking at these products. But, but I can’t even remember vividly what they recommended. So I know that’s happening. That might be the most actually recent in terms of time. That was just a few days ago. Yeah, before that it’s, it’s been, it’s been a while. I guess. I think one of our utilities companies sent us a personalized video that said something about our home’s, electricity usage or something.

Chris Hood (03:49):
We talk so much about the need for personalization, and yet is it just so readily present that it’s seamless? I mean, what’s going on here?

Darren Tessitore (04:00):
I don’t think it’s happening as much as we think it’s happening. And if it is happening, it’s probably some chat ai thing, you know? So it’s not a lot of real communication, you know, and it’s funny because I, I mean, I have three kids and I’ve raised my kids to try not to be online as much as possible because I want them to have a real life personalized. And it’s the same for businesses, you know, it’s like you’re dealing with your customers. You should be dealing with your customers or have someone who understands your customers and what they want and need dealing with your customers. Look, AI is great, and there’s a lot of things that can save us time doing, but, you know, is it going to end that real personal touch? You know, it’s watching how many times have you guys seen these videos where it’s, you can clearly tell it’s a robot that’s a person, right?

And it’s, you know, the head’s going like this and the mouth is like, I’m, I’m mom, mom. And you’re like, I’m not a real person. I know that’s not a real person. I got a phone call the other day from some guy asking me to donate, and he’s like, I’m like, this is a freaking robot. And I go, Hey, what is your name again? Hi, my name is, I’m like, are you a real person? Of course, I’m a real person. And I’m like, so I started asking a question to see how far I could take this ai, and I’m like, damn, dude, that’s, it was really slick, but it finally just literally hung up on me.

Scott Wozniak (05:20):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. No, I think your analogy’s great, Darren. I will, I will echo that. I think, and to your original question, Chris, I think some personalization is being overdone and, and meaningless now, but it’s the shallow stuff. It’s the, it’s the surface ai. Well, Darren, to your analogy, it’s the difference between online friendships, right? My Facebook friends and my real life friends. I think real life connection, humans connecting with humans, that is more rare and probably more valuable than ever. The generic. And AI put my name in a video that doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. And that might have been impressive 20 years ago. Like, whoa, you used my name? Yeah, sure, use their name. That’s table stakes. Now, that’s not impressive. That’s not, that’s not calling something out unique for me. I think it’s, but there’s still a deep hunger for this real relationship, not the surface, you know, generic AI smart enough to slot Chris into the video and call it a personalized moment.

If it was like it talked about my family, I, so I did. Here’s a personalization moment that, that didn’t work for me. So somebody sent me an email to the email I have on LinkedIn and said, Hey, Scott, we saw your LinkedIn recommendation from your other friend Scott Reese. What a great recommendation based on that we think you might be someone that should, we could work with. And they picture, and I, at first I was like, wait, you actually read my, and then I read like, no, no, no. All they did was they have something, a bot that can, can scroll my page, pull the name off of one of my recommended people, put it in there, and the rest of it was generic. There was nothing about me. There’s nothing about my business that proved they knew anything. And it was a generic, we can help your business grow. And I’m like, yeah, this turned out not to be. Maybe the, the phrase is the difference between like fake personalization, like the, the veneer of it to be actually personalized communication.

Darren Tessitore (07:21):
Yeah, it’s an interesting point, isn’t it? There’s so much of that happening right now where it’s, they’re trying to personalize, but really are just making it look so fake. It’s not even funny. Cause I, I don’t know about you, man, but I can tell fake conversation and it, and we all can, we all know that person that is just fake. Like, you know, like one of my kids will bring a new friend over and they’re trying to impress me and it’s just fake. It’s, you know, it’s interesting because I, I do a lot of, a lot of hiring for my clients. When I help them grow, I’ll go in and, and and literally help them build teams. And one thing I say to ask in an interview question, which I have found to be unbelievable, is I’ll just sit there and I’ll look at the person right in the eye and go, who is, and I’ll name their name, and it throws them so off where they’re just like, oh, how do I answer this? Right? Because I want them to answer it. I don’t want their, their mechanics and circuits that they built, like th well, IA would be great in this position because blah, blah, blah. And it’s a fake answer, right? You want that real interaction. Cause I want them to talk to me. I wanna really know, will this person be a good fit for my company or my client, or I want, you know, you want that real human communication.

Scott Wozniak (08:39):
Yeah. When we talk to our folks, we say that one of the, one of the questions all your customers are asking is, do you care about me? Do you see me as a person? Do I matter to you as an individual or am I just another transaction? Like, am I just going through the motions and, and you’re, listen, if you don’t do your job with excellence, nobody else cares. But just cuz you’ve showed up with reliable excellence doesn’t mean that you’ve made a human connection. They’re still wanting to know, do you see me? Do I matter? I won’t say this, it doesn’t take a lot. I think we get overwhelmed with this. Every conversation has to be this deeply powerful, exhausting, emotional experience. Like when we talk to our clients about it, we say build a, a personalization system that once or twice a year makes a connection with a customer and says, man, I get you, I’m, I’m really understand you not to just, I got to use your name in the form letter, like some message or something that says, Hey, how was that beach vacation you took with your family?

Or, Hey, you know, this product you ordered on this date. How does it, can you give us a quick feedback? Is it working for you? Something simple like that once or twice a year says, I remember you. I I care about you. That’s all. We don’t need to, in fact, might need to be annoying if I don’t know, Darren, Chris, you guys might disagree with me. I think it would be annoying if it was like every month I’m gonna have some sort of like personal conversa, like slow down dude, just once or twice a year, remind me that you remember who I am and that you remember like me in particular. And that is often enough to just blow people’s minds. So little touches can make a big impact.

Chris Hood (10:12):
You know, there’s a story that has floated around the internet for a little while and it’s about a pizza delivery service where you call up and you say, Hey, I would like to order a pizza. And the other person says, well, would you like your usual? Well, how do you know what my usual is? Well, the last 12 times you’ve called, you’ve ordered a pepperoni and sausage pizza. You know, supposedly it’s made out to be like an AI on the other side says, well, based on your medical conditions that I also know about, you probably shouldn’t be eating the pepperoni sausage pizza, so I’m gonna recommend a cheese pizza. And it just goes to your point, right? You lose some of that human element when it becomes too automated. And it’s just based on the data. The data can show some element of who you are as a person, but it can’t paint the full picture. That’s why every time at dinner, when it’s time to choose what you want for dinner, you get to choose, we have free will. I agree these personal touches are critical, but does it really still help us define what personalization is from a digital experience?

Scott Wozniak (11:17):
I think you’re right. Maybe what we’ve done is define what it’s not, but we still need to spell out what it is. And so, you know, I I would say maybe it’s not just using their first name. Maybe at one point in time that was exciting and unique enough, but these days that’s, that’s white noise. We’ve all heard that a thousand times. What it is is naming specific products they’ve purchased or experience they have or personal details and asking questions about that. Like actually having a little bit of an exchange to Darren’s point, like, you know, hey, a real human back and forth, not just a, a nicely packaged paragraph. And so some, this is where chat can help, but I’d say sometimes even, you know, just an email and you reply to the email, I don’t have to overcomplicate the technology involved a little bit of human conversation back and forth versus using their name. That that’s, if we’re gonna get more just defined on what it is, that’s where I would start with the definition is you have an actual conversation with them or are you just filling in their name?

Chris Hood (12:21):
Let me counter this just a little bit. Maybe it has nothing to do with the name or the individual themselves. Maybe what we’re looking for is something along the lines of just cater to what I’m doing in the moment that I’m doing it.

Scott Wozniak (12:37):
Yeah, that’s more like a personalization of timing, right? Like I’m, I’m gonna give you information or tools or whatever based on where you’re at in the moment.

Darren Tessitore (12:47):
You’re absolutely right. It, it all depends on what is it that you’re doing. If you’re leaving a review on Google and someone writes a review, yeah, you should respond to that review personally. You should have a human read the review, look at that client and go, okay, this guy came in to my urgent care and was really happy with the procedure that they got. You know, they got stitches in their head for their little kid and their little kid is now happy and the star was not there. Well, how do you personalize that response? So, okay, I could buy software that will automatically respond to all my reviews was, Hey, thank you so much for coming into my urgent clear, we’re glad you’re a happy customer. And that’s better than nothing, but what about a personalized response, right? Having a real human read it and then respond.

You know, that’s, that’s right. To your point with every communication or every touchpoint should be somewhat individualized with what you’re going to respond to. You know? Yeah. If someone calls my pizza store, okay, it’s good to know that the guy just, you know, bought this same thing 10 times. Like my daughter always goes to this place called Grill Fresh down the street and will order lunch from them, and it’s the same freaking thing she orders every single time, right? She literally opens up Uber Eats, clicks, the button reorder, right? You know, now if she was calling, sure it should be maybe a com a a common thing. Or maybe they could give her a recommendation. Hey Sandra, you’ve been ordering this same thing for the last six months. Did you know that we have this? Maybe you’ll like that. Change it up a little bit. You know, something that knows that’s individually personalized communication.

Scott Wozniak (14:25):
Yeah. And, and I’ll say, so I used to be one of the leaders at Chick-fil-A headquarters learned a lot of customer experience stuff from them. So they’re, they’re not primarily only digital, but they do have a lot of online chatter. In fact, they’re, they’re the most talked about brand on social media in America. I’ll say they, I’ll give you the short version. They, they tiered into four tiers based on the kind of feedback they’re getting. And some of the stuff they just had support staff be able to reply to all humans doing this. No ai. But there were some of them that were like, flagged as tier one, this is important enough. And it could be positive or negative that, that got sent to each franchise owner with a little like, you know, flag on the email, Hey, within 24 hours you should respond to this and again, might be bad.

You know, we had a bad experience. We, we wanna talk about that. That didn’t happen as often. Honestly, 86% of it was positive. There’s sometimes when I would say you, even at a certain scale, you’re like, I mean, they have millions, maybe a hundred million customers annually will run through their setup, right? But there’s still some things that not only do you want a personal note onto, there might even be one or two things a month where you want someone to make a personal phone call and say, Hey, we saw this. That is amazing, that story with your grandmother and how this big moment of her life happened here and we want, how can we help you celebrate that? Or, Hey, we’re so sorry something went wrong. I will say this, the, if you wanna talk about a personal reaction, Darren, I’m, I’m so excited about what you’re saying, I’m gonna like double underline this.

What we found in our research is that when customer experience goes badly and they tell you about it, if you respond quickly and generously, you can not only recover that from being a, a negative story about you, you can turn it into a positive experience where they will now rave about your brand. And so this mistake turns into like, these guys are the best. And it’s all about the real human response to your problem. And so this is not just a salesy gimmick, like this is a, a, we get real people do a good job of talking to real people, good and bad man. These are huge moments to build your reputation.

Darren Tessitore (16:31):
And it all comes down to being able to effectively communicate, right? You know, you have team members on your, in your group that know how to actually communicate as opposed to being a robot. Copy paste.

Scott Wozniak (16:41):
Yes. And I, I will also add a layer to that to say we talk a lot about is how do you differentiate your communication from everyone else in your industry? So for some folks, we talk about how to be more fancy. Pull another Chick-fil-a example. It’s just one I think everybody knows, if you’ve been to a Chick-fil-A, you might know that when you say thank you, they don’t say you’re welcome, right? They say, it’s my pleasure. By the way, we stole that from Ritz Carlton now just straight up our founder visited Ritz in his later years and was like, oh man, that’s nice and that’s free. We’re gonna do that. It’s elevating the language. It’s getting formal and fancy in a, in a place that typically doesn’t use formal. It’s my pleasure. There’s nothing wrong with your welcome, it’s just not fancy. But I will say some people, instead of being fancy, we say, Hey, maybe what you need to do to differentiate this is to be funny.

So I’m a, I love skiing snow skiing’s one of my favorite activities to do with my family. And if you’ve ever been on ski runs, then you might remember, like, they don’t, they could be very formal, right? They could name them like, you know, downhill run number two, right? No, no, no. They always come up with ridiculous, silly names. I’ll give you the last skiers resort we were at. I remember this vividly. We were coming down this blue run and then off to the side of the mountain, we’re dropping these like super steep black runs, right? When we come across the run was titled The Good. And I like looked at it and I’m like, the good, that’s a weird run name. And I come around the corner and you see the next one and it says the bad. And I’m like, oh, okay.

So I know what’s coming now, right? And sure enough, double black diamond, the ugly is the last little drop off point. Brilliant, right? It’s just funny. Just like, oh yeah, add a little bit of humor. So maybe, and the key though is differentiate. If everyone else in your space is really like uptight and precise and formal, maybe you decide to be funnier. Maybe you’re kind of in a a down market zone. It’s low cost and you know, fast food like Chick-fil-A, people don’t expect you to be formal and fast food. So add a fancy element. But, but real communication. And I would say, and it, it’s something that doesn’t sound like the rest of your industry, that in its own way is a personalization that says, oh no, I’m really having like a real engagement with you. This is not just a kind of a whatever conversation we’re adding our own little sense of personality into it. Hey, if we’re talking human connection, right? Not only do we wanna show up authentically to them, we need to show up authentically as ourselves. And that’s where real connection happens.

Chris Hood (19:06):
You know, on the flip side, in the age of digital, I have kids, they plant their face into the iPads. They don’t communicate. We, I think as a society, our culture is moving more towards, I don’t wanna call it alienation, but we are definitely more hesitant to not communicate as openly with people. I’ll use an example with fast food. Mcdonald’s has gone through a couple of variations of trying to upscale their presence. And I walked into a McDonald’s once and they actually said, go to your seat, we’ll bring the food to you. And they were all very friendly. I felt uncomfortable because my expectations of going into a McDonald’s was one thing and they were doing something completely out of the ordinary different. And I do think that there’s a lot of people, they’re skeptical, they’re hesitant, what are you doing? Why are you talking to me? And I think that is having a huge impact on these human connections and relationships and communication styles that you’re talking about.

Darren Tessitore (20:14):
You know, you’re absolutely right. And I think part of that is you have to keep the communication real. If it’s within the reality of the individual, it’s gonna be received much easier, right? It’s completely out of the reality of anybody to walk into a McDonald’s and expect them to seat you and bring you food, right? I want my bag and I wanna get the hell out of there. What’s real, like what? Keep it within the reality of that person in, like you said, don’t overwhelm them with the communication. Keep it real. You know, maybe your first touche is, is as a simple light, Hey, it was a pleasure working with you. It was a pleasure meeting you today. You know, and then you can get it more and more in communication with that customer. You know, it’s like you, I’ve seen these messages on LinkedIn like, Hey Darren, I’m so glad to be connected with you. Tell me something personal about you so we can become friends. And you’re like, who the hell is this guy? I don’t wanna talk to you. I don’t know who you are. You like, you know, I guarantee that picture of you. Probably not even real.

Scott Wozniak (21:10):
Okay, I love this. I think there’s a lot of insight here and it’s making me think about when we talk about relationship building it, cuz that’s part of what we’re after personalization is really this, this real connection, right? To your example. I’ve gotten the same things, Darren and I, I was thinking through it and I was like, you know what I’d really, what I would respond to though, it’s not that I’m totally closed to meeting new people through LinkedIn. I’ve had a couple of really great relationships that way. What I find is they open up first. If, if we’re gonna, if we’re gonna do an exchange of information, like don’t just gimme a generic, like tell me a little something about yourself and then ask me to meet you there. And I think that’s a human relationship principle. Like, hey, we’re gonna talk, we’re gonna be real.

I’m gonna engage. I’m gonna be open a and by the way, a little bit, right? Like this is we didn’t, we’re not gonna talk about our deepest darkest shames here. Like let, let’s just share where you went to college or, you know, but where are you from? I mean, basic stuff. And then get there and then we can work our way into like, let’s back and forth and back and forth and you build on that. But yeah, if you’re just asking them as a company, if you’re asking them to give you lots of personal information and you’re never sharing anything personal yourself about your life and why, maybe why you started the company or what you’re up to, or it just isn’t, again, it doesn’t have to be like deep dark secrets, but yeah, it can’t be a one-sided street and be a real connection. They’re not gonna respond to that.

Darren Tessitore (22:31):
Well, you know, and, and it goes back down to like what’s real. Like when you talk about something that’s real to you, you’ll notice if someone else talks about something that’s real to you, you’re going to actually like each other more and you’re gonna wanna talk more, right? Like you’re talking about skiing and I’m going, dude, I freaking love skiing. I was just at Snowbird a couple weeks ago, right? They had 850 inches of snow. Like, and if you notice right now between the two of us, we wanna talk more and we’re actually starting to like each other more. But it’s, it’s that concept of like, okay, when you communicate about what’s real to somebody, you’re going to have more liking for each other. The affinity’s gonna come up and then you’re gonna wanna talk more, right? You can take that same concept and put it in your business, put it in how you respond to your reviews, put it in the messages that you send in your emails, put it in the messages that you send on LinkedIn, you know, and then make it more personal. And then now you have an open communication with each other and you want to talk to each other.

Chris Hood (23:28):
What ethical considerations do we have to be worried about?

Darren Tessitore (23:32):
Lots of ethical considerations, especially now in the day, the day of digital privacy. I don’t know if you’ve seen this campaign that Apple’s been going on. They have this huge marketing campaign right now to say that their health privacy, that they’re not gonna be, they have an ad series where the person walks into the doctor’s office and something’s talking to them, telling them all their ailments, and then it’s talking to everybody. And how do you know this? Well, because we’re monitoring you. And then they have a lady holding an iPhone in front of her face that’s like, oh no, we don’t know what you’re doing because Apple won’t let us know. May or may not be true, but, you know, people have a major concern, I think, about their private data being shared. So, you know, I think you have to look at, do you wanna overstep the privacy too much, right?

You know, yeah, I wanna know what you need and want when you need and want it, and I want to be able to communicate to you about it so that I can make you a customer. But at the same time, there’s gonna be a whole layer of people that are like, I don’t want you knowing that at all. Right? So there’s that, there’s that boundary of what do you want them to know, you know, , you know, and what do you want to communicate to them about what you know they’re doing, right? So it has to be like publicly accessible data. Like, okay, you came on my website and you clicked on these four different places. Well, most people don’t want you to know that they’re on your website. And look at how big Duck duck go has grown in the last four years. That’s a sign in itself.

They’re huge now. You know, they went from nothing to an actual something overnight, you know, and the pandemic totally escalated that because people got freaked out that, oh my God, the government knows everything I’m doing right? I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on, you know, my mother’s using Duck deco and she’s like completely far left, right? And you go, well, why is she using duck deco? Because she knows that people are watching what she’s doing and she doesn’t want them to watch her anymore. She wants that level of privacy. Anyway. It’s a, it’s a very delicate topic that you have to evaluate on a case by case basis based on what your products and services offering is and based on who you’re trying to communicate to. You know, that’s my viewpoint on it. It has to be specific. And yes, if you’re selling a predictive maintenance service to a crane operating company all around the world, then there’s a lot of data that they want you to know and have.

So they’re gonna give you full access. But if you’re selling shoes or you’re an urgent care, there’s certain things that you have to be aware of, especially, you know, just to go back to responding to reviews, right? Like we do a lot of responding to reviews for our clients. We, it’s, we have a huge service that we offer and we’ll respond to all their Google reviews. But what a lot of these companies don’t realize is you have to be HIPAA compliant. You can’t just respond as an urgent care and say, thanks Tom. I’m glad you came in and liked the procedures that we did on you. You just violated HIPAA and let the whole world know that they’re a client of yours. They’re a patient, right? And that opens the door to a lawsuit. Are they gonna sue? Probably not. But there’s that small percentage that might,

Chris Hood (26:37):
I teach business courses in college and one of the classes that we teach actually covers privacy online. And the assignment for that particular course is talk about privacy. Do you understand privacy? And what are your opinions about privacy? Pretty much every student responds pretty similarly, which is we understand privacy, we understand the importance of it online, however, they’re also the first to say that they go and publish everything possibly about themselves on social media. There is this sense of a risk and reward. We find that more people are actually willing to share information if they understand what the reward is. I’m gonna give you my credit card information and keep it on file if I know that it’s just gonna be convenient for me to check out. I’m going to share my birthdate if I know that I’m going to get a 10% discount or a free meal out of it every time my birthday comes around. We understand what the risks are, but more and more people are opting into sharing that data as long as they know what they’re getting back from it. And I think that’s still elements of personalization that we’re talking about.

Scott Wozniak (27:55):
I think it comes back to comment you made earlier, Chris, it’s about choice. I mean, some of personalization is by giving me the choice when I wanna reveal and when I don’t wanna reveal. It’s, I don’t think people never want to reveal. I think they want to feel like I’m in control of it. And it’s when I didn’t want you to, and you did it anyway. That’s the sense of violation. And of course to Darren, to your point, there are zones, healthcare, we, we play with healthcare as well. And you’re right, there’s tons of regulations you should follow your regulations of your industry. But even when you are, the deeper fundamental human thing, I think is give them a chance to, like, is it their choice? Are they disclosing at the level they want? Or are you disclosing at the level you want? And so maybe it’s as simple as asking them like, how much do you want to talk about this? How much do you want to share? And, and my experience is over time, relationships build and they might start with low level, but if you do a, a fair job and just small touches here, they might be willing to talk more personally and share more over the time. And so you don’t have to give up on never getting it. But man, I, I would rather err on the side of being a little too less than, a little too much. Cuz once you break that trust, it is really hard to get it back.

Chris Hood (29:06):
Let’s wrap up with some suggestions for our audience. If you were to sit down with our listeners and give them one clear defining tip for personalization, what would it be?

Darren Tessitore (29:20):
My clear defining tip would be to respond to every online review you get with a personal thank you, but not just a thank you, right? Like you said, it’s you know, the way that Chick-fil-A is responding to people when they say thank you, it’s not just a you’re welcome, right? It’s a, it’s different. So if you literally go and look at your touchpoints of where people are reviewing your business and taking the time to give you their review or give you anything good or bad about your company, you deserve to give them that response and spend an equal or a more amount of time than they did responding to what they did for you, right? And personalize that. Make it know as much as you can about that customer before you respond. Find out who they are, find out what they bought, find out what store they went to, right?

Who did they talk to in the store? You know, who was, whatever it may be. You can find out about it and then respond to that with that personal care. And you can also do the same thing. We call it turning a one star review into a five star response. I had a driver at school in Texas last month have someone leave this really scathing negative review about them. And it was really long, three paragraphs bashing them. So my writer responded to the client and said, okay, tell me what happened. And said, well, this guy took a driving test with us and failed because he didn’t pull over for an ambulance. I’m like, well, isn’t that a violation of law? Yeah, it’s a moving violation. Well, doesn’t Texas law require you to fail any driver driving, instruct driving lesson or driving license test if they violate law, yeah, find us the law.

We found the law and we wrote this great response, Steve, we’re so sorry that you didn’t have a good experience with us. We just want you to know that per Texas law, when you’re getting your driver’s license test, if you violate the law, we have to fail you. And here’s the law. And because you didn’t pull over for that ambulance, we had to fail you, right? So now you read this guy’s review, and then you read the response where they’re saying, look, dude, you didn’t move over for an ambulance, right? What do you want us to do? We have to do our job. We can’t lose our license because you didn’t wanna move over for an ambulance. But you can also take that if it’s a good review. The guys wrote a paragraph about how awesome you are. Write a paragraph about how happy you are that they think you’re awesome, right? And another, just another little pro tip on that, put some keywords in your response that relate to your industry. Google likes that and we’ll rank you higher for it, right? So it’s a, it’s a simple little trick that people don’t realize, but those review responses are indexed by the Google algorithm and you can rank higher because you responded with a keyword.

Scott Wozniak (32:01):
I’ll go the other direction and say, okay, there’s the response. How do you respond? Well, one of the things we talk about is helping people set up a system of proactive personalization. Like, don’t wait for the problem and then you fix it. That, that is important. But man, there’s an untapped opportunity if you have instead of being reactive once or twice a year, proactive, reach out, say, Hey, nothing’s wrong. And I’m not pitching you for anything. I just wanna say, how’s this going? What’s happening here? Again, relevant to wherever your space is. This is everything from the happy birthday note that’s legitimately, Hey, we haven’t seen you in six months, but we happy birthday. Love you again, not salesy, not pushy. Just a legitimate, proactive thing. And I find it takes simple things to do that. I mean, a couple of quick examples, just set a reminder, like literally put something on my calendar to just dings and says, Hey you know, reach out to Chris Hood.

It’s been a while since you’ve talked, like, okay, I wanna do that once a year. Or another example I’ve used is Google news alerts. This is free, especially if you’re business to business working, right? You can put any word or phrase you want and anytime it pops up in the news, Google will send you an email and you can be like, oh yeah, hey that company I work with you know, those Thrive guides, those are guys are awesome. We should, we, we ding thrive. Hey, I just saw that you got a, you know, cool new award or something, a new building got put up or whatever. Like, hey, we’re gonna set. Then all I do is I read the article, I copy and paste the link to the article into an email and I would say like, Hey, Darren saw about your new award. Congrats. Send the email. I mean, 20 seconds, but again, nothing’s wrong. You haven’t reached out to me. So small little triggers that allow you to once or twice a year, send something proactive. And, and man, if you can combine that, if you could react like Darren’s talking about, and then maybe once a year throw a, Hey, we’re just checking in. We remember you and I think you’ll blow people’s minds.

Chris Hood (33:57):
Personalization, communication, the human connection, relationship building, we have covered a ton. And so without saying thank you, I’ll say it’s been my pleasure Darren ,

Scott Wozniak (34:11):
It’s been my pleasure.

Chris Hood (34:13):
And of course, Scott

Scott Wozniak (34:15):
Absolutely my pleasure. Thanks guys.

Chris Hood (34:17):
And thanks to all of you who are listening. If you like what you heard, please subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast platform and leave a review. Your feedback helps us improve, grow, and reach a wider audience. If you have any questions, comments, or ideas for the show, you can connect with us throughout social media and online at Chris Hood Show or chris And please share this episode with your friends, family, colleagues, or anyone else looking to grow their business and start their own digital evolution. Until next week, take care and stay connected.
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