Recommenders have been used for years to help personalize the customer experience by offering things that are new or relevant. Yet so many companies today don’t use them for myriad reasons, whether they’re not aware of their capabilities, or because they think they’re too costly and complicated to implement.

The concept of introducing recommenders can seem daunting at first, but your willingness to learn more about who your customers are, what they do and when they do it, brings endless possibilities to your business.

As for the implementation side of things, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist, you don’t even need to be data scientist! With the right tools you can start running recommenders that are tailored to your business needs within hours.

Know your audience

Before you decide on the right recommender, it’s important to understand your current relationship with your audience, as this will drive how you engage through recommendations.

Consider which of these best describes your audience:

1. Consumers

A consumer is typically someone who is driven by brand-based promise. There is very little relationship or engagement between the person who consumes the product or service and the person who designs, manufactures, ships it etc.  Because the relationship is entirely remote, engagement is mostly driven by sales.

3. Clients

A client is someone you have a deeper relationship with. You know more information about them as the only way you can be of service to them is to ask them for more information. These fall more under professional services, where the engagement is more conversational.

2. Customers

A customer is someone you have a bit more information about. You might know their name, address, and some of their preferences but there’s been no effort to converse and know more about them, or what their challenges are. You get whatever information you need from them that is cost effective for you, but anything after that is considered too much of a financial investment.

Build the right recommender

Once you understand this relationship you can decide on the recommenders that will bring most value. If your business is purely consumer and sales based, think of the opportunities a recommender that moves them from consumers to customers brings. If you could track what time of the day and under what conditions people normally buy together, what their basket looks like and all the other data points, how much more value that can bring to your relationship just by engaging more with them.

If you have a consumer relationship and you can turn it into a client relationship, that can be quite transformative. Now you can provide a recommendation, ask one or two questions at a time, and let their responses set the context for the next recommender or the next experiment you run. This allows you to truly get to know each individual within your community. It means that your engagement now becomes far more important because it’s beyond transactional. It’s far more engaging and bidirectional and it’s basically a conversation.

You’re now in a position where you continuously learn about their preferences, about the things that they are interested in and feed off that, to make sure that you make the correct recommendation. Or indeed, the incorrect recommendation which is just as important to determine what the person really does and doesn’t want.

Dare to experiment

Recommenders allow you to test all sorts of engagements, offers and messages with your customers. How they react and respond will determine the best engagement or offer based on key factors such as time, location, and their personality type.

Multiple recommenders can also be chained together to dynamically test various combinations based on feedback from the customer. If you’re unsure of the best approach to take, simply set the criteria for your dynamic experiment and the recommender will figure out the most optimal approach to solve that problem. It’s important to define your ultimate business goal as the recommender configuration for maximum engagement to drive customer satisfaction and long-time value, will be different to the configuration if sales are your definitive measure.

Our platform gives you the flexibility and out of the box capability to set up these different approaches. So, your focus is not on the technology, resources, or even the best recommender to pick.  Your focus is solely to pick the experiment and the purpose of what you want to measure from a business value point of view. The recommender results will give you real-time insights on what the best solution is based on your customers actions and responses.