'Know your customer' should be every brand's mission statement. We've all had experiences where realising a service provider knew about our needs and tastes was rather impressive - and reassuring.
I remember landing in Hanoi a couple of years ago and being welcomed by my guide with a bunch of flowers. It was my birthday and he knew it! The travel agent he worked for had obviously done their homework and looked for the important details which would make their service special - and give them a competitive edge.
Similarly, every single hotel I went to had already been informed of my son's food allergies and prepared a note - in Vietnamese - listing exactly all the foods he is allergic to so I could show it whenever eating out.
The experience did not just make me and my family feel valued (not to mention give us peace of mind) but it was a result for the travel agent in question too. I have been recommending them to anyone I know who's planning to visit Vietnam.
"personal touch" doesn't just mean knowing the customer's name and being polite. It means knowing what your customer wants at every stage of the purchasing journey. Nearly 80 percent of consumers say brands don't know them well enough and don't tailor experiences to suit them. This is a headache for most big brands, which are all striving to answer the same question: How can you efficiently tailor experiences for millions of customers, all of whom are looking for different chunks of information and have different needs? More and more, consumers are interacting with your brand across different channels—your Web site, numerous social networks, over the telephone, and in store. This means it is getting increasingly difficult to be consistent in your service.