Impersonally Yours

Personalization was going to change everything: How products and services are sold, how we use the Web, and how companies relate with customers. So why is so much of the Web — and business — still so darn impersonal?

Gerry McGovern suggests that businesses trying to personalize their Web sites and services often do so at the expense of other elements of the customer experience. Like quality writing. Easy navigation. Good search tools.

In fact, a recent research report issued by Jupiter indicates that the very fruit expected to ripen with personalization isn’t low hanging; it’s rotten.

14% of consumers say that personalized offers or recommendations on shopping Web sites lead them to buy more often from online stores, and just 8% say that personalization increases their repeat visits to content, news or entertainment Web sites.

What do you think? Do you use personalization services? Does your business offer them? What does it do for the customer experience — and the business?