Is your customer service just not working out the way you think it should be? Are your clients not responding to your outreach the way you thought they would? Sometimes, the service we give our clients isn’t as effective as we’d prefer, not because of random coincidence, but because our foundation is weak. Adrian Swinscoe reflects on some service observations in, “Five customer experience insights from T-Mobile, Patagonia, Mozilla, WeTransfer and Work & Co.”

First, we need to keep in mind that our customers are individuals. They may start off as a random name and number on a spreadsheet of prospective clients, but once they’re our clients, it’s personal. The service we give them needs to be as unique as each of them is. That means doing your research. What’s their company’s mission? What are their values? What are their needs? Their goals? These are all things you should know before you even attempt to approach them.

This focus on individuality should include the media format you use to interact with each account. You can’t just assume that your younger clients prefer digital outreach while your older ones love nothing more than phone conversations. There are sociable millennials and introverted Baby Boomers. Never group your clients by age or by using other broad assumptions about preferences. Be prepared to suit their individual needs.

What if you aren’t sure which customer service tactics are working/what you should be building off of? The answer is shockingly simple: ask your clients. They don’t want to wait while you stumble around in the dark, hoping that you’ll find the proper customer service method for them. Save time and effort and just ask them what’s working. What can you do better? What should you change? More often than not, big data can’t hold a candle to a few individualized questions.

Finally, base your service on relevance. Don’t waste your clients’ time by sending out email bursts that probably won’t apply to half of them. Use that preliminary research you conducted to cater your email content to each client. That way, when your clients see emails from you, the outreach won’t be considered spam.