As digitalization accelerates in becoming an integral part of our lives, are companies losing the human touch?
Today, when consumers consider a purchase, choose a new service provider, or a brand, they will turn to the internet, or social media to check out the reviews, and to seek out the evaluations of other customers’ experiences. If reviews are rated as positive and favorable, the probability of attracting more prospective customers is very high.
A recent study on financial institutions showed that while they continue to modernize customer experience systems and invest in technologies, ironically, they acutely fall short of customer expectations. Meanwhile, customers’ expectations of interactive connectedness will continue to rise in tandem with increased digital innovations.
The challenge is how can companies continue to deliver an uncompromised quality of customer experience while negotiating the ever-changing digital landscape?
Embedding the “Human” Element
The primary focus is on building long-term authentic relationships and partnerships with your customers. It is creating a people-focused thrust where all interactions are personalized. In pivoting towards meeting the needs and goals of customers, companies will then strengthen trust and partnerships with them.
1. Balancing Technology and Human Connection
In the service industry, the ideal customer experience is the result of intentional and purposeful interactions, focusing on the outcome, supported by its brand promise and service values. This means that the organization will need to balance user-centric technology and personalized human connections. For this to happen successfully, the leadership will need to recognize and endorse this significant effort; and requires alignment across different functions.
2. Delivering Relevant Experiences
This is possible when there are enough relevant and accurate data about individual customers for targeted engagement. The more comprehensive the data, the more meaningful and richer is the relationship with each customer. The more ‘knowing’ about your customers, the more effective, relevant and “human” the interactions.
3. Be AI-Driven
Research by Gartner reveals that virtual customer assistants like chatbots will become the future of service. In fact, Gartner had already predicted that by 2020, the average person would have more interactions with bots than even their own spouse. But what really enriches the service experience is having good AI.
Incorporating AI into the customer experience process will allow for deeper knowledge of each individual through continuous feedback, and automated continuous learning. With each feedback, valuable information about customers’ needs, behaviors and even preferences can be gathered. Consequently, your communication channels and messaging can be contextualized and matched according to each customer’s needs. As such, further closing the relationship gaps between your customers and your brand; leading to quicker decision-making.
Optimizing Digital and Human Elements
A study done by Gallup on banking services suggested that positive online experiences are imperative for high customer engagement, which seems to translate to more customer dollars. It’s found that bank customers who are “very satisfied” with all the channels they use rate seven percent points higher in their total share of bank deposits. They are also nine times more likely to use their primary bank for additional financial services in the future.
At the heart of humanizing digital customer experience is the ability to connect seamlessly with your customers on their multi-device, and multi-channel journey in the digital and physical spaces. The nimble capability of integrating accurate and relevant customer data, that is reflected in quality service provision, highly enhances customer experience and trust.
As companies continue to upgrade efforts in improving digital customer experiences, the human element needs to be carefully considered and incorporated. Regardless of the sophistication of digital interfaces, ultimately human connection is paramount to the success of any company and products.
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