How to Retain the Human Element in a Digital Customer Experience
Everyone is online these days. It’s a given that this is how we now live and interact. We would find it extremely difficult to guide our lives without the internet.
But with this trend of interacting on a digital plane, it’s sometimes easy to lose track of the human side of our interactions. It’s only too easy to treat online experiences as mere “exchanges” instead of unique stepping stones for developing and understanding relationships.
But with such an increase in digital dealings, you should always try to keep the human element intact. It’s what makes your brand unique, and will help you stand out amidst the crowd.
To help you achieve just that, we’ve compiled four strategies that will keep the human element of your brand at the forefront.
Implementing these practices will result in happier customers, a better online brand, and authentic relationships to build for your future.
Strategy #1: Meet Your Customers Where They Are
If you want to connect with people, you need to meet them where they are. In the context of internet, this means that you will have to consider the multichannel shopping approach.
Multichannel selling (or marketing) is when you promote and sell your items across a wide variety of locations. This could be marketplaces, social media, online communities, and of course your website. This approach shows your customer that you’re listening to their needs. It also displays a willingness to carry out sacrifices, for the convenience of your customers.
The results of this approach are certainly very telling of its vitality and success. Brands that successfully sell across multiple channels see drastically more revenue than their competition.
This is largely because each channel lets you tell your story a little differently based on the audience reading it. This allows you to build consistency and commitment by treating each visitor as a unique person. So rather than treating everyone the same, you can build a strategy that lets you address the intent of your customer based on where they’re shopping.
A great way to fully accomplish this is to create highly personalized, custom content1 that helps cement user-intent based on where they came from. Or in other words, you need to be selling via multiple channels, and each of those channels needs to have content that speaks to the user’s ultimate intention. So a potential customer on a marketplace will be treated differently from someone reading your blog posts. By personalizing the content to the platform, you position yourself to both sell better and appear more “human.”
Another major way to provide a more human experience is to focus on providing self-serve options to your customers. This makes them trust that you’re invested in their deepest issues and goes a long way in making your brand more user-friendly.
In short, providing a customized and uniform brand across multiple channels is incredibly challenging, but will go a long way in keeping a humanized presence. It’s worth the effort if you want people to view you as an approachable brand. With such a customer-centric approach, it will be hard to mislabel your brand as being cold and lifeless; in fact, you’ll achieve the opposite impact!
Strategy #2: Empower Your Employees to Make Connections
If your employees don’t have the ability to solve problems, then your brand isn’t going to feel very human. It’s going to feel like a cold and impersonal presence on the other side of a computer screen. Studies have shown2 that enabling your employees to make decisions and connect with customers can help with long-term growth. In some cases, customer satisfaction increased by as much as 89%.
When you’re creating a customer experience for a digital audience, you have to remember that your customer support approach will be different. You need to cater your approach so that your digital presence lets customers interact with your employees the way they want to. And one of the most impactful ways to do that is to simply empower your employees to make decisions.
If you want evidence of how effective this method can be, look no further than Hamleys, the toy brand. When they tackled their own customer service needs, one of their focal points was making it possible for all of their employees to solve customer issues. They found, that the improved transparency did wonders for both employee morale and their bottom line. Empowering their employees made a huge difference in the humanity of their brand, and ultimately helped them grow past challenges.
Strategy #3: Share Your Customer Insights with All Employees
There’s a good chance that every interaction between a customer and your digital presence doesn’t entirely flow through one person or touchpoint. As we’ve seen, people find you and interact with you across a wide variety of channels. This means that on any given day, dozens of different employees are interacting with your audience and creating impressions that affect your bottom line.
But what happens if your employees don’t have all the information they need about the customer they’re dealing with?
For instance, if it’s the third or fourth time a customer is contacting you about an issue, it would be frustrating for them to start from square one with a new employee. Having to re-explain their problem will only make them more upset, and could cause them to abandon you.
But by sharing customer insights wherever relevant across your organization, your customers won’t have to waste time with re-explaining their problems. Whoever is trying to help them can just pick up where they left off.
This type of customer insight allows you to maintain a human touch while making strategic changes and improving on an ongoing basis. It also lets you provide immediate solutions no matter what the issue is. The key point to remember in all of this is to create a highly customized and pleasant customer journey that will make people choose you over every other competitor offering.
You must implement a solid process3 that allows you to achieve a unique and warm customer insight sharing method. This should include:
– Collecting relevant data about your customer.
– Analyzing said data to find trends or common issues.
– Interpret your findings in a way that lets you propose solutions.
– Visualize your data to help unveil critical insights.
– Share this information internally to benefit from it.
– Decide how to eliminate ongoing issues and prevent them in the future.
When you equip your brand with these insights, you’ll be able to maintain a humanized digital presence and grow your brand in the years to come.
Strategy #4: Train Bots to Sound More Human
Chatbots and AI are taking over the digital space. Studies have shown that artificial intelligence is already being used around the world to help improve productivity and profitability. In some instances, AI is already creating twice as much value as a human-reliant workforce. So with that kind of productivity on the horizon, it’s going to be a challenge to keep your brand sounding human and approachable.
What can you do?
To answer that, you need to look no further than the evolving chatbot industry. Brands have already been taking great strides to use AI-type technology to make it easier for customers to get in touch. And they’ve been quite successful.
One study reported that 73% customers4 think that live chat is a satisfying way to contact a business. And many of those brands want, or already use chatbots5 in this effort. While that doesn’t sound very “human,” the use of chatbots has skyrocketed in recent years. And this trend is likely to continue.
It’s one of the easiest and most powerful ways to implement AI, and you can do it in a way that customers will not always realize they’re talking to a bot. But therein lies the challenge. If you do decide to use these chatbots with your live chat, you’ll need to make an effort to still sound human. You still need to make your customer feel heard and appreciated, even if you’re spending less time in contact with them. At the very least, try to be upfront if you’re using a chatbot. Your customers will appreciate both the added efficiency and your efforts to solve their problems.
We live in a digital world, but it’s still a world full of humans. That means you need to have strategies in place that make your digital brand look and feel as human as possible. Thankfully, there are some very effective ways to do just that.
Start by finding out where your customers want to engage with you. That means adopting a multi-channel sales approach, providing personalized content, and offering self-service when you can.
It’s also a good idea to spend some time and effort in empowering your employees to make decisions during customer interactions. Then, take the insights that you learn from your customers and share them throughout your organization.
If you use automation or AI, take steps to ensure that your finished product is polished and as “human” as possible. While no bot is perfect, you can always try to improve your approach. With these strategies in place, you’ll be able to maintain the human element of your brand and provide a top-tier digital customer experience.
1 – https://getcodeless.com/saas-content-marketing/
2 – https://focus.kornferry.com/employee-engagement/employee-recognition-the-secret-ingredient-to-high-employee-engagement-asean/
3 – https://mycustomerlens.com/rethinking-customer-insight-participation-growth/
4 – https://www.invespcro.com/blog/live-chat-customer-support/
5 – https://www.businessinsider.com/80-of-businesses-want-chatbots-by-2020-2016-12