We’re living and working in a digitally-immersed world. No question. Digital control sales, marketing, support and every other customer engagement. Digital is a business imperative and customers have become acclimated to engaging in that way. There are so many efficiencies and interaction improvements that digital is directly responsible for, but human connections ultimately seal the deals.
Automation like Artificial Intelligence technologies can facilitate quicker response times, improve customer engagement and improve employee productivity. Automation can vary across the customer lifecycle but introducing human interaction can be memorable as well as productive.
Understand the entire customer journey
Looking at disparate automated points in the customer lifecycle leaves out important human touchpoints, resulting in the possibility of disappointing customer engagement. And if a company looks only at a few points in the customer lifecycle such as sales or marketing, the entire customer experience may not be viewed holistically, leading to unfortunate customer experiences and low satisfaction.
Customers are more inclined to purchase or recommend a brand if the complete experience is positive, as opposed to just a few points along the way. They want seamless experiences built into the customer journey that include fast responses via the channels they choose—phone, website, chat, social media, text, etc.
Providing answers to customer questions via automated solutions can create exceptional customer experiences and be the competitive differentiator that many companies need.
The human touch at the heart of it all
Obviously, businesses need digital expertise but understanding empathy and customer emotion is at the heart of a successful customer experience initiative. So, how can brands introduce empathy while they’re trying to make a sale?
Understanding that there are some situations that are more emotionally charged is the beginning of appropriate human responses. For example, when a customer is frustrated or angry, the need for human engagement is critical. People want to know that their issues are validated and that they are understood before continuing on with any further interactions. These are the times for human engagement when automated tools will only serve to escalate the strained situation.
Make the customer experience feel human
Understanding the customer journey mapping is the best place to start in ensuring the appropriate human intervention and engagement. Some other critical steps to take include the following:
- Personalization always adds a human touch even if it’s automated. Customers will always appreciate interactions based on what a company understands about them in terms of demographics, preferences, history, etc. Having relevant information about customers will make them feel important and that is invaluable for long-term customer loyalty.
- Creating consistent brand experiences is an extension of authentic personalization initiatives. Content should be consistent across all channels with the use of automation when necessary to anticipate customer needs and continually improve experiences.
- Using front-end analytics can help determine the best channels for resolution based on problem complexity, support and the customer lifetime value.
As digital-first disruptors reshape the business landscape, customer demands for more digital services and operational expertise are posing a challenge to incumbent players across all sectors. The response calls for a new operating model that puts the customer’s needs and wants at the center of a digital transformation strategy, enabled by redesigned customer journeys and agile delivery of insights and services.
Automation like Artificial Intelligence is taking up more and more of the digital experience for customer engagement. Experiences identified as ideal, however, succeed because the technology is combined with more traditional, human interaction for seamless customer journeys. Regardless, of the technology, balancing empathy and self-service will always be a winning combination.