The Customer Experience Needs Human Touch

By Madison Taylor
January 27, 2022
black and white hands in a "prayer" placement in front of a black image

Modern technology makes it possible for businesses to connect with customers on the move and across multiple devices. The seamlessness of customer engagement makes it easy for brands to maintain strong relationships with their best buyers. Yet, technology merely accounts for a fraction of the overall customer experience.

One case in point is that 86 percent of customers prefer humans to chatbots. Despite the most advanced algorithms that resolve customer queries, based on complex tech such as machine learning and natural processing language (NLP), customers still opt for the assistance of a service operator—a human touch.

Understanding this problem requires a deeper look at the phenomenon known as an experience disconnect. Customers who face a disconnect with a brand fail to understand the conveyed message—regardless of the best business intentions and revolutionary ideas.

With an experience disconnect, brands will lack the engagement necessary to convert their best leads and retain top customers. In the long term, disengaged customers could lead to high churn rates as buyers seek competitors that deliver a more relatable experience.

Disconnected Customer Experiences

At its core, an experienced disconnect involves misaligned expectations between brands and customers. Therefore, marketers and sales executives must establish a transparent and common understanding from the first point of customer contact. Doing so avoids the wastage of resources (i.e., time and capital) while avoiding the implications of dissatisfied customers.

A customer’s perspective is a priority for any business. These opinions shift according to multiple factors such as the economy, stage of the buyer journey, global events (i.e., the pandemic) and market movements. Businesses need to adjust brand expectations according to the cadence of customer sentiments to achieve the best engagement.

Additionally, there is the question of personalization. While personalized customer experiences have become an advantageous business process, companies need to re-assess the type and extent of personalization that customers seek versus the actual product/service. Marketers need to weigh and align what they perceive as a personalized priority compared to customer preferences.

Prioritize the Right Content

Modern brands employ various tools and channels in their customer outreach programs. Yet, each demographic reacts differently across content types. Rather than implementing a costly, all-encompassing strategy, businesses should identify the most effective content types and prioritize campaigns and budgets accordingly.

Digital marketing provides insightful KPIs that gauge the effectiveness of a specific content approach. These KPIs may include click-through rates (CTRs), lead conversions and visitor return rates. The human touch that drives successful customer experiences involves understanding brand content that promotes interaction, follow-ups and purchases.

While quality user experience (UX) is vital in driving customer satisfaction, content relevance may have similar or greater significance. Therefore, marketers should prioritize the most suitable content assets to secure a positive connection. For instance, marketers may replace long-form whitepapers with personalized and highly visual TV streaming ads.

Replace Selling With Education

The most successful brands invite customers to a unique experience through a combination of storytelling and education. Selling a product or service without an engaging backstory or inadequate information could result in an experience disconnect. Explicitly sales-y methods may even push customers toward less intrusive brands.

Living in the modern digital age through industry 4.0 makes data and information highly accessible to consumers. Therefore, brands should always research and conduct fact-checks before announcing a brand offering.

Customers may seek reliable information from a brand before deciding on a purchase. As such, businesses should position themselves as trusted leaders or authorities in their areas of expertise. For example, the creative instructional blogs shared by a fabric company may eventually influence readers/visitors to advance through the sales funnel.

The FlyWheel Model—Driving Lasting Customer Experiences

A flywheel model of marketing provides a more dynamic alternative to traditional funnels. As the term suggests, a flywheel approach keeps customers engaged (i.e., maintaining the momentum similar to a spinning flywheel) by recognizing and working with their needs and priorities.

In contrast, a sales funnel places the pressure of customer engagement on the brand. Ultimately, the process creates a one-sided system with misaligned priorities that form the experience disconnect.

The human touch needs to co-exist with technological innovations to pave the path toward the best customer experience. Rather than considering digital tech solutions as a replacement for traditional person-to-person services, brands should explore the most efficient synergies between the two.

An empathetic customer service model combined with the speed and convenience of AI provides the ultimate CX strategy. The hybrid model provides customers with versatility according to their specific needs.

For example, automated self-checkout services give consumers more speed and control over their purchases. However, businesses may require a live agent’s human touch when contextualizing customer queries. Striking a balance is critical in preventing an experience disconnect and building brand loyalty through the most robust customer relationships.