In the age of digital communication, automation and AI, the human touch is lost. The customer experience is being left to standardized email responses, scripted virtual assistance, and programmed chat bots. Talking to a ‘real person’ has become a novelty and the personal touch is fliting. Businesses think systemizing every part of the customer experience saves time and ultimately money. What they don’t realize is that it isn’t what the customer wants.
Consider these surprising statistics summarized by SmartHQ in a recent post. (All Sources provided on the link)
• 80% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand who provides personalized experiences.
• On average, 71% of consumers feel frustrated when their shopping experience is impersonal.
• 63% of consumers stop purchasing products and services from companies who provide poorly executed personalization.
• Personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50%, lift revenues by 5–15%, and increase marketing spend efficiency by 10–30%.
Ensuring your business improves the customer experience though relevant and effective personalization is fundamental to growing. Customers have more options than ever before; and you want to stay in the consideration set. You might think making changes to your marketing or business operations are too costly, but ask yourself if the lifetime value of a customer who feels cared for and catered to is worth the initial expense.
“A better customer experience generates loyal customers. Loyal customers recommend your brand to colleagues, friends, and family, which amounts to free advertising. In fact, 73% of consumers claim the customer experience is the biggest deciding factor in their purchase decisions and brand loyalties—ahead of product quality and price” (Swan, 2020).
Adding a human touch at every stage of the customer’s journey requires an objective evaluation of the current situation. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Don’t make excuses for the lack of humanity. Use data to make changes necessary and ensure that you invest in a platform or CRM to help you manage the customer’s data. Ultimately everything you do has to be driven by customer’s data. Data isn’t human or personal but the clues and insight you get from purchasing behavior for instance can help you transform process, policies, and actions your organization adapts.
Gathering additional customer data may include surveys, online forms, and polls. Pay attention to the feedback. On social media, don’t lecture, engage. Answer posts, asks probing questions, and get a conversation going. You would be surprised how powerful this unfiltered feedback can be. Southwest Airlines used social media to drive many changes to the customer experience by simply listening to customers comment on Twitter.
Other ways to humanize your brand includes;
• Add photos of real people to your marketing.
• Use your employees as advocates for your business.
• Show your playful side as well as your business side online.
• Utilize user content.
• Write personal notes. Send handwritten correspondence whenever possible.
• Create online communities to discuss issues and share ideas.
• Send welcome or thank you gifts to loyal or new customers.
• Get a professional social media team.
• Don’t be afraid to talk about setbacks or failures.
• Rewrite emails to be more conversation less sanitized.
• Insert names and customer specific information in your marketing outreach.
• Stay relevant and authentic.
The culture of humanizing and personalizing your business must extend to all levels of your organization. Engaging staff to transform the journey of your customer can be insightful and illuminating. Share ideas openly and reward risk taking to foster a sense of connection and real engagement within your organization.
Getting the heart of any organization pumping starts with a willingness to focus on the actual needs and wants of your customers. Once you have the pulse on your client and customer’s needs you can adapt to meet those needs more effectively and personally.