Fashion week special: humans are making a comeback

11 Sep 2018 - Sam Richardson

Digital transformation is big, in fact it’s everywhere. From one man bands to the big consultancies and tech firms, everyone is claiming some piece of the action. However, as with all trends, the fashionistas have already moved onto the next big thing… humanity.

The latest trends emerging from the Customer Experience (CX)  and service design world is that memorable moments and human engagement are once again the real differentiator in the CX ‘battleground’.

Human engagement and feeling special is still one of the top drivers of brand loyalty. Inmoment research shows that 72% of customers choose one brand over another if they feel special. There are still few feelings in life as good as having really connected with another human and as Oprah nicely puts it, it’s still critical that :

“You were seen, you were heard and you matter.”

A simple example of this happened to me when I had an emergency visit to the hospital the other day. No stranger to an emergency room, I knew the form; write off  3 - 4 hours as boring but necessary and don’t get impatient. What I wasn’t prepared for as to come away feeling like I’d had a lovely morning. It was all down to the 5 minutes I’d spent with the doctor who was warm, kind, funny and familiar. I had a great interaction where it really mattered.

Across all sectors, organisations are investing huge resources into digital technology to reduce cost and simplify customer interactions. Although worthy causes, that shouldn’t be the only goal. A recent Forrester report shows that 83% of people claim they need help while navigating digital channels, and the impact of this human interaction is significant - according to an eConsultancy report, 94% of customers see an uplift in conversion when their journey is personalised or involves human support.

Access to humans for education and advice when making purchase decisions is also critical as, according to Inmoment research, more than 60% of customers say they’re influenced by talking to another human being.  Therefore it’s more critical than ever that humans and not technology feature front and centre of our service design.

How do you do this?

Without getting stuck into behavioural science or drawn in by big thinking on digital transformation, here are some basics to get your customer service back on trend again.

  1. Understand as much about your employee and customer experience as possible. The line between the two is paper thin, so any research plan should include extensive engagement of both groups. Then you can design your service around those moments found in your user research that really make them happy.
  2. Know why customers contact you across all channels and decide what should be handled in person - this is normally 20 - 30% of all contact.
  3. Take your time over service design. Look at the whole picture. Pragmatically, you may only be able to deliver one channel or part of your design at once, but you should still have the end design in mind.
  4. Design in flexibility and change to suit customer expectations. Who knew a few years ago that Adidas would be selling out of their latest trainers on Snapchat? According to leading AI scientists, the current rate of change is the slowest it will ever be so we probably need to buckle up!
  5. Knowledge management is so important for good interactions. It is critical for self service and digital assisted service to work, but also for:
    1. making your advisors life easier by giving them clear and simple answers,
    2. which in turn frees them up to let them do their job and create the all important connection,
    3. cutting down on repeat contacts and frustrating experiences by getting the answer right first time.
  6. Content is king. At its best it should be funny, useful, beautiful and inspiring It aligns customers to your brand, builds loyalty and makes employees and customers alike feel part of something. According to Creative Review, 92% of people say they are influenced in the purchase journey by high quality visual engagement - we like pretty things.
  7. Although we like shiny new things, don’t forget your existing customers and employees! Working hard to keep them engaged and part of your story is worth it. It costs at least 5 X as much to attract new customers as to keep your existing ones.
  8. Build things that people really want to use. Investing in new digital channels is fine, but unless the interactions you create work and add value or reward, customers will at best revert to calling or at worst go somewhere else.
  9. Make it personal. This isn’t always about clever data. Wishing a customer a happy birthday, congratulating them on their important achievement or life moment, or merely commenting on something they’ve posted and showing appreciation is a simple way to show that someone is seen, heard and matters. And it’ll make their day.

So if you want to really want to stand out from the crowd and be up with the latest trends, keep it human this season.

To find out how Orange Bus can improve your customer experience (CX) strategy, fill in the form below to get in touch.

Sources:
www.inmoment.com/resources/2018-cx-trends-report/

www.forrester.com/report/Digital+CX+Trends+2018/-/E-RES142024
https://econsultancy.com/the-future-of-customer-experience-trends-and-challenges-in-2018/

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