‘HUMAN TOUCH’ IN A DIGITAL WORLD
In recent years, human moments of face-to-face contact in business have become lost with increasing dependency on the digital world through technology and digital communication. From sales pitches to helplines, daily business transactions have become cold and machine-driven. Albeit cost-effective for the modern-day business, it is becoming apparent that the dehumanisation of these experiences is in fact causing consumers to seek out and be far more receptive to the ‘human touch’.
The recent, well reported, troubles at Provident Financial demonstrate that human interaction is still a powerful business tool, despite the continued and inevitable march of technological development. The Provi moved from being a business benefiting from close personal relationships to one relying on technology and slumped as a result. Drafting in customer experience managers working on phone apps has meant that the all-important relationship between agent and customer has been lost.
Although digital transformation has become imperative for all businesses, no amount of technology can replace the value of the human touch. Sharing experiences, asking questions and obtaining information via face-to-face interaction is part of our psychological make-up and should be honoured, regardless of digital capabilities. Think back to the traditional way of selling, still championed by the local butcher or baker and alleviated by adding their own personal touch. This kind of approach plays an integral role in creating an instant bond between brand and buyer, building loyalty and keeping their customers coming back for more.
Take Alcatel’s Tech Team for example. At the end of 2015, Alcatel believed it was the right time to engage with their consumers at store level. The aim was to ‘win the hearts and minds of retail’ through the creation and support of a 14-strong field marketing team dedicated to explaining the latest Alcatel products to retail partners and consumers both in-store and at events. With Alcatel obtaining 10.5% of the overall UK market share at the start of this year, UK & Ireland Country Director William Paterson credits the ‘human touch’ of the Alcatel Tech Team, which he believes has been instrumental to the brand’s recent retail success.
Technology has a pivotal role to play now and in the future of consumer experiential experience, but there is still room for authentic and meaningful face-to-face dialogue between brand and buyer. Now is the time to start adding human engagement back into automated routines, before the digital world innovations draw closer to closing the gap between on and offline worlds.