You know how it can be when you meet someone that you instantly click with? You feel comfortable and you want to spend more time with that person. Well, it is the same with companies. Customers who feel an emotional connection to a brand are much more inclined to support that business and many will even pay a premium for their products because of that special connection.
Today’s technology has created expectations in customers in that they demand real-time responses and increasingly personalised experiences. Ironically, it is that same technology that can stand between a brand and its customers. Most customers want the benefits that technology can deliver, but they also want an emotional connection with a brand that is not contingent upon that technology.
Study results from Forrester Research shows that the ultimate customer experience scenario is one in which customers feel as if they are valued. That alone can drive customer loyalty for years. So, how does that translate into the digital space between customers and brands? For customers to feel valued, a company has to remember their names, purchase history and preferences. It’s also critical to streamline each transaction as much as possible because customers do not appreciate entering personal data for each transaction and wasting their time on other issues related to a sale.
Customers want to purchase from companies that tend to their needs and make them feel as if they and their time are valuable. It’s that simple. So, how can a company further humanise customer interactions to keep them coming back again and again?
Empower employees and listen to them.
If you want customers to be happy with your business, one strong tactic is to empower the employees who have interactions with them. When employees have the authority to resolve issues immediately, customers will appreciate the responsiveness and return for more positive experiences.
It’s also a step in the right direction if you listen carefully to what these employees have to say about customer experiences. They’re on the front line and can help you understand customer needs better than any other route of gathering information.
Make data density a priority.
The more information you have on each customer, the better you’ll be able to service that customer and provide the most relevant experiences. If your customer profiles aren’t as robust as they could be, start gathering data points at each interaction on their journey with your company. Not only will you be able to address ad hoc situations, you can also predict customer behaviour which will help you know what to offer them—and when.
Engage in real-time interactions.
Customers expect that you can provide what they need—when they need it—so operating with real-time information will make each interaction more authentic and relevant. Introducing artificial intelligence (AI) into the mix will help you collect even greater knowledge on each customer at each touchpoint so that profiles are robust and excellent tools on the customer journey.
AI also helps with automated responses in real time so that customers receive the support they need and your business will be positively positioned for further interactions. Just a word of caution that you don’t rely on AI too much or expect it to take the place of your other personalised interactions. Many brands are using chatbots for front line customer interactions but savvy companies realise both the drawbacks and the strengths of this technology when it comes to customer conversations.
Delight your customers.
When was the last time you felt delighted due to an interaction with a brand? It may have been awhile. Most companies do their best to service customers but it’s taking the further steps toward delighting them that humanises transactions and shows them how important they are to your company. Small things like birthday cards or gift cards sent as a thank-you can go a long way toward cementing a solid relationship.
Of course, service issues should be resolved as quickly as possible, but the best way to humanise the digital experience is to proactively reach out to customers before a problem to acknowledge their value to your business.
New tech provides opportunities for brands to take advantage of customer data and it can dramatically push growth and revenue. However, great brands don’t lose touch with customers because nothing can replace human interaction for gratifying customer experiences. Keeping interactions real and authentic plays a huge role in customer experience and should take priority in every business that wants loyalty and repeat sales.