Even in a perfect digital world, 73% want access to real people


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We are living in a digital world. Several years ago, Peter Hinssen wrote that ‘digital is the new normal’. More than ever this is now a reality. Still, it would be premature to write off everything situated in the ‘human’ and offline realm just because the digital society has become a reality. Quite the contrary!

I pooled my resources with our data collection partner SSI and translation agency No Problem! to determine how modern consumers experience the relationship between digital and personal. The study was conducted in thirteen countries worldwide. Consumers all over the world share that same basic concern: ‘yes, we’d like to build a great digital relationship but interpersonal, human contact is still extremely important’.

Click below if you’d like to look at the study in detail.

Only a handful of companies can do without

As always, there are exceptions to the general rule. You’d be right in claiming that companies like Amazon.com and Booking.com are hugely successful despite a minimum of human interventions. Google is another case in point but ask yourself this question: ‘How many companies can do today what these leading companies are doing?’. The answer lies in their exceptional DNA. Also, they have an excellent track record when it comes to customer interaction so it’s easy to see why they are exceptions. A company like Coolblue has made a very conscious choice to cultivate human contact. When an online player opens offline stores and records videos of employees recommending the company’s services, this is a well-considered and very intelligent strategy.

A customer still focuses on the basics

Customers really aren’t all that demanding. For instance, 78% think it is very important to list a telephone number on a website homepage. It sounds simple but you’d be surprised at how many homepages don’t include one. Listing that number doesn’t mean customers will start calling every two minutes; it just feels comforting to at least have that option.

The personal touch is key

Never underestimate the impact of REAL people. Human contact is crucial in most customer relationships, even in our digital world. 73% like to have the option of talking to a flesh-and-blood person from time to time even when the digital channels are working perfectly. The simple fact that this possibility exists creates a peace of mind that many people still value.

The personal touch is in the little things. One in two consumers like it when a company addresses them by name. Get to know your customers and personalize the customer experience. 54% like to be recognized across the various channels.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Steven Van Belleghem
Steven Van Belleghem is inspirator at B-Conversational. He is an inspirator, a coach and gives strategic advice to help companies better understand the world of conversations, social media and digital marketing. In 2010, he published his first book The Conversation Manager, which became a management literature bestseller and was awarded with the Marketing Literature Prize. In 2012, The Conversation Company was published. Steven is also part time Marketing Professor at the Vlerick Management School. He is a former managing partner of the innovative research agency InSites Consulting.


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