The digital revolution, often referred to as the third industrial revolution, implies the change from analog mechanical technology to digital technology.
At the heart of the digital revolution is the customer. Digital technologies are radically changing the way we live our day-to-day lives, especially the ways in which we, as customers interact with a brand. This shift has forced brands to adopt a new approach in the experiences they deliver to their customers. Digital transformation is a strategy we are becoming more familiar with as brands invest millions into revamping their digital solutions. This type of transformation is not only customer facing, it stems throughout the entire organisation – from front, middle to back office.
However, as customers interact and transact with technology, are brands at risk of losing the emotive connection with their customers?
Human vs machine cognition
The likes of Amazon Alexa and Google Home virtual assistants are bringing technologies into our homes in a way that we never expected to happen. My 6 year old nephew even thinks of Alexa as his fifth family member. Just imagine how these devices will have evolved by the time he becomes an adult.
Half of Australian businesses are exploring the use of artificial intelligence (AI), with 35% already using it in selected functions and 95% say they expect their use of cognitive and AI technology to increase or increase significantly over the next three years. (source: Deloitte). There are mixed views on how this will impact the human workforce, as selected jobs are being replaced by AI, bots, robots and other cognitive technologies.
Coles recently announced a partnership with British online food retailer, Ocado. The partnership will see Coles build two highly automated fulfilment centres in Australia. If you have not yet seen what these centres are capable of – take a look here. A real game changer for the industry.
With more focus on creating digital experiences which do not include any physical contact, how can brands ensure they don’t lose the emotive connection they have built and established with their customers?
Design and execute experiences with humanity
Customology’s co-founder, Mark James’ number one tip to brands is always to ‘think like a customer’. It’s imperative this type of thinking is brought into every aspect of the customer experience (CX) design. Brands need an ‘outside-in’ lens/perspective. Remember the end users are humans, not consumers, not an audience – real human beings, with real emotions. These emotions can change dramatically over the course of a customer journey. Brands should be considering customer interactions every step of the way, every touchpoint and the emotional impacts their digital solution will have on their customers. “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” Steve Jobs.
The role of empathy
Empathy is one of the most important soft skills a marketer/customer experience professional can have. The ability to put yourself in the customer’s shoes is an art in itself. It will help you identify the pain points and moments of truth which will define your CX design. Renowned entrepreneur, Richard Branson quotes “Great things can be achieved by leading through wisdom, empathy, and integrity—with no other agenda than humanity.” We couldn’t agree more! Always apply empathy when mapping your customer journey or designing any form of customer or loyalty program.
Gain the customers trust
Not all customers are fully ready for a digital only world. Some may need time to understand the benefits and risks, gaining their own confidence in the benefits it brings. What’s important is that the customer trusts the brand. We’ve seen many data breach stories in the media. Some of the world’s most recognised brands have been caught mishandling data – and losing customer trust in the process. Invest in gaining the customers trust, this is the most important aspect of the entire customer experience. Use the data for giving better customer experience and not manipulation of them.
There is no denying we are all on a digital revolution journey – in some way, shape or form. Brands are investing heavily and putting pressure on themselves to be innovative in their digital solutions. It’s important that they don’t lose the human element along the way, it’s a core ingredient of customer loyalty.
Remember to think like a customer, apply empathy and humanity when designing digital solutions
Customers are human – and the majority of the time we like to know that behind all of the shiny technology, there is another human – to help us when something goes wrong.
Customology are specialists in customer lifecycle management. Contact a Customologist today on 07 3902 7700 or [email protected] for more information on how we can help your brand design, build and execute a human-centred digital customer solution.
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