It’s indisputable: technology is advancing every day to help develop business operations to be more cost effective and efficient. Nearly all companies are impacted by digital transformation, particularly when looking to drive efficiencies in client-facing opperations, but one thing that most de-prioritise, however, is the importance of maintaining and developing trust-based human relationships in this digital world.
When Human Connection is Required
Sometimes, the processes we tell our employees to follow are difficult, but they are required to follow them. Now providers are increasingly asking customers to directly complete those processes, except now they’re not guided through by an employee and they’re not required to follow them – they can go to your competition. It’s fair to say that today’s customer is driven not only by traditional decision-making factors – such as quality, reputation, brand – but also by convenience and experience. Simplicity is a defining source of competitive advantage which can determine whether you win a customer or not.
That’s because when a processes become difficult & ambiguous, the technology doesn’t work as intended, or when a customer just needs a bit of guidance or reassurance, many digital tools just aren’t able to handle this. The ability for a company to react in these situations will make the difference between a customer continuing the process or abandoning it. When you consider that 97.5% of digital loan applications are abandoned, it’s clear that customers will simply walk away from difficult digital experience.
Combining Digital Services with the Human Touch
A good example of this is when doing my self-assessment for taxes this year, I’m happy to be able to “self-serve” this process so I can get it done when it suits me. However, while near the end of the process, I wasn’t 100% sure on something, so needed assistance from an accountant or at least someone with similar experience. My choices were either to book a consultation with a local professional, in person, which takes time and is quite costly; or I could schedule a video meeting with a freelance accountant for a time that suits me for a MUCH lower cost. It’s a no-brainer for me; so being the lazy, tech-focused guy that I am, went for the path of least resistance. This is a great example of how technology is used to support the human channel of customer service in a way that benefits the customer in the least costly way possible.
Going through this entire scenario made me realise that I was the one that had to figure out the best solution for my problem myself, but when thinking about it, companies hardly ever provide that perfect hybrid in order to maximise their customer service. So, why aren’t they?
Digital Services – Good or Bad?
The rise of technology, self-service options, and automation has reduced costs for so many businesses in many different aspects. This results in companies neglecting how they connect with their customers, which poses the risk of losing consumer trust. Businesses want to cut costs where they can in order to invest resources elsewhere, which makes sense, but it can be a problem when their customers are the ones suffering for it.
This can be so damaging to a brand, especially one that is driven by their customers such as retailers. Nowadays, making human connection between brand and customer ever-increasingly difficult, so businesses that go the extra mile to implement hybrid solutions to their customer service or business operations stand out as being innovative. Who wouldn’t want that for their brand?
Balance the Scales for Business-Smart Outcomes
Digital channels and services will only get better with developing technologies, but neglecting the human touch of business activities comes with caveats for brand reputation. The best solution is to combine the two, using digital to support human interaction, and vice versa, in order to create a hybrid solution that benefits both business and consumer. This will create a place where customers can quickly seek the help they need when they want it, but also have the option of easy access to humanised support.
SuiteBox is a perfect solution for customer service, especially within the advice industry. Save time and cut costs for both your business and your consumers by enabling the human touch into online meetings.
We would love to hear your thoughts on perfect demonstrations of hybrid solutions within your industry. Let us know in the comments below what your experience is with digitalisation and whether you feel human support is lacking in the modern era.