The Future of Customer Experience Isn’t All Digital
In my last blog, I explored the concept of a post-digital world — where counting the number of positive reactions from customers is no longer enough. That approach was modern at the time, but digital marketing is taking a new turn.
The truth is that while digital is everything, everything is not digital. And, in fact, it never has been — despite predictions that our love of all things digital would inevitably trap us in socially-isolated cybercaves, with no real human interaction. Needless to say, community — the primal, human urge to commune, share, and connect — is alive and well. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Pinterest, LinkedIn, all have the power to connect to the real world, and they all do.
Human emotions today are more important than ever – marketing teams are hustling to get ahead of customer needs and demands anytime and anywhere. However, the future isn’t all that tech-driven when it comes to driving success through inspirational leadership skills, nor when making customers feel more valued rather than being just another “value” with no unique identity.
So how do we make customers feel valued? Teach empowerment, give empowerment.
On-demand service matters to customers, whether through customer service chat rooms, addressing social media comments, or other engagement channels. That demand is expected to increase as digital consumers continue to evolve their behaviors as they adapt to upcoming digital marketing technologies. The rise of automation will help power data and empower digital marketing teams to keep up with that demand and the demand for personalization.
As I mentioned in my last blog, we’re living in an engagement economy where customers are increasingly seeking more “personalized” high-level experiences. Simultaneously, we’re in the era of the “sharing” economy where people are being more resourceful to one another. In this sense, the sharing economy doesn’t just pertain to ride shares, but also the shareable intel that comes from various personal experiences in the form of Yelp reviews, online product reviews, blog networks, or forums focused on specific verticals.
Even as customers find satisfaction from accelerated services, we don’t see the power of human interactions diffusing because of technology anytime soon.
What’s traditional is timeless, and in this case, it means face-to-face interactions and the emotions involved with it. Remember, behind each data point is a real human with emotions.
Traditional and digital play hand-in-hand when it comes to delivering enhanced customer experiences, and will continue to do so for tech clients. Today, we see marketing strategies leveraging various tactics including digital platforms, phone calls, and in-person events (individual meetings and larger meetups) together to ensure the customer continues to feel valued in the growing digital world.
While new digital marketing tools and the rise of automation will help marketers aggregate audience segments, empathy is the glue that connects the insights together for the best-informed decision. An example of one of the latest intersections of technology and human relationships can be seen in Nordstrom’s recently launched concept store – still supported by technology, but focuses on building real personalized connections.
So, what’s the next step to creating a more emotionally connected marketing approach?
Despite the many social platforms nowadays, customers need to feel like they’ll receive the best service no matter the method or medium they are using to interact with you. How can a limited team address the increasing rapid-response needs of customers through empowerment – a concept and energy without shape or structure?
We need to map out and build a customer experience culture that is reflective of your team’s internal culture. It’s important to foster a strong internal team culture that promotes supporting each other, because this will inspire internal talent to focus more on how they can better understand customers and make better recommendations with the help of actionable data.
In the long-run, this recurring cycle of empowerment for marketers and customers to own opportunities can ultimately convert to higher traffic retention and customer loyalty.
Welcome to the post-digital world, an exhilarating and refreshing return to civility.