Why customer experiences need to be more human

Brands that are digital humanists will get further with customers than those that are overly reliant on technology, argues Paul Cash, CEO of Rooster Punk

Many brands in B2B marketing have been quick to embrace automation thanks to the acceleration of digital innovation over the past decade. But while automation has undoubtedly revolutionised the customer experience, it’s also sacrificed the human touch in favour of scale and efficiency.

In the rush to use technology, some businesses have lost sight of those important human connections – which is worrying considering research conducted by the EIU on behalf of Marketo indicates that 86% of marketers say they’ll own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020.

An authentic human customer experience isn’t about tech, channels, process or call centres; it’s about people. And although I believe technology and the customer experience are almost inseparable – just look at the likes of Airbnb, Uber and Kickstarter – it’s about putting customers at the centre and using technology to help them achieve their goals. Never try to engineer the people out of the process.

Start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. The countless touchpoints a customer has with your business are ever-growing, so take a step back and re-evaluate what they’d like those experiences to look like. It’s crucial that when customers are engaging with your business over the phone, email or on social channels they feel like their needs are being met, that the history of their interactions with your business are recognised, and that empathy is shown at all times.

Don’t be so absorbed by the bottom line that you neglect the end-to-end customer experience. Yes, profit’s important, but if you plan your communications holistically and put human-focused service and experience at the forefront of everything you do, the sales will look after themselves.

When it comes to feeding technology into enhancing and choreographing the customer experience and all its touchpoints, using a CRM system will give everyone within your business a clear view of the communications and decisions customers have gone through. And although digital technology can help empower your team, remember that customers are ultimately human and that you should always be looking to deliver the best customer experience possible.