The Secret to a Great Customer Experience Is the Human Touch

Customer support agentThink back to the last time you had a bad experience at a restaurant. Maybe it took a long time to be seated, the server was too slow with drink refills, or the food was served room temperature. No matter how much you liked the restaurant before that visit, that particular experience will probably make you think twice before returning anytime soon, right?

Now consider how much a bad experience — whatever the cause — affects your desire to spend money. A faulty smartphone app or an unpleasant technical support representative can certainly push you away from a company.

A recent study by accounting firm PwC revealed that positive experiences can influence purchasing decisions in almost every industry, but it might surprise you that restaurants aren’t the most affected. Healthcare was the most likely to be influenced by a positive experience at 78 percent, followed by banking (75 percent), restaurants (74 percent), and hotels (74 percent).

As you can see, customer experience is important for retaining customers across all industries. Yet, more than half (54 percent) of those surveyed by PwC said most companies’ customer experience needs improvement.

In fact, another study by consulting firm Capgemini revealed that while 75 percent of executives believe their business focuses on the customer experience, just 30 percent of consumers agreed. That’s a big gap!

Let’s take a look at how you can avoid falling short in your customer experience.

Don’t Mess Up — Even Once

It doesn’t matter how great your products and services are or what kind of loyalty and trust you’ve built up — the unfortunate reality is that 32 percent of customers will walk away from a brand they otherwise love after just one bad experience.

While you wouldn’t lose that many customers in one go, an undiagnosed customer service issue will compound over time, and your business’s long-term reputation will suffer. Can you afford to lose a third of your customers?

Provide the Human Touch

Consider what makes for a good experience. According to the PwC study, speed, convenience, consistency, and friendliness are at the top of most customers’ lists. But the overwhelming factor that connects all of these things is the human touch.

Though most people have embraced technology’s role in their lives, more than 80 percent of US consumers still want more human interactions. They want to talk to humans, or at least feel like the tech they interact with — from mobile apps to routine email newsletters — has humans behind it.

Use Technology Thoughtfully

New technologies are great and should certainly factor into your company’s modernization, but they also need to complement your efforts to be more human. Consider that 63 percent of consumers expect personalization as a standard of good service and don’t want to simply be an account or order number.

Be sure your technology delivers the features customers want while giving them the ability to feel like they’re interacting with an organization that cares about them and understands their situation. Personalized messages and easy-to-find contact numbers can make your tech feel less like a cold robot and more like an extension of your human employees.

If you want to give your customers a great experience, invest in proven technologies that complement your human employees. Be fast, convenient, helpful, and friendly. Why? Per PWC, “People are loyal to brands that consistently provide exceptional value with minimum friction.”

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