ChannelLife New Zealand logo
Industry insider news for New Zealand's technology resellers
Story image

Digital customer experience is nothing without a human touch

By Contributor
Mon 22 Oct 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Article by Verizon A/NZ enterprise solutions managing director Robert Le Busque.

It’s hard to ignore the seemingly endless barrage of emerging digital technology offerings marketed to businesses as the latest and greatest in delivering better customer experiences. Technologies such as cloud computing, automation and artificial intelligence have allowed businesses to know more about their customers than ever before.

To illustrate how much the customer experience is changing or will change, research from Gartner predicts that AI bots will power 85% of all customer service interactions by the year 2020. These technologies promise a better experience by offering multiple entry channels and better predictions about the best actions, but they regularly overlook the most important part of that experience: the customer.

There is tremendous value in bringing tools and technology to simplify customer interactions with your brand, but businesses cannot neglect the fact that on the other side of each transaction is a human being. And for some interactions, the most effective way to help a human being is with another.

Digital tools will change the way you provide customer experience, but it is just as important to ensure you carefully balance automated touchpoints with the human touch. Technology should not totally replace human interaction, it should be used in conjunction with personal interaction to enhance brand loyalty.

A 2018 Consumer Intelligence Series report from PwC found more than 80% of Australians surveyed want more human interaction in the future, not less. The same report found that 65% of Australians believe companies have lost touch with the human element of customer service, relying too heavily on technology.

The key thing to keep in mind when it comes to customer experience is that transactions are rarely transactional.

Customers develop an emotional connection, no matter how small, to almost every product, company and brand they interact with. People invest an incredible amount of time and effort into researching, shopping and buying things they believe will solve a problem, make them happy, show their love or increase their status.

When they’re disappointed in a product, it is not just a product failure. It’s something that can cause a minor inconvenience, ruin someone’s day or possibly feel like a complete betrayal. While you could fully automate the customer experience, a chatbot or AI-powered support page can only do so much in these situations.

CPM Australia found almost 80% of customers tell more people about a negative experience than a positive one, so one customer abandoning your company after a bad experience can lead to a domino effect.

Customers should always have the opportunity to work with another human - this is the make-or-break part of the customer journey, and the empathy of another human can work wonders. Even with the best automated processes, humans still enjoy talking to humans - and with this enjoyment, the human touch can always lead to more sales opportunities.

From time to time, some companies will get ‘digital’ right. The longstanding US flower company 1-800 Flowers used a branded messenger bot on the social media platform to make it easier for customers to order flowers. The company’s CEO told Digiday that shortly after launch, 70% of their orders were from new customers, who connected with the bot and then bought flowers.

Having said that, as you work through your digital strategy for customer experience, don’t be fooled into thinking technology is always the best option. Technology should enhance the customer experience, but it should not define it. Here are four key commandments you need to know to let your customers know how valued they are:

Give them a choice - Let your customer be the one to decide how they interact with you. Sometimes an automated tweet is a sufficient way to solve a problem, but other times a call or even a face to face interaction is the best option. Have choices available and let them decide.

Use your ears - People have never been more willing to share what they think about their brand experiences. You only have to glimpse at social media to find someone praising a customer experience they had, showing off products they love, calling out a brand for something they don’t like or sharing a negative experience. Listen carefully.

Act intently - Every customer experience is the chance to forge a lifelong fan or lose a customer for life. Engaging with customer service isn’t enjoyable for most people, but just one positive encounter can make a customer feel at ease and create all-important brand loyalty.  

Use technology thoughtfully - Data and automation can drastically improve the customer experience, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s a balancing act. Don’t overdo it, as the customer experience can become disingenuous.

Technology moves quickly.

The most innovative technology today may be obsolete tomorrow, so the human touch will be what separates a great customer experience from a poor one. The ability to tie technology and human touch together will help deliver a better customer experience than either can do alone.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Customer
ValueFlow and FLI announce capital alliance for enhanced channel outcomes
ValueFlow and Founder Led Investments (FLI) have announced that they have entered into a capital alliance, which looks to expand ValueFlows business in Australia and Asia Pacific.
Story image
Gartner
Fortinet attributes Gartner-reported growth to ZTNA approach
Zero-trust is slowly becoming a dominant enterprise security strategy for businesses, and the Gartner report highlights that although prominent, it is often underutilised.
Story image
Cyber resilience
NZ’s Cyber Resilience Framework to be evolving and potentially automated
The government's already putting $2.4 million into the Cyber Resilience Framework in its initial stages, what is it and why is it important?
Story image
Sustainability
CDC hyperscale data centres now open in New Zealand
CDC Data Centres (CDC) says two new, state-of-the-art hyperscale data centres are now open for business in Auckland.
Story image
Ingram Micro
Ingram Micro NZ Showcase On The Road is full steam ahead
After a year of COVID-19-related disruptions, the Ingram Micro Showcase On The Road 2022 is finally going ahead, with registrations now open to interested parties.
Story image
Smartphone
Hands-on review: OPPO Find X5 smartphone
With the release of the new OPPO Find X5 in March, we got the opportunity to explore another one of their premium devices.
Story image
Smartphone
Samsung introduces new generation of foldable smartphones
Samsung has unveiled its new range of Galaxy Z smartphones, bringing new developments to the company’s foldable smartphone portfolio.
Story image
Dicker Data
Dicker Data brought on as Acronis partner for A/NZ
The news about the partnership comes in as cyber criminals continue to exploit gaps in traditional solutions and strategies in NZ and across the APAC region.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Dramatic uptick in threat activity with exploits growing nearly 150%
"While it’s not a surprise given increased attack opportunities like remote work, it’s still a worrying development and one we cannot ignore."
Story image
Surveillance
Ministry will no longer accept equipment from Chinese firm Hikvision
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says it will no longer accept equipment from a major Chinese surveillance camera maker.
Story image
ExtraHop
Organisations exposing highly sensitive protocols to public internet
More than 60% of organisations expose remote control protocol SSH to the public internet, while 36% of organisations expose the insecure FTP protocol.
Story image
Home security
Hands-on review: Eufy Wire-Free Dual Cam Video Doorbell 2K
We have had our house secured by Eufy products for over seven months now. We love the brand, and it has never let us down.
Story image
Gaming
Attacks on gaming companies more than double over past year
The State of the Internet report shows gaming companies and gamer accounts are at risk, following a surge in web application attacks post pandemic.
Story image
Distribution
Garmin expands NZ footprint with new Auckland distribution centre
The facility at Goodman’s Highbrook Business Park will be fully operational from October 2022 and features 3,586sqm of warehouse space.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft announces Pax8 as indirect CSP distributor in A/NZ
Microsoft has recently announced Pax8 as a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) indirect distributor in the A/NZ region.
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
The importance of stopping identity sprawl for cybersecurity
The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that 61% of all breaches involve malicious actors gaining unauthorised, privileged access to data by using a compromised credential. Unfortunately, it is often too late when the misuse of a credential is detected.
Story image
CyberCX
Nozomi Networks adds nine partners to its MSSP program
OT and IoT security company Nozomi Networks has added nine new members to its MSSP Partner Program, and the list includes CyberCX and Deloitte.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Exclusive: NZ-based DEFEND offers global cyber protection
DEFEND supports customers in 66 countries across the globe with a relentless focus on ensuring that every dollar spent on security provides a meaningful return on investment and reduces cyber risk.
Story image
Samsung
New range of Samsung Smart Watches announced with health focus
Samsung has announced new additions to its SmartWatch portfolio, with the Galaxy Watch5 and Galaxy Watch5 Pro to be released in late August.
Story image
Economics
9 in 10 retailers prepared for economic challenges this year
Some 9 in 10 retailers (86%) are prepared for continued inflation, higher interest rates and potentially lower consumer spending, according to new research.
Story image
Firewall
Why printing security plays a vital part in keeping Aotearoa safe
While internet printing, mobile printing and other similar technologies have no doubt made things easier to manage, it has also brought a whole new set of problems to the table.
Story image
Servers
New Zealand cloud provider challenges Google's claims on data control for region
A Wellington cloud services provider says Google's claim it will offer New Zealanders complete control over their own data is not true.
Story image
SaaS
Cloud and data protection big challenges for NZ businesses
"This surge towards a cloud-first approach meant security and safety became afterthoughts - there's no point being the fastest car on the racetrack if you crash.”
Story image
Application Performance Monitoring / APM
New Relic integrates offering with Atlassian’s Jira Software
New Relic has integrated errors inbox with Jira Software to allow developers to easily access and set up complete stack error tracking and software performance monitoring from within the tool.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: JBL Flip 6 portable speaker
Once you switch it on, and listen away for up to 12 hours, you will quickly realise that this is a little speaker looking for a party.
Story image
Data Protection
Zero Trust, but verify - finding the OT in ZerO Trust
The move to remote and cloud-based technologies has shifted the goalposts for cybersecurity. It now needs to cover multiple people, devices, platforms, and networks.
Story image
Compliance
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
Home Entertainment
Hands-on review: TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV
We introduce you today to a TV that brings the height of immersion to your viewing experience: The TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV.
Story image
Machine learning
Sysdig releases CDR offering to combat cryptojacking
Sysdig has unveiled a cloud detection and response (CDR) offering powered by machine learning to combat cryptojacking.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.
Story image
IDC
High level of Customer Identity & Access Management adoption
The study from Okta revealed that the pandemic has either accelerated or highlighted the need for digital-first strategies.
Story image
SmartWatch
Hands-on review: Huawei Watch D smart watch
The Huawei Watch D is the latest flagship smart watch from the Chinese tech giant, and it's further proof that the company is more than capable of competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple in the highly competitive wearable market.
Story image
Ingram Micro
Ingram Micro NZ sees $74 million revenue growth in 2021
Ingram Micro New Zealand's latest financial report reveals that its revenue from contracts with customers increased by almost $74 million in 2021.
Story image
InternetNZ
How well do rangatahi understand cyber safety in Aotearoa?
Do rangatahi in Aotearoa understand the importance of being safe online, or has lifelong exposure to the internet resulted in widespread complacency?
Story image
Developers
Snyk announces plans to expand partner network in APJ
Recognising that partnerships are critical for growth, Snyk is building an entire partner ecosystem that will drive its expansion across APJ.
Story image
Arlo
Hands-on review: Arlo Go 2 security camera
In my humble opinion, Arlo Go 2 offers security for anyone needing to keep a remote eye on prized possessions or premises at different locations.
Story image
Google Cloud
Google Cloud to open first cloud region in NZ - among others
Google Cloud has announced plans to bring three new cloud regions, one each in New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand.
Story image
Charity
SnapLogic teams up with meetmagic for charity and children
SnapLogic has announced its partnership with meetmagic, an online Australian platform that combines business and philanthropy.
Story image
Techday
10 misconceptions about Techday and how it operates
Even with 17 years in the tech news space, Techday still finds that there are a range of things people misunderstand about how we operate.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Education sector seeing highest volumes of cyber attacks
When breaking down the numbers to education attacks by region in July 2022, A/NZ was the most heavily attacked.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Fastly, INX, Kinly, SmartBear & Vectra AI
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.