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Topic(s): Customer Experience Human Connection

Best practices to create a human customer experience in digital times

How can companies make the human connection part of their customer experience? Our mass move to online and digital comes with unseen challenges for organisations that are doing their best to adapt. As people crave human contact more than ever, it’s important that companies maintain a human touch in the way they do business.

This doesn’t just apply to e-commerce. It’s all kinds of service delivery in banks, insurance, coaching, consultancy, HR, ... Organisations in all industries went remote overnight. Inevitably, this digital transition has an effect on how customers perceive experiences with a company as well. How people experience a brand today, will determine its success in a post-corona era.

In this blog post, we’ll list some tips to keep the customer experience human in digital times.


Convenience is king

Stating the obvious: we are living online, more than ever. There’s Zoom team meetings, we facetime with our grandparents or have digital drinks with friends. As Steven Van Belleghem puts it: “the world is getting the biggest digital training course it has ever seen.”

This also has an impact on customer experience, as people find their way around convenient online processes, e-commerce and are learning to manage their lives almost completely digitally.

Still, for most companies, this switch to online happened overnight, and it’s a huge challenge to move your business to digital in a convenient way. Are you handling things the way your customers expected? And are your teams comfortable with this new way of working? To keep the customer experience as frictionless as possible, there are a couple of things you can do.


1. Clear service and product overview

First, it’s important that customers know what services they can still count on you for. Next, be crystal clear about how you will deliver these services. This way you avoid that customers waste time looking for products you no longer sell, or services you had to put on halt.

Great and consistent communication is key. As an example, let’s look at a retail company of which online sales went up with 30 to 40% (yes, we have portfolio companies that are experiencing this!). That’s a huge load on a team that isn’t used to handle this many orders. But when handled well, it’s a winning scenario, as many retailers have been dreaming about boosting their online sales.

However, this can be overwhelming. It makes sense that sometimes companies have to hit the pause button, or that additional investments are needed to smoothen the process. Be upfront and honest about this to your customers. Let them know when there are hiccups and explain how you’re solving them. And most importantly, thank your customers for their enthusiasm and support by putting in all of these orders! We’re all in this together, right?


2. Use feedback to steer processes

There has been no better time to capture feedback from your customers than now. Overnight changes to product or service delivery need to be monitored. And they’re the best audience to judge how you handle things in times of crisis.

Capturing feedback after an interaction with customers will help to improve communication and it instantly alerts you if some processes aren’t running smoothly. These insights will offer you a sense of direction to guide you through new circumstances.

As a bonus, you will receive tons of positive feedback too. We’ve already seen this with our healthcare customers. People appreciate that you are making an effort to make their lives easier in these challenging times. Positive feedback is a real morale booster and motivates your employees to keep spirits lifted in difficult times.


3. Guide your employees through the transition

Approaching things in a human way doesn’t only apply to customers. These are uncertain times for your employees too. They are confined to their houses and are doing their best to do their jobs remotely. It’s exactly them you count on to deliver great service. Sharing positive feedback is one thing, but communicating about internal changes is extremely important to keep all teams in the loop on what is expected from them in these extraordinary times.

As always, customer feedback remains a great source of information that allows you to pick up on important issues quickly. Consequently, sharing these insights with your teams, whether it’s customer service, your delivery crew or logistics department will make the transition to digital a bit smoother.

The other way around, systematically capturing feedback from your employees will help you better understand their needs. Improving their situation through better communication or adjusting internal processes for remote working may do wonders!


4. Support your customer service teams more than ever

Customer service teams across the globe are flooded with customer requests and needs. They are the go-to in these digital times. It really shows how much we need that human touch in our commercial dealings.

To make sure your customer service teams can do their jobs, they need the right support. They are your frontline heroes, now more than ever. Give them the time and space to really interact with customers. Your customer service is an important touchpoint these days, and by lack of real human interaction, customers will expect good service. So make sure your customer service agents can really listen to and solve their issues.


5. Safeguard your customers’ and employees’ physical wellbeing

When you do still have real-life interactions with customers, like this is the case for supermarkets, safety and wellbeing become an important factor in the experience delivery.

To provide an environment that feels safe, secure and healthy, investments need to be made. Not just in communication. Processes need to be put in place so customers can enter stores safely, respecting the government regulations. At the same time, protective measures for employees should be put in place too.

Delhaize is a very good example of taking all of the above into account. They are keeping it human by helping their customers out and communicating in a crystal-clear way. At the same time, they avoid putting extra pressure on their employees.


hello customer blog delhaize human customer experience
Source: Delhaize Belgium LinkedIn

To conclude

The need for a human approach has never been more obvious. Applying this to your customer experience is crucial. The way organisations treat their customers and employees now, will have a lasting impact once we return to our new ‘normal’ lives. We understand this might seem daunting, but it isn’t impossible. If you find yourself stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and we can look at your customer experience challenges together.