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The Future Of Customer Experience – Navigating The Human Touch

Written by: Wayne Elsey, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Wayne Elsey

Not too long ago, we all saw the events within OpenAI when Sam Altman was fired as CEO, only to have the nonprofit board turnover and Altman return as CEO after a shareholder and employee revolt. Yes, it was a wild week, but it was instructive. One of the things it showed was that tech and business would go at the fastest speed possible, and as Silicon Valley likes to do, move fast and break things. So, what does it mean for the customer experience?

Office, tablet or happy business people collaboration on brand advertising.

It's crucial to realize that technology will only become more critical to the future of customer experience. However, above that, business leaders must commit strategically to putting the customer experience—and personalization—front and center. So, what does that mean? It means consistently leveraging technology and using strategies to treat every lead and customer as if they were a brand's top customer. In other words, the irreplaceable human touch has to be part of the customer experience.


Personalization: Tailoring experiences for the individual


As we know, everyone's inundated with data and information. Think about the endless stream of content on social media, notifications, and emails. As a result of the flood of knowledge, personalization stands out in making brands different. In other words, when you see your name, for one, in tailored messaging, you stop for a moment and pay attention. Brands need to know and cater to the needs and preferences of each person. 


So, how can any brand cater to those preferences? Some strategies include personal product recommendations, as platforms like Amazon do well. For smaller companies that don't have the wallet size of Amazon, there are still product recommendation tools that brands can place in their digital stores. In short, technology is helping businesses create custom experiences for leads and customers. 


AI in customer experience: Balancing automation and authenticity


Of course, there are other ways a brand can transform and propel the customer experience into the future. Automation is the ticket. Artificial intelligence, through chatbots and virtual assistants, has quickly become a central piece of the customer experience. With automation, brands can triage customers and leads. For example, scripted responses can answer many general questions for brands so people can deal with more complex issues. As natural language processing improves, AI can learn the context for many conversations, streamlining the customer experience. 


That said, there's got to be a balance between automation and human workers and customers. As we all know by now, AI provides excellent efficiency. However, people are essential, and the best thing that brands could do is deploy their teams to engage with customers one-on-one. Companies shouldn't be looking to replace the human element. It's not going to work. Instead, leaders should focus on how to redeploy workers better to engage in creative ways to offer clients and lead a genuinely empathic and human experience. 


Challenges and ethical considerations


Navigating the future of the customer experience means combining personalization and artificial intelligence and deploying teams in new and creative ways to create meaningful relationships. Still, it's essential to consider ethical considerations. Privacy, security, and the responsible use of technology are vital. For example, people realize that their data has been shared and monetized, which is why you see laws, tech, and evolving business principles seeking to ensure greater data privacy for people. Tech and people mean striking the right balance, and these strategies help:

  1. Integrate AI thoughtfully. One of the most essential things business leaders must do is consider integrating technology thoughtfully. Again, AI should streamline processes to help automate but not replace workers. Instead, they should do more complex activities. 

  2. Prioritize emotional intelligence. With more technology and activities, such as remote working, developing a team with high emotional intelligence is vital. In short, teams must navigate emotionally charged situations and know how to work with kindness and empathy in a fast-paced technological environment. 

  3. Ask for permission and consent. Brands should consider how data is used from their customers. Moreover, there should be explicit consent instructions from customers. Regarding teams, it's crucial to speak to them and help ease anxieties around new technologies that are changing their jobs. 

  4. Promote continuous learning: Gone are the days when people learned something and could lean on it for years or even decades. Companies and leaders need to promote constant learning opportunities. That means using new tech regularly and training teams on everything from tech to emotional intelligence development.

The human touch: Embracing empathy in the digital age


In conclusion, the future of customer experience is where technology and the human touch co-exist. However, more importantly, the human touch must guide how technology gets integrated. Emotion, nuance, empathy, etc., are essential in the digital age. Customers and leads expect brands to pay attention to them—not through cold technology—but through meaningful human interactions. 


As technology becomes increasingly intertwined with customer interactions, the importance of the human touch cannot be overstated. Emotions, nuances, and the ability to empathize are uniquely human qualities that technology struggles to replicate. Businesses that excel in the future of customer experience will seamlessly integrate technology while preserving and enhancing the human touch. In other words, they’ll be the architects of the customer experience. 


© 2023 Wayne Elsey. All Rights Reserved. 


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Wayne Elsey Brainz Magazine
 

Wayne Elsey, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Wayne Elsey is the founder and CEO of Elsey Enterprises. Among his independent brands, he is also the founder and CEO of Funds2Orgs. This social enterprise helps nonprofits, schools, churches, civic groups, individuals, and others raise funds while helping to support micro-enterprise (small business) opportunities in developing nations and the environment.

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