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Don’t Forget the Humans

by Antoine Cadot-Wood

February 21, 2012

Last week I interviewed Shaivali Shah, who will be speaking at CRM 2012 about the impact of customer experience (CRM Expert subscribers can find the podcast here). Shah is the Customer Experience Practice Leader at PwC, and we were looking at some of the results of their 2011 Customer Experience Radar, a cross-industry survey of what makes for a good customer experience.

I went to SAPinsider’s fall mobility seminar and saw many cool apps, which showed dozens of new ways to interact with customers. But Shah’s research suggests that you can’t win your customers’ loyalty with just a cool app or great website.

Something that is very critical that we saw in a number of industries, whether a transactional industry such as retail or a more service industry such as retail banking, is that the human touch is absolutely critical at certain touch points. So let’s take retail banking for example. What we found is that technology, although driving efficiency, falls short in showing empathy and investigating customer issues. So roughly two thirds of our respondents valued things going above and beyond when they ran across critical issues when human intervention is absolutely critical...

Customers are not loyal to one channel. They want to be able to browse in one cha nnel, shop in another, and get servicing in another. And so what we found is that roughly 40 percent of the folks we surveyed want to be able to have that multichannel experience. And when you’re talking about larger purchases, we found that even one third of those who had a good experience with the staff, it was due to knowledgeable staff recommendations…It’s that interaction, again that human interaction, that helps verify certain purchases, which is especially important in this day and age, given people’s aversion to purchasing elements that are above their means…

Customers want it all. They want that killer app, that easy-to-use website, and service by phone, email, and chat. But they also want to be able to walk into a building and talk with somebody, or pick up the phone and get in touch with a human being. And indeed, why shouldn’t they?

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