Companies that have traditionally used amazing customer service and a personal touch to differentiate themselves may feel like they’re on the ropes. After all, with the growth of personal devices and ubiquitous internet, the culture is shifting rapidly toward self-service. How can you offer outstanding services that demonstrate a high level of personal care and attention to detail when customers want to just do it themselves? Instead of looking for a person to assist us, our inclination is to see if, “there’s an app for that.” The underpinnings of a business built on white glove treatment would seem to be eroding right before our eyes.
However, one should not be fooled into thinking this is true. If your brand is the sum total of all interactions and experiences with your company, then there are many new opportunities to prove your worth and elevate the status of your brand by offering the digital personal touch. The digital personal touch is offered to your customers through beautifully designed and easy to use interfaces that they touch and interact with when they need your help. Swiftly tapping through menus, gathering information, executing actions and getting tasks done all “feel good” as if a real person was helping you every step of the way. A great user experience is a great customer experience. When a customer can quickly and easily accomplish their to-do’s through these interfaces, it reflects positively on your brand. This is because customers recognize the care and attention to detail that you put into providing a simple, easy to use interface which is their preferred course of action when assistance is needed.
I received a business card from a colleague at a conference recently. We were discussing mobile app development and he was describing their services as highly collaborative. A form of “personal touch” if you will. On the card was a QR code, which I personally don’t find very cool or useful anymore since it just adds steps between me and the information I seek. A simple URL that is easy to understand and remember is what I want, thank you. Nevertheless, the QR code is a way to extend the physical experience of the business card to the digital world in order to continue the overall experience experience journey.
A few hours later I decided to dust off my rarely used QR code reader app and snap the code. I was shocked with what I saw. I was brought to a web page that wasn’t optimized for my mobile phone’s screen. It was horrible to look at and completely useless. I was left with the feeling that the company did not personally care enough about me to go the extra mile and ensure that when I arrived at the site, it was a smart, simple, easy to use interface with a personal touch provided by way of highly interactive experience. This lack of attention to detail affected my brand perception and will influence whether I decide to move forward in working with the organization.
Another example: when I go to a retail establishment, while the wireless connection should be fast, equally important is the usability of the captive portal interface for logging in. We don’t expect somebody to personally help us with this. Rather we expect to be able to do it ourselves, and in the process enjoy the same feeling of receiving that personal touch.
Organizations everywhere who market the “personal touch” as their value proposition have lots of opportunities to improve their customers’ digital experiences. In doing so, they will be satisfying customers in a new and emerging way that augments and enhances the traditional forms of giving them the personal touch.