Why Technology Needs To Retain A Human Element
Online opportunities offer great improvements to your business' efficiency and productivity. In today's high tech world, you can easily outsource and manage tasks in ways that were previously impossible, and collect customer information and feedback with ease. However, with ‘high tech’ opportunities also comes risk.
As businesses develop their online strategy, they move their focus and resources to these new online spaces. This shift in focus can risk leaving traditional ‘high touch’ elements of your business, such as customer service, behind.
The key, of course, is balance – your overall business strategy needs to appropriately mix both these ‘high tech’ and ‘high touch’ elements.
Don’t underestimate the human element!
We’re living in a world where the people element must always be present in your business, no matter what your high-tech approach is.
Don’t be a faceless company.
Don’t deal with your clients exclusively through your website or an automated phone service. Your clients don’t want you to add to their problems, they want you to solve them.
Remember people buy from people they like and connect with. We all know if you focus too much on one side of your business and neglect the others you are in trouble. You need a balance. You can’t just focus on online and you can’t just focus on offline.
But what about businesses like Amazon, I hear you ask. Surely they can just focus on online? No, they can’t.
Have a think about this simple issue: how long would Amazon stay in business if they regularly shipped the wrong products to their customers? Easy: not long at all.
Managing their shipping is an offline function of their business. The leverage offered by technology is great, but so is being human.
Being ‘high touch’ means that as they work their way through your sales structure your customers have regular contact with a living and breathing human being.
Give them a number they can call, and make sure it’s answered by a person, not a machine.
Give them the name of a customer concierge they can deal with, and make sure that person follows through on their transaction.
There’s nothing more annoying for customers than having to deal with a different person each time they contact your company.
To make sure you continue to be high touch as you grow, the people element of your business needs to be scalable.
As your business grows, the number of customer service staff, support staff, receptionists, call centre staff, and all your other customer functions need to grow with it, just slightly ahead of demand. The high touch aspect of your business is also about making an emotional connection.
For a chain of coffee shops, this could be baking muffins at the front of the store, so that the smell greets people as they walk in.
Or if you run a car service centre, have a nice reception area with a coffee machine and a full-time receptionist to make clients feel welcome; don’t make them walk into your greasy and grimy workshop.
To achieve maximum results in minimum time there must be an element of high technology. But it must be about making people more efficient – it’s not about let’s set up this new tool because it’s the latest toy.
How are you maintaining the personal touch in your business? Click here to listen to one of our early podcasts on this very topic.
Finally, on behalf of all the team at Business Benchmark Group would like to wish all grandfathers and fathers in our community a happy and enjoyable Father’s Day tomorrow with your loved ones.
Power to you!
CEO, Business Benchmark Group
Stefan Kazakis on 5 May 2018
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