Adrian Swinscoe, customer experience thought leader, Forbes contributor, and business advisor provides his perspective on finding the balance between humans and tech in delivering CX. Adrian and Julia discuss what it takes to achieve customer delight in our increasingly digital world and why the tag line “powered by humans” is becoming a thing that brands now tout. Julia shares her plan for February’s CX Mini Masterclass episodes, which will feature other CX thought leaders.
Customer delight and the delicate balance between humans and tech
In a world where we are spending increasing amounts of time on our phones, and the digital world has infiltrated nearly all aspects of our lives, it can be easy to fall prey to the mantra that tech is best. But that isn’t always the case. Yes, technology can be an incredible enabler of great customer experience. Seamless app experiences, VOC solutions that help businesses decipher customer feedback, customization algorithms, and the social media platforms have all helped turbo-charge many aspects of customer experience. But this doesn’t mean that the human element has lost its place. Behind every experience there is a human, and sometimes human intervention is the most effective and efficient way to deliver customer experiences and (hopefully) customer delight.
I sat down with Adrian Swinscoe to unpack this topic and explore how organizations can find the balance between humans and tech.
Top tips for balanced customer experiences
- Understand the tech/touch continuum – Adrian suggests that experiences fall on two spectra: high/low tech and high/low touch. When you plot these together, you get a quadrant of high/low/tech/touch possibilities. Use this framework to understand the natural “fit” for experiences, based on what customers want. If customers are looking for a tangible sensory experience, then low tech/high touch might be the answer. If they are looking for convenience, then high tech/low touch might be better.
- Acknowledge that human led experiences are sometimes more efficient – Routing customers through endless IVRs and dealing with multiple repeat calls can be more complicated (and costly) than just having one person resolve and issue on the spot. Tech solutions are often pitched on the basis of efficiency gains, but look before you leap. Things are not always as they seem.
- Don’t be all things to all people – Yes, it’s important to be where customers are, but with the proliferation of different digital channels, it can be challenging for companies to deliver great experiences through ALL possible touchpoints. Pick those where you can deliver customer delight, and focus your energy there. It’s OK to say “no” to new channels that aren’t compatible with your brand or business.
Humility can foster brand affinity
Adrian shared research on the Pratfall Effect, which is our human tendency to prefer some level of imperfection. We gravitate towards people, leaders and brands that display their imperfections and are open about vulnerability. In the quest to deliver great experiences and test out tech innovations, brands can (and will) stumble. The takeaway here is that these mistakes – when managed appropriately – can enhance brand affinity.
Within businesses, CX leaders can also learn from this phenomenon. Leaders who are open about their mistakes and share their vulnerability with team members and employees, may earn more of their respect in the long run.
Where to find more insights from Adrian
I really enjoyed speaking with Adrian and could have picked his brain for hours. He is truly a wealth of knowledge, and the good news is that there are plenty of ways that you can keep learning from Adrian’s work and expertise. He published a bestselling book in 2016, How to Wow: 68 Effortless Ways to Make Every Customer Experience Amazing (Pearson). He is also a fellow podcaster, and his show, The RARE Business Podcast, is well worth checking out. You can also follow Adrian on Twitter, LinkedIn, or get in touch through the contact details on his website.
This episode was sponsored by CX University, a CX training company offering a broad array of CX learning options, including e-learning modules and CCXP practice exams. CXU is an accredited resource and training provider and their resources and they offer a flexible and affordable monthly subscription model. Listeners of this CX podcast can get 10% off their first month’s subscription by entering the discount code PODCAST10 at checkout.
Decoding the Customer is a series of customer experience podcasts created and produced by Julia Ahlfeldt, CCXP. Julia is a customer experience strategist, speaker and business advisor. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional and one of the top experts in customer experience management. To find out more about how Julia can help your business define customer experience strategy that delivers results, check out her customer experience advisory consulting services or get in touch via email. To hear other episodes of Decoding the Customer, click here.