The Synergy of Technology and Empathy in Customer Experience
Every organization has taken drastic steps to transform itself digitally. Technology is the key to all of these transformation exercises.
These initiatives lead toward offering the best possible customer experience (CX).
Does Technology Alone Suffice in the World of CX?
Technology, along with human intervention, is what would make the experience richer.
Let me give you an example.
I went to an ASICS showroom a few years ago to buy a pair of running shoes.
I was asked to take the pronation test. In this test, I was asked to run on a treadmill. A video was taken of my feet to perform the gait analysis.
They figured out the arch height and the alignment of the Achilles with the leg.
The video footage was slowed down and analyzed in detail by an ASICS professional, expert at the specialty running store, and podiatrist who will explain your running type and help you select the right pair of running shoes.
Now they knew the exact shoes that would fit my running style.
Did they suggest it directly?
No. Instead, they explained the different running styles – under pronators, neutral runners, and overpronators.
I was shown why I was a neutral runner.
Once I was convinced by their explanation, they showed me shoes that would fit my running style.
They suggested the GEL-Nimbus cushioning model. I was told that this promotes neutral foot motion.
I bought the suggestion, and I have been happy ever since. Since then, I have been going to the ASICS showroom for all my running needs.
It is a combination of technology and human intervention that helped me choose the right pair of running shoes.
I really liked the experience in-store, and the comfort was in line with what was explained to me. This elevated the experience of using running shoes.
Since then, I have become a brand loyalist.
The Synergy of Technology and Empathy
The technology in the example I cited is an enabler rather than a solution. Let us assume that they offered it in a self-service kiosk.
I would have done the running and taken the suggestion offered by technology. I’d still have wanted to speak to a human to get reassurance on my concerns about buying a pair of running shoes.
The current digital business landscape is overcrowded and noisy, making it difficult for companies and brands to stand out.
While technology can offer hyper-personalized interactions with customers, the people in the company are the ones who keep the customers engaged and build loyalty.
Let us look at it this way. Technology is 99% noise, and we waste a lot of time figuring out which 1% works.
This happens because there is no way actually to capture the relevant customer aspects holistically.
There are use cases where technology plays a key role, which, when supplemented by human connection, can result in great customer experiences.
While running call recordings and incoming requests across channels through analytics can throw up commonly asked questions – they can be converted into FAQS and knowledge bases.
Customers can access these FAQs and knowledge bases before contacting someone in support.
Think of AI bots that can be trained on these commonly asked questions and can easily handle transactional queries like:
- What is my account balance?
- I want to place a request for my checkbook
- I want to reschedule my appointment
- I want to know if I can advance my reservation by a day
All these are transactional queries that a self-service automation bot can handle.
Look at this example.
My cashless insurance has been rejected, and I’d like you to reconsider it for some of the following reasons. Assume that you give out two or three reasons. Now, the bot would not be able to resolve this easily, and the typical response would be:
I am not able to respond to your request at this moment, and I have filed your request, and this is your request number INS123456. Your request will be addressed in the next 48 hours.
This doesn’t help the customer.
Instead, imagine if the response is like this:
I am afraid that I am not in a position to help you. However, would you like to talk to an insurance expert who can help you?
When you press YES, it connects you to the insurance expert, and you can sort out your challenges.
This is where technology and human connection will have to get.
Customers should always be allowed to reach an agent anytime during their interaction.
The power of human connection in the customer experience space cannot be undervalued. It is a key ingredient in providing confidence to customers and building loyalty.
By leveraging the strengths of technology and human expertise, companies can create personalized, intuitive, and seamless customer journeys that build trust and loyalty.