Human relation or automation? Why understanding your customer’s journey should direct your tech.

By PascalSatori |

July 11, 2019

The machine age, the reign of the robots…Whatever you want to call it, it’s pretty clear that we’ve entered an era where technology impacts almost all aspects of our lives. This is particularly evident in the world of digital marketing and online business platforms, where innovations emerge at supersonically fast rates. 

At Pepebucks, we believe we have a responsibility to stay abreast of the new tech that can change the way we do digital marketing, and the way our customers do business. But, this doesn’t mean we advocate for every possible application of the tech that’s available, and there’s a very good reason for this. A tension exists when the rapid-fire adoption of tech intersects with good old-fashioned business values like customer service. This space is hugely important, and it’s something we think needs to be navigated very carefully. Automation is the main player in this game, and choosing when and where to automate is crucial. Put simply, we believe that the way a customer experiences your brand (and your offering) is the greatest determiner of your success. So, making sure your customer’s experience is as good as it can be is the number one priority. This may or may not involve automation tech, because this decision depends on what’s best for your customers – not just for you.

This is CX, or customer experience, and it’s about how users interact with your brand, both digitally and non-digitally. It’s about understanding the journey of your customers, and how you can make this journey smoother, more appealing, more intuitive and more engaging at the right times. This experience feeds into the customer’s perception of your brand, and can change loyal customers into brand advocates, if done correctly. It’s a bit different from a sales funnel, because it looks more at the behaviour of your customers at different stages, rather than just how you as a business can convert browsers to buyers. CX encompasses consumer psychology and behavioural economics, an evolution of fundamental customer service principles and some solid data analysis to top it all off.

And, here’s the thing: It means that, sometimes, businesses have to shift their thinking from prioritising efficiency to prioritising the effectiveness of their service, even if it costs more, takes longer or is more labour-intensive initially. For a lot of business owners, this shift in thinking can feel counter-intuitive. When you’re used to looking at the bottom line, it can be hard to tear your eyes away! But, CX is a long game. The decisions you make will pay absolutely pay dividends eventually, but it might mean that some short-term wins are sacrificed. 

For an automation example, let’s talk about chatbots. Chatbots can be great, especially those with excellent AI capacities. They can be a cost-effective, time-saving, efficient and streamlined way of handling customer queries or requests. So far, sounds like a good business move, right? But, chatbots can also provide a frustrating, unhelpful and disenchanting experience for customers, alienating them and prompting them to go elsewhere. If the task is answering a simple query, sure, you can probably use a chatbot. But, if it’s a complex issue or emotions are running high, it’s unlikely that a chatbot will have the ability to offer the response your customer needs. Maybe your customer needs another human to empathise with their circumstances and offer viable solutions. Maybe they need a human to answer their intricate questions and help them commit. Maybe they just feel undervalued when they’re trying to engage with your brand and you give them a technological stand-in as a shortcut for you, rather than a service for them. But, if you do provide a human response rather than an automated one, it still needs to be a good response from a trained operator. Humans don’t trump tech just because they’re humans! Ideally, technology should synergise with human customer service, enhancing the experience of receiving service from a person rather than replacing it. 

In any case, CX examines all of these aspects and identifies what would be best for your customer. Understanding what makes them behave in a certain way when they engage with your brand and experience different things (like navigating your website, hearing word of mouth testimony, visiting a physical location for your brand or viewing advertising) allows you to address their needs in a deeply responsive way. This can then guide your decision-making about when and where to implement automation technologies.

Pepebucks can help you understand your customer’s journey with your brand, and where automating tech can be implemented without sacrificing high-quality service. Give us a call to chat (to a person not a bot!) on 0411755895 or email paris.young@pascalsatori.com

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