happy executiveMy very first summer job as a teenager was working in a jewelry shop. It was a small shop on the corner of the main street in my home town.  Inside, there was a horse shoe shaped counter around the entire shop, which doubled as a display case.  The staff stood behind the counter, and behind them was either more display cases or on the two outside facing walls, the windows, which were again fully stocked with products on display.

The shop layout was designed to give customers the best view of as many different items of jewelry as possible.  But it was also designed so the staff could easily and subtly observe the customers as they browsed. The trick for the staff was to decide when was the right time to engage that customer and ask “is there anything I can help you with today?” If you got it right, you were well on the way to making a sale.  If you got it wrong, the customer more than likely said “no” and walked out.

The experienced staff new exactly how to engage customers at the right time. They knew exactly when customers needed the human touch. The jewelry shop was an “in person” business with all of its sales done by customers who physically visited the store. As a result, delivering an engaging, personalized customer experience was a key to success for the business..

Today, most business is done digitally – without customers ever visiting a store or point of purchase.  But the human touch is just as critical.

Digital Customer Service

Forrester ResearchA study from Forrester Research showed that when customers do not get answers on digital channels, 75% of them will actively seek out the human touch themselves by calling the call center or visiting a store. Sixteen percent will give up, and 9% will defect to the competition!

Imagine the difference it would make to your business if you were able to bring the human touch to those customers over digital channels?  Reducing expensive customer service costs by engaging customers across digital channels; decreasing customer churn by engaging them at the moment of need (do they need service?); and increasing sales by engaging at the moment of opportunity (are they ready to buy?).

3 Steps for Bringing the Human Touch to the Digital Customer Journey

Below are some simple tips for getting the human touch right over digital channels. As you will see, many of the same rules apply when engaging customers in person.

Be Present – You would never build a shop with no staff or without the means for customers to engage with your business.  Why would you do the same in the digital marketplace – especially on your web site and social media properties?

Observe – Monitor customer interactions for buying signals or signs of churn. Then proactively engage them at either the moment of opportunity or the moment of need.

Offer the Channel of ChoiceDigital channels open up many more possibilities for growing deeper and more valuable customer relationships.  Being present on the channel of choice throughout the customer conversation is critical to engaging customers at the right time. By tracking and observing customer activity across multiple channels and proactively engaging them at the moment of need/opportunity, you can not only improve the customer experience, but you will increase sales and loyalty over the long term.

The human touch may be what makes the difference between a new customer or a former customer, a converted sale or an abandoned shopping cart. Do you give your digital customers the human touch?

Check out this video on Digital Customer Service and learn more about how to drive engaging 1 to 1 experiences with your customers over digital channels. We’d also love to get any reactions you might have, leave us a comment with your thoughts!