What does humanisation mean for organisations and businesses searching for increased customer loyalty, lifetime customer value and profitability? We discuss the positive impact humanising your customer touchpoints can have and the importance of creating emotional connections.
Once upon a time…
25 years ago, if you wanted a business loan you walked into your local branch of your bank and chatted to a Bank Manager on first name terms over a brew. ‘Computer Says No’ algorithms were in their infancy, Experian didn’t exist; lenders had to base their decision with the risk information to hand, and on the bias of character.
Technology has permeated through our working lives, human to human meetings are almost a long distant memory and as a result we’re working hard to keep the element of humanisation with the interactions we can have right now, facilitated through invisible barriers to actual human contact such as Zoom and Teams.
This year the shift in the way we do business together has fundamentally changed and has done so largely thanks to technology like video conferencing. Negotiations have been fast-tracked out of the boardroom and onto our kitchen dining tables – it’s levelled the c-suite playing field and drawn us together more authentically. Who hasn’t been on a call when a colleague’s beloved pet or unruly toddler interjects mid-presentation? We’re now at home, in our back bedrooms, on the sofa, being human, exposing our very real flaws and perfectly authentic selves.
The search for brand authenticity
So, if we’re comfortable giving a bit more of our real, authentic self away on our video calls, it stands to reason that we have become far more demanding of the brands and companies that we interact with. After all, according to Stackla, 86% of consumers demand authenticity when deciding what brands they like and support.
Our need for authenticity with brands can no longer be satisfied with a simple first-name personalisation of a promotional email or abandon shopping cart reminder. 75% of consumers expect brands, their product and service, to make more of a contribution to their wellbeing and quality of life. [Source: Havas Meaningful Brands Report]
Brand trust has declined globally; technology can create invisible barriers between brands and consumers, in the same way we feel dehumanised and exhausted after a day of Zoom calls. Within this layer of technology, the authentic voice of customers and brands can get filtered out. This is why customer experience is the number one focus area for brands today globally.
We’re evolving beyond personalisation to humanisation.
Customers want more than ‘authenticity’
Brands that have benefited from personalisation are ratifying a human-centric approach and are rewarded in kind by users willing to share their personal data and values - Meaningful Brands that do this well outperform the stock market by 134%.
We know that coalesced data can help to create deeply personalised experiences, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) technology can achieve more insightful consumer behaviour and buying patterns. For example, 90% of consumers are willing to share their behavioural data when additional benefits are provided that make shopping cheaper or easier. Additionally, a younger generation of consumers are largely predisposed to higher level of data-sharing. In fact, 70% of millennials are willing to let retailers track their browsing and shopping behaviours in exchange for a better shopping experience.
Here’s the ‘but’. Whilst there is a clear value exchange in play, we still demand more. According to research from LoyaltyOne, 95% of UK shoppers want brands to seek new ways to reward their loyalty.
Loyalty goes beyond simply just loving a brand, we need to curate more emotional connections, and this can be achieved by humanised brand activations. If we consider Kahneman’s system of fast (1) and slow (2) thinking with customer loyalty in mind, by tapping into system 1 thinking (which is intuitive over logical) we shift toward decision making through emotional connections. Those emotional connections with fully engaged customers net an additional 23% of revenue, according to Gallup. And positive customer experiences will ultimately lead to increased loyalty - 56% of customers stay loyal to brands who “get them”. Loyalty programs that establish positive emotional connections with their members see 27% more of their membership increasing their spend with the Brand.
So, what exactly does humanisation mean for a business?
People want to do business with people. People create lifetime relationships, not algorithms from computers. A customer experience strategy that embraces humanisation will leverage technology to enhance and deepen our relationships. For example, 86% of customers say an emotional connection with a customer service agent would make them continue to do business with the company.
Your company’s brand, its cultural values, its stories and foundation, the people – your team, the founders and owners play an enormous role in creating a human-centric, authentic customer experience.
There’s a clear need to humanise the customer touchpoints and the technology used within customer interactions to truly build stronger emotional connections, build loyalty and unlock increased revenue. Research found that customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable. More than this, it reinforces brand awareness, consideration, conversation and retention - at every stage of your customer’s journey.
5 steps to help your business become more human centric:1. Start by asking your organisation these simple questions. If you are answering mostly yes, it's time to rethink your humanisation strategy. If you’re answering mostly no, you are well on track.
Credit: Hilary Corna’s Human-centric company quiz.2. Feedback. Talk to, survey and listen to your customers, they often have more insight across your whole business and experience that you do.
Whether your role in your organisation is related to customer experience, sales & marketing or production / delivery, consider how humanised each customer touch point is in your organisation.
Whilst technology has advanced, and we’ve come a long way in 25 years, in many ways we have stayed true to our instinctive needs. The yearning for humanised experiences is having a profound effect on businesses, so isn’t it time that your organisation looked at how to be more human?
At Etch we help businesses to engineer world-leading digital products and services with human-centricity at its heart. And for businesses to build better human connections with their audiences with our Growth programme. For more information of how we can help your organisation, get in touch.