Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Companies Take Note: Don't Remove Human Touch, Please!

Image courtesy of ~SoRah42
Human touch trumps technology!

On the heels of my post a couple weeks ago about humans vs. technology in delivering a great customer experience,  I thought I'd share some human touch articles of late. Several were shared with me as a result of that post, but I found a few others along the way.

Is anyone surprised? It seems we all still prefer the human touch.

Before I share the articles, I wanted to give an example of where technology often creates more frustration than it helps to facilitate a great experience: those grocery store self-checkout lanes! I just went through one last night, and the scanner invariably failed: it gets "stuck," can't recognize bar codes, thinks you put something in a bag when you didn't, can't make sense of coupons, glitches, etc. As a matter of fact, I can count on it failing. This is the wrong kind of consistency in the customer experience!

By the way, other than those problems (they are fixable, so let's get them fixed!), I love the convenience. I was bummed when I heard that they were going to remove those self-checkout lanes from my local grocery store. I'm so glad they haven't yet because when it works the way it should, it's awesome. When it works.

OK, on to the articles I wanted to share.

The first one comes from MyCustomer, "Customer Service: Six Ways to Provide the Human Touch." Ironically, it was published the same day my original blog post did. While it's not focused specifically on humans vs. technology, there are some nice tips here on the human touch.

Next up is a Fast Company article shared by Greg Richardson titled, "The Four Things People Can Do Better Than Computers." While the list is short - as the subtitle states, "Yes, it's down to four. You better be good at them." - it's a solid list.

James Lawther shared a Ted Talk by Shyam Sankar titled "The Rise of Human-Computer Cooperation." Great video and well worth the 12 minutes to view it.

The next article comes from Adrian Swinscoe: a blog post of his own called "Customers Behaviour and Their Customer Service Choices Trump New Technology Every Time." He includes an infographic from Parature that takes a look at the evolution of customer service.

All4Service shared this blog post with me: "The Importance of the Human Element in Customer Service." They give us three reasons that technology will never trump the human touch.

The next article is one from Credit Union Magazine about "Humanizing Service in the Age of Technology." The banking industry is one largely affected by this humans vs. technology debate. Some good stuff here.

You may have seen the videos in this next post, from CX Next: "Humanizing Technology for Better Customer Experiences (Literally)." The videos capture both sides of this debate. Very clever.

There was a time when nails were high-tech. There was a time when people had to be told how to use a telephone. Technology is just a tool. People use tools to improve their lives. -Tom Clancy

The next article is about another industry where the humans vs. technology in customer experience debate is prevalent. Who does it best: the kiosk spitting out your ticket or the agent helping you with your bags? Quality Hunters presents a nice overview on this topic in "Technology vs. Human Touch."

I like the closing statement on this article by Questar titled "Customer Experience in Our High Tech/High Touch World," where industry expert Tom Feltenstein states: “It’s only through a human touch, whether facilitated by technology, or a face-to-face interaction, that you are able to create a real emotional connection that will engage your customer and build sustainable loyalty."

The Advanced Human Technologies team put together this interesting article that looks at the trade-off between efficiency and relationship strength: "Creating the Future of Customer Relationships."

This Forbes article takes a different angle, but one still worth including in the mix and reading: "Investing At The Corner Of Technology And The Human Experience."

This article posted on Customer Service Zone is another take on the humans vs. technology for the betterment of the customer experience: "Has Technology Improved the Customer Experience in Most Companies?"

And, finally, one last place to look for technology and the customer experience: Micah Solomon's book (for which you can download a free chapter here), High-Tech, High-Touch Customer Service.

I think the human touch is here to stay - by popular demand! Technology, assuming it works well, will certainly facilitate a great experience, but I think it will be a long time before it replaces the human experience.

The broader one's understanding of the human experience, the better design we will have. -Steve Jobs

10 comments:

  1. Great post thanks for sharing Annette this is a really nice blog well done. The human experience and the technological human touch in customer experience is very interesting and you have done a lot of research before and after writing too, thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate you taking the time to read and to comment. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Annette :-)

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  2. In the interests of sharing, I think you will like this one as well.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00_1siNiWMM

    James

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    1. Great message. Thanks for sharing that, James!

      Annette :-)

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  3. Hi Annette,
    Thanks for including my post. I believe that you and I are kindred spirits. Often when asked I provide a bio, I write that I am a "Lover of simplicity and advocate of the human touch with a bit of really useful technology thrown in".

    Thanks again, Adrian

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    1. You're welcome, Adrian. I agree! That's a great and succinct way to summarize my viewpoint, as well.

      Annette :-)

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  4. Thanks, Annette, for both articles and the resources above. Such an important topic. I am reminded of this article from Stephen P. Anderson http://uxmas.com/2012/ux-design-role-playing-and-micromoments Here, he recommends a great way to design a web form like a human conversation. Great video too.

    Thanks again!
    John

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    1. Thanks for sharing that, John. I'll check it out.

      Annette :-)

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  5. Nice work. Programa de administracion de fincas

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