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Sales and Service, Thought Leadership 20 October 2020

How can you connect better with customers?

Why bringing the human touch to your customer conversations is more relevant than ever…

More and more often, our first interaction with a brand will be through technology. It may be a customer service chatbot on a website which fields our initial queries before we’re passed onto a human. It might be a call bot that asks us a number questions before deciding which relevant department to pass us on to. Even in our own homes, we may pose a query to our Amazon Alexa or Echo, rather than we people we live with. Alexa now even adds in personal touches such as “I hope you’re having a lovely morning” so that that interaction feels more human. More real.

Amusingly, we may even get half-way through a conversation before it clicks that we’re speaking to a chatbot. So what is it that signposts this to us? Usually, it’s because those touchpoints that we know and recognise as human aren’t quite there. Yes, technology is becoming more sophisticated and more intertwined in our lives as consumers, but at the same time these automated interactions also serve to highlight what’s absent from them, and that’s an authentic human connection.

Ultimately, it’s that human connection that will enable you to build better relationships with customers. LinkedIn were early backers of this position earlier this year, even before the disruption of the global pandemic, when they declared, “2020 is the year of the human connection.” They illustrated that marketing technology solutions were not necessarily creating the results organisations hoped for and warned, “If you are not getting the sales results you anticipate, then the problem may lie not in the technology, but in an area you may not be considering - communication.”

So how do you improve your communication with your customers? Is it just about implementing more robust customer service training for customer-facing staff? According to this report, businesses across the United States lose $62 billion every year due to poor customer service, so of course this matters. However, it also has to be the right kind of customer service training. LinkedIn argue that the organisations which focus on “training their sellers to be more self-aware… stand a better chance to engage customers better.” Put simply, self-awareness can improve customer service.

It makes sense. Having an increased awareness of their unique selling style means employees can offer a better overall experience for customers. There are always going to be differing strengths and weaknesses in any customer-facing team, but having the self-awareness to know what needs to be worked on at an individual level – data analysis, storytelling, or really listening to the customer – is so important. However, it’s also crucial to recognise that it’s not just about the seller; it’s about the customer. One thing that technology can’t do is to tune into the subtle behavioural cues that a customer demonstrates and adapt accordingly. As a human, that’s entirely within your remit.

This is where Insights’ language of colour really comes into play. Each customer that you engage with will be different, depending on which colour energy preference they lead with – Fiery Red, Sunshine Yellow, Earth Green or Cool Blue. Some customers may be really clear on their objectives and want to make a decision immediately. Others might want to walk through everything, ask questions, and then take some time to consider all the options before coming back with an answer. Being able to recognise those unique customer needs, and then being agile in how you respond, will always get better results than anything a bot or blanket customer service training can offer.

So what have we learned about customer service in 2020? In many ways, we’ve gone back to basics. Perhaps, in part, due to the pandemic, we’re craving meaningful human connections more than ever. It’s not the time to be bewitched by tech, or to automate every step of the customer journey, or to forget to sprinkle in a human touch as we guide people down our sales funnels. It’s about doing everything we can to create the best possible experience for customers – something you can only do by forming real and authentic human connections.

If you’d like to find out more about how you can build better connections with your customer base then take a look at our exciting new product, Connecting with Customers, and get in touch today.

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