Digitalization and the Customer Experience—
Don’t Forget the Human Element
BY MAT THE W MERKER
As the post-millennial generation begins to ramp up in the consumer market, companies eek to better understand their new customer base while also meeting increasingly onerous
expectations. This generation, like the one before it, expects faster results and near instant gratification in its
buying experience. Loyalty in consumerism is a thing
of the past, and competition has never been tougher. In
order to meet the new burdens of demand, product and
service providers continue to transform their customer
service capability, examining the entirety of the “
customer journey” rather than simply a single transaction
approach, as was the practice of the past.
Digital innovation is the driving force behind much
of the customer service transformations that are occurring today, and the spectrum of capability is wide and
diverse. Along the maturity scale of customer service
digital capability, companies’ abilities range from basic rule-based automation of digital interactions with
customers to cutting-edge artificial intelligence to improve processes, find greater efficiencies, and improve
response times, ultimately creating a better customer
experience with the hope of increased loyalty, retention, and repeat business. Additionally, digital innovations are opening new channels of communication with
customers, moving beyond call centers and websites to
more mobile apps and platforms that offer greater accessibility and transparency than ever before.
As the transition to greater digital integration continues to gain momentum, consultants in this market
are capitalizing on this opportunity. With unique insights into digital tools and methodologies across a
variety of industries, geographies, and competencies,
consulting firms can bring quick assessment of client
digital maturity and tailored tools to fit their specific
customer experience goals. Companies engaged with
savvy digital consultants can rapidly develop digital
capability while remaining agile to the tumultuous nature of the current consumer market.
While digitalization is
clearly the hallmark capability for customer experience going forward, it is
important to note that the
human element of customer service will not go away,
at least not any time soon.
while growing significantly in capability, still cannot fully replace the agility
and understanding of customer service representatives.
And while the latest generation prefers communication
through digital mediums, previous generations remain
quite active in the consumer market, and a significant
portion of these generations still prefer the human
touch. To that end, in order to create a holistic high
end customer experience, product and service providers must strike a balance between digital and human.
Too much investment in one can lead to shortcomings in the other. Companies must make shrewd decisions in their prioritization based on understanding of
their target customer base, the products and services
they sell, and the most effective mediums in which to
Innovation and evolution of the customer experience is creating a plethora of new opportunities for
consultants in this market. The firms poised to gain the
most are those that not only remain leading edge in
the development of digital capability, but also do not
lose sight of the human element to customer service.
With a finger on the pulse of both of these capabilities,
consultants can bring holistic transformation to clients,
developing customer experiences with the agility and
foresight to become and remain best-in-class.
Matthew Merker is a Senior Analyst—Consulting Research
of ALM Intelligence.