Customer service has always been an integral component of operating a successful business. But the way in which companies take on this task is certainly changing. In a world of always-on and an overabundance of choice, customers expect a lot more from the businesses that they choose to support. Plus, a global economy encourages us to live and conduct business beyond borders (and time zones), without traditional business hours slowing us down.
So where is the world moving when it comes to delivering an experience that customers truly value? If images of futuristic technology that can interact with customers using artificial intelligence come to mind, you’re only seeing half the picture. In an increasingly automated world, retaining the basic principles of human interaction has become an important differentiator for businesses.
Using technology to improve human connection
Increasingly, the corporate world is using machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to assist with automating daily communication processes, and improve the customer journey. Having the capability to anticipate your customers’ needs is an easy way to improve their overall experience when interacting with your brand.
AI can help create a hyper-personalized experience for individual customers by analysing variables like past queries or product preferences. Businesses can also use AI to monitor app and website activity, identifying issues that customers are having so resolutions can be provided in real time. It can even help combat fraud, and solve simple and repetitive tasks for customer service.
Yet, this doesn’t mean that we have to rely solely upon technology to deliver an outstanding customer experience. The businesses of the future use the latest technology to both become more efficient, and to improve human-to-human connections. AI can help to support a more efficient customer service offering by categorizing and tagging emails, rerouting calls and answering basic questions – allowing customer service agents to hone in on higher-level interactions that provide more value.
The best of both worlds: technology and humanity
The right combination of innovative technology and human connection is the secret sauce to building strong relationships with your customer. Brands that embrace new technology, while still maintaining a personalised human approach to the way that they operate and interact with consumers, will be best positioned for future success.
One business that embodies this effective mix of modern and traditional approaches to customer service is digital wine retailer, Vinomofo.
Thanks to an innovative strategy for connecting with customers from the start, Vinomofo transformed itself from a wine community operating out of a garage to one that’s now selling online in multiple markets, with more global expansion on the horizon.
Treat people well, and be generous with your time and resources
When we chatted with co-founder Justin Dry, he told us that the secret to their ongoing success has been their focus on their customers on an individual basis, and on creating a community that their customers can be a part of. By going above and beyond, they make their customers feel special, which in turn helps increase word of mouth referrals and sales.
“We have been hand writing personal Christmas cards to our early adopters every time we’ve launched in a new market. The impact that has on people, the amount of people they tell, and how much love, support, and care they feel when they’re receiving that card, is incredible. It’s a perfect example of the power of something that most businesses would consider completely unscaleable.”
“We also gave our first thousand mofos the title ‘foundation members,’ and sent a few little gifts, including a key ring with a number indicating which mofo they were when they signed up. It sounds old school, but I still get people coming up to me on the street showing me that keyring. Not all of it is trackable, but you only have to be doing it for a little while to start seeing results. Treating people well and being generous with your time and resources comes back a thousand times over.”
Investing in new social media platforms early to harvest that first-mover advantage helped drive sales, but Justin attributes their impressive growth to advocacy from existing mofos.
“Despite the size of the business growing substantially over the years, the number one source of new customers has always been referrals. Our focus has been to look after our customers so bloody well and to deliver a product that is so amazing that they have to tell their friends. It sounds a bit cliché, but it really has been at the core of our growth.”
“Treating people well and being generous with your time and resources comes back a thousand times over.”
Vinomofo is using traditional tactics to grow a modern community.
In an increasingly automated world, never forget the power of the human touch
At OFX, we take a human-centric approach to balancing tech and customer care. We’re fusing the best innovations that technology has to offer with our belief in the benefits and importance of human interaction.
Our customers can set up an international money transfer in minutes, and track every transfer with our app. But if they encounter problems along the way, our global team operates with a 24/7 model, offering personal support via phone at any time, in any place.
As a company, we never forget the power of the human touch. As explained by our CEO Skander Malcolm, our customer facing teams are dealing with highly emotional situations;
“The reasons behind each foreign money transfer vary greatly, but what they have in common is an extremely high level of importance to the customer. Whether you are distributing the proceeds of a deceased estate, placing a deposit on a second home, paying a supplier in another country, or funding a much anticipated, once in a lifetime trip, these are all very personal and high emotional investment situations. Much is at stake. Our people take that into account when they are dealing with customers; they are masters of empathy but also highly astute, professional problem solvers.”
Is your business keeping up with what customers really need?
The world of customer service is changing, and at a rapid pace. Forward-thinking business owners are combining the best in today’s technology with old school tactics that foster a genuine connection between business and consumer that’s hard to come by these days.
So, what are you going to do to keep your customers happy and coming back for more in the years to come?
Where The World’s Moving
Welcome to the Where the World’s Moving content series that celebrates what it means to be a global citizen told through the eyes of the people that are living and breathing this ethos every day. Go to Hub
IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. UKForex Limited (trading as “OFX”) and its affiliates make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.