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The rising importance of the human touch in customer experience

When was the last time you were surprised - and I mean truly surprised - by a service delivery? Probably doesn’t happen very much. But I’d bet anything that the last time it happened for you, it was a human who made the difference between a normal customer experience and a really surprisingly great customer experience. Because the one thing humans still have over machines is the ability to leave the script, and go above and beyond in the name of delivering something really great for a customer. Computers can confirm, but people can smile. This is key. Humans interaction is going to become increasingly valuable in a tech-dominated world. But the way to get the most out of it is to combine both in the right way.

I think the Disney film Inside Out illustrates how this plays out. Because through the framing of the film, we understand that our brains have some “programming problems” that have to be overcome – there are too many negative emotions, and we need to work to cultivate Joy. We need to remember to ask ourselves in any customer situation, “What would Joy do?” It used to be a truism that you would have to make a choice between customer intimacy and operational excellence. But with contemporary technology, this is now a false choice. You can have both. The proper technology in place with the properly trained and well-disposed human touch can help neutralize the negative emotions of your customers, and bring out more joy in the experiences they have. The right technology creates space for Human Interaction to do what it does best.

Technology is quickly becoming the commodity. This means that the human touch and human interaction is going to be the differentiator for your brand, for everyone’s brand. The law of scarcity will play its game: when something becomes scarce, its value increases. The human interface will decrease in frequency (will become scarce) and because of that, it will become more important than ever.