Coming out of the chaos of COVID-19, brands will be leaning into the humanization of customer experience.
In the frenzied world prior to the pandemic, it was always about speed. How quickly can you get something accomplished? Post-pandemic, I have a theory that the actual speed of transactions will still be important, but the surrounding human contact will add value that was severely overlooked in the past. Let me explain.
Prior to the pandemic, people were shifting from in-store transactions at a bank or at a retail store to be self-checkout or mobile engagements. The transition was slow, but it was happening. During the pandemic, these accelerated as people no longer wanted to enter the store. They defaulted to curbside or delivery. Banks started to shutter their doors and default to mobile interactions. This drove efficiency and human behavior was changed.
Now, people are accustomed to those efficiencies, and when they do enter the store they are happier to be there and are very accepting of a smiling face (under a mask, of course) who greets them and wishes them a good day.
The greeters in retail were many times overlooked as everyone pedaled right past them. Now they are noticed, and many people respond to them.
Brands have withstood the pandemic, and some have emerged more trusted and stronger as a result. A strong brand coupled with a positive experience results in a more loyal customer in the long term.
I used to walk into my local bank where the tellers knew me, my family and my business. They knew what I was there for and they went above and beyond to provide me with what I needed.
Things changed as efficiency became more prevalent and I started to feel like a a statistic or a customer number. The bank was interested in getting me in and out as quickly as possibly monetizing me more. They were no longer interested in knowing about me. I had become a statistic or a customer number. I was no longer Cory Treffiletti.
Now that banks can depend confidently on the technology and the multiple formats of transactional engagement that have been put in place, they are beginning to realize again the power of that emotional attachment. Tellers are starting to ask questions and treat me like Cory Treffiletti again, rather than customer number “insert 16 digit code here.”
The more brands realize the need for post-pandemic re-humanization of the experience, the more likely they are to create stronger customer loyalty. All relationships survive on a combination of two elements: logic and emotion. Logic refers to whether you can supply the service I need. Emotion refers to whether I enjoy the service enough to repeat the engagement and maybe even share my thoughts about the experience with others. Word of mouth and social media are how that manifests, and they are powerful elements of the relationship.
Are you looking at the ways your experience can be “re-humanized”? If not, I strongly urge you to start -- or risk getting left behind.