The Importance of High Touch in a High-Tech World
The other day, I received a form letter in the mail from my life insurance company. It was the exact same letter I’ve received once or twice a year for the past few years.
The letter starts out by calling me a “valued client” and goes on to suggest that my financial advisor can help me with many other products and urges me to contact him to review our needs.
It’s been four years since we established the policy and I’ve not seen the advisor since. Nor, has he called to follow up with us or ask about our financial goals or see what he can do to help.
And you know what?
When it came time for us to work with a financial planner a couple of years ago, we hired someone else.
In the world of technology and automation, it’s really easy to program automatic letters to follow up with clients or send email drip campaigns.
And, while all of those things can indeed be beneficial, they need to be coupled with high touch.
Balancing technology and customer service
Last week, Adam Toporek talked about the changes JC Penney is making with their check out experience. They are forgoing check out counters in favor of self-serve check outs using a variety of mobile technologies.
Although this sounds like an innovative idea, it removes an important element from the buying experience – customer service.
Technology can definitely be used to improve our lives and how we run our businesses, but it shouldn’t completely replace the human element of how we deliver our service.
In the marketing world, we should look for ways technology can help us better serve and interact with our clients. This means we should focus just as much on the customer experience as we do going out and attracting business. After all, it’s easier (and more cost effective) to focus on customer retention than customer acquisition.
Integrating high touch into your business
So, how do you integrate high touch into your customer experience? Here are some ideas:
- Pick up the phone and call customers to check on them – not just to sell them more stuff.
- Find out how your customers like to be communicated with and engage that way – phone, email, text message, Skype, etc.
- Take the time to understand your clients’ pain points and find solutions that will make their lives better and easier – even if it’s not something you provide.
- Make recommendations that benefit your clients (instead of focusing on lining your pockets).
- Look for ways to make the buying process painless and simple for clients.
- Ask clients how you can serve them better.
- Write a handwritten note to say hello and thank them for their business.
- Say hello to them on social networks individually.
- Anticipate their needs and doing something BEFORE they ask for it.
- Offering a little something extra for free, just to surprise and delight them.
- Go out of your way to do something fun and unexpected to reward loyal customers.
- Remember their hobbies and interests and send gifts (birthday, holiday, thank you, etc.) that go along with that.
- Send articles to them that you think they might enjoy.
- Go beyond remembering their birthday and remember their kids’ birthdays or other significant milestones or events in their lives.
- Send them a little something for other holidays, such as Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving.
What do you think? What are some ways you integrate high touch into your business?
Image credit: Seth W.