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In some cases, for me the answer is a resounding no!
As a customer engagement provider, helping clients to deliver exceptional customer experience is my day job. My advice to brands that deliver substandard human customer contact – switch now to a digital experience before it’s too late.
An automated experience might actually be faster, friendlier and more consistent than dealing with a real human being. This was apparent after a recent visit to a high street Building Society to open a new account. The poor customer in front of me was being forced to point out the inefficient colleague who had lost his paperwork the week before, so the very public blame game could begin with gusto. After this embarrassing finger pointing exercise was over the banking colleague progressed to inform the man that without the necessary paperwork - computer says no! There was nothing they could do to overcome their own inefficiencies, there was no apology, no resolution, no happy customer. I was also turned away and told that I would need to make an appointment to speak to a human, which I did with trepidation the following week.
When I arrived for my appointment, I was ushered into a broom cupboard and sat in front of a screen where I had the joy of discussing my impending banking relationship with a human who wasn’t physically present but displayed on a monitor. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for efficiency, but as part of my customer duties I had to operate the printer, and identify misplaced paperwork as the Max Headroom like apparition was unhelpfully not present.
I left feeling bewildered, how wrong had this particular organisation got things? As customers we want fairly simple things, we want helpful, genuine service, we want a bit of respect, we want to feel important and we are looking for value for money. How much faith will we have as customers if we witness the unhelpful manner of human colleagues?
In today’s market there is no room for inadequacies, to survive the brand experience has to be effective and consistent across all channels. If staff can’t be relied upon, replace your humans with a digital experience that supports your brand values. Allow customers to interact with you at their convenience about things that are important to them, in a way that builds trust and customer confidence.
Don’t try to emulate a personal experience online unless it’s already great, banking needs to step up to the challenge.
If you want advice on how to create customer engagement contact us here.