As the world around us seems to move at an ever-increasing pace, we are reminded daily just how fast the tech and digital space is advancing and the effect that is having on our lives. As business owners, we need to be aware of the changes and be open to evolution in the ways we do business.
You only need to look at what you can do on a smartphone, how you can order things online, and how we can connect more than ever before with people.
AI – Artificial Intelligence is becoming more and more commonplace. As people in traditional customer service roles and bricks and mortar stores get replaced by computers and bots, I think it's time to reflect on what makes up human connections and what creates brand loyalty and repeat customers.
Most businesses strive to offer excellent customer service, and nowhere is it more important than in the tourism and hospitality industry to put your best face forward.
If we want to offer the best customer service experience to our customers and potential customers online, in-store and in any touchpoint they may have with our business, it stands to reason that we still, even in this tech-savvy age, need to focus on human to human marketing. Adding AI and streamlined processing is necessary to grow in the digital age, but I believe there has never been a more critical time to focus on human to human marketing.
What is human to human marketing? Well, it’s having real human beings on the end of campaigns, social media and customer enquiries.
And why is it so important…?
Because… as heard at a recent conference:
"Most recent studies have concluded that customers are human."
We are all human beings, and let’s face it all human beings want to be treated with care, love and respect. Also, we all know that emotional motivators cause people to buy a product or service.
Of course, some processes can be enhanced by AI, but at the end of the day, we want to talk and connect with a real-life human being who can show empathy where it's due, and who can demonstrate their unique sense of humour and brand qualities.
So, as we move further and further to a digitised world of AI, we can reduce costs, reduce human error, and we can streamline our processes. Still, we also remove the one thing that humans crave, and that is having contact, connection and empathy with another human being. When we look to streamline, cut corners and lower costs, we can often also lose the most critical parts of our business, whilst also allow ourselves to be sold the newest and brightest shiny thing, thinking it will solve all of our problems.
I wholeheartedly believe that the businesses that will excel, those that will win at the game of marketing, in the long run, are the ones that still hold the customer at the heart of everything they do. These are the businesses who place a significant emphasis on connection and growing their businesses through people.
And I think that it is a robust conversation we need to be having. In my opinion, the businesses that will be future-proofed will be dabbling in both AI and exceptional customer experience, but the ones that will stand out will be the ones who still hold the customer first and foremost at the heart of everything they do.
Love to hear your thoughts.
Kate Bickford MD & Owner - BK AGENCY: