The Human Touch
It’s just another weekday at Mazama’s. As I stand in line, I watch as a woman gracefully moves from one task to another with ease. She makes eye contact and greets every person who comes through the door. She often knows what the person wants before they even ask, as if she reads minds. She asks about your kids by name and asks about your recent vacation.
You might think I’m describing a psychic. No, it’s Kim, the barista at my local coffee shop. Kim knows her customers and what they want. She enjoys her job and is one of those “magical” employees you want to clone. She is sincere, helpful, and – above all – genuine. My day is not fully complete if it is a day that Kim is not working. (Which by the way, is Mondays.)
Rapid Technology: Changes and Expectations
We know that technologies are a part of our daily lives that is here to stay – from smart devices to social media and beyond. That means our experiences are rapidly and constantly changing. Our expectations are influenced by the next trend or new gadget and we expect our human interactions to be the same.
But we, as humans, are not designed to be digitally connected 24/7 and devour information at warp speed.
For years, technology has paved the way by providing solutions for solving issues and creating sufficient experiences for customers, while leaving one important ingredient behind: human touch. While technology enhances our customer journey, it is ultimately the genuine kindness and empathy provided by the human connection that is the hallmark of each experience.
The Customer Journey
The customer journey still relies on human touch and these three components: empathy, anticipation, and authenticity.
- Empathy – The ability to make our customers feel heard and understood.
- Anticipation – The ability to know what a customer needs before they even realize it.
- Authenticity – The ability to truly listen to others, evaluate what has been said, and get the help you need.
Empathy, anticipation, and authenticity are at the core of what creates genuine, memorable, and valuable experiences.
So, let’s ask ourselves, “What are the characteristics of an employee who delivers these genuine, memorable, and valuable experiences?”
- Genuine– They are sincere. They are kind by nature and are honest and trustworthy.
- Memorable– They are engaging. They engage with each customer in a personal way and creates a memory as the hallmark of that experience.
- Valuable – They are very useful and helpful. They will go out of their way to help.
When I was a manager and looking to hire new staff, I would look for individuals who were genuine, sincere, and competent. I felt confident that I could teach a competent person how to do the job. However, I could not teach someone to be a truly good person.
Until the technology becomes advanced enough to harness the power of human connection, banks and credit unions will still need to blend both technological and human components to help create lasting and meaningful customer experiences.
Now, consider the impact that was made on my customer journey from simply buying a cup of coffee each morning. How much greater of a customer experience impact would a customer expect from their community bank?
How is your staff creating genuine, memorable, and valuable experiences for your customers?