Achieving True Customer Connection

Customers and consumers often complain that companies don’t listen, don’t understand and don’t empathise (properly).
“Everybody’s trying to sell me something but no one wants to look after me!!”
There is growing evidence of confusion in organisations about the digitisation of customer experiences and how to authentically connect with the customer using technology.
Is this indeed possible and if so then how?
Increasingly the experts in customer digital experience are using words like empathy, authenticity and connection. Humanising the customer experience has become not just a nice to have but a necessary focus, because without the authentic connection, customers will and do leave.
A recent study by Penn State University backs this up. According to the study, which was based on a survey of over 100 students recruited to take part in chat sessions on a fictitious ecommerce site, people using web chat are happier with the customer experience when an agent used emoticons as they were felt to empathise more with the customer. Agents who typed quickly when answering questions also rated highly, as this behaviour mimicked the back-and-forth exchanges of a real conversation.
To be human, to use technology, to authentically connect… these may seem like oxymorons but in fact they are now at the heart of outstanding customer experiences.
Jane Peacock, CEO of Partners in Digital, says that the problem often occurs when, within organisations, the customer experience is carved up into silos. For example marketing, digital, product, complaints and other departments all own a slice of the customer experience and while the intention is excellent, the execution means that true customer connection is lost.
I learnt a lot about the ability to have true customer intimacy over a digital channel when I spoke to Jane this week on the Fast Track podcast. She enlightened me on how it is possible to create true customer connection through authenticity and empathy using technology.