The communication sector’s responsibility to be in tune with the role of PR and marketing in customer experience has always been critical. A brand that neglects to understand how people wish to interact with it, is doomed from the outset. The tech industry, in particular, drives forward at an incredible pace. It is therefore essential for PRs and marketers to enter a two-way system of communication for the ultimate relationship between customer and brand.
Technology is continuously striving to solve inadequacies and speed up processes, to make life easier for humans. Whether it be your AI pizza maker or AI-generated music, both designed for optimum experiences, demand for perfect results at pace is ever-growing. AI is therefore creating microcosms of tech reality. Despite this, we are still striving to achieve the ultimate technology to replicate the human experience. For example, in recent months the advancement of quantum computing has been bolstered by an aspiration for AI to become more human-like. However, this push for the human element runs alongside our seeking vast and detailed performances of which humans are incapable. Most notably for the communications sector, is the rise of conversational AI in marketing.
Chatbots are becoming increasingly popular. Customers undoubtedly prefer to deal with the closest thing to a person as possible when communicating with a brand. Chatbots take this to a new level. Their ability to drive business development speaks for itself:
(Information source: boost.ai)
So, what is the conversational AI behind chatbots? Essentially, it’s the synthetic brainpower that makes chatbots capable of understanding, processing, and responding to human language. Such technology reinforces brand loyalty through more dynamic and memorable self-service experiences that allow customers to reach businesses 24/7. (Definition source: boost.ai)
The need for round-the-clock immediacy is seen time and time again in modern society. Individuals are willing to dedicate fewer and fewer hours to a single activity. As such, our inherently fast-paced society, which wants things to be progressively quicker, shows no sign of slowing down. The communications industry must therefore assist brands in meeting customer needs. Ultimately, this can only be done by understanding how people wish to interact with a said brand – usually by providing an immediate response to any query, at any time. Our culture with fast internet is breeding a population with both decreasing patience and attention spans. For this reason, the importance of human connection in customer experience is elevated, as people have more time for real people. Even better than that, is “people” (chatbot tech) who are at your beck and call day and night.
The hybrid FoW model so frequently discussed as a trend now is another indicator of the necessity for such balance between human interaction and technology. Although based on the employee, not the customer experience side of a business, its underlying message is fundamental. More and more companies appreciate the value of fostering a true culture of loyalty with customers and employees alike. The vital role of the human element in businesses and their subsequent productivity is undeniable.
When considering, then, how best to communicate with your customers, it is also imperative to note the generational shift in preferences between written communication versus verbal phone calling. At each end of the spectrum sits strangely similar preferences. This suggests cyclical tendencies in the relationship between humans and digital development:
- Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) prefer face-face communication, are embracing modern digital technology, and prefer Facebook/LinkedIn as their social media outlets.
- Generation X (born 1965-1979) prefer email communication and Facebook/Twitter as their social media channels
- Millennials (born 1980-1994) prefer email or text and aren’t loyal to any social. Media outlet.
- While Generation Z (born 1995-2012) likes written communication, but prefer in-person communication and are loyal to Instagram and Snapchat.
(Source: Design works)
There is clearly something in this approach, as scientists work to underpin brand communication with psychology in the latest development of neuromarketing (also known as consumer neuroscience). If businesses communicate with the ever-popular, omnichannel method alongside this human imperative, boundaries between brand and customer relations become limitless. So too does their ability to properly understand what they want from one another.
A Final Thought:
Daring to mention the pandemic here may seem bold and overdone, but it is hugely relevant. Our need for human connection, owing to the circumstances of the past year, has only swollen. Failing to realise the importance of intimacy alongside immediacy could render a brand not only ignorant but more crucially, insensitive. So, to avoid nebulous, outdated, and ineffective communication, find a balance between robotic speed and human connection.