‘More than ever before, the human touch is the recipe for customer loyalty’ – Companies

The runaway digitization creates opportunities, says Stefan Debois, CEO of Pointerpro. “Invest in strengthening the human relationship with your customer and you will reap double benefits in the long term.”

It may sound strange coming from the founder of a software company, but digitization has gone too far in many places today. This means that there are opportunities for companies that find the right balance between technology and the human touch: They can not only boost their employees’ job satisfaction, they can also win back customers from the large but anonymous companies.

Over the past few weeks, I have read the cries of distress from business leaders who are desperately looking for talent in Trends. In difficult economic times, attracting and retaining employees is still the biggest challenge for many companies. Digitization can help those companies. Because computers free us from boring, repetitive tasks and from monotonous, mindless work. The increasingly scarce talent can therefore take on challenging, meaningful tasks. Tasks with which they can really make a difference to customers and colleagues.

More than ever before, the human touch is the recipe for customer loyalty.

Companies that use digital tools in the right way can tap into the three ABCs of job satisfaction: Digitization can strengthen their employees’ autonomy, involvement and skills. Technology can even lower the threshold for talking about mental well-being. For example, a digital examination can detect psychological complaints at an early stage, after which employers can conduct a one-to-one interview or refer people to professional help.

The digital pendulum has swung

That example illustrates how important the interaction between digital technology and the human touch is. It is not easy to find that balance. Today we see the pendulum swinging too much in many sectors. Bank branches will disappear, instead you will receive a polite email in which the bank asks you to pay extra for personal assistance. “You want to see another human? Pay first.” The rule has become the exception: the service that was taken for granted in analogue time is now becoming a more expensive premium service.

The tech giants that have penetrated deep into our lives go one step further. They are anonymous black boxes where you see no one. Even for business-to-business customers who spend thousands of euros a month (like us), Google and Amazon do not have a fixed point of contact.

This rampant digitization offers opportunities for companies. This is the paradox of digitization: the more we are surrounded by technology, the stronger the human touch, which is becoming rare, becomes noticeable. I see banks starting to row against the current ones and opening new branches that you can just call directly. I see companies in the energy sector or the telecommunications world rushing to strengthen their customer service because their remote chatbot is costing them customers.

Creativity and intuition

The transfer of information, with all its nuances, is ever faster from person to person. You can perfectly change a password with that chatbot, but as a consumer you still want to see or hear a person for complex issues. Giving customers access to people who in turn have access to digital systems: that is the model of customer loyalty in these technological times. Most online reviews in my company are not about the product, but about our people.

Invest in strengthening the human relationship with your customer and you will reap double benefits in the long term. No machine can compete with human creativity and human intuition.

It may sound strange coming from the founder of a software company, but digitization has gone too far in many places today. This means that there are opportunities for companies that find the right balance between technology and the human touch: they can not only boost their employees’ job satisfaction, they can also win back customers from the large but anonymous companies.In Trends, I regularly hear . distress call from business leaders desperate for talent. In difficult economic times, attracting and retaining employees is still the biggest challenge for many companies. Digitization can help those companies. Because computers free us from boring, repetitive tasks and from monotonous, mindless work. The increasingly scarce talent can therefore take on challenging, meaningful tasks. Tasks that they can really make a difference to customers and to colleagues. Companies that use digital tools in the right way can tap into the three ABCs of job satisfaction: Digitization can strengthen their employees’ autonomy, involvement and skills. Technology can even lower the threshold for talking about mental well-being. For example, a digital survey can detect psychological complaints at an early stage, after which employers can conduct a one-to-one interview or refer people to professional help. This example illustrates the importance of the interaction between digital technology and the human touch. It is not easy to find that balance. Today we see the pendulum swinging too much in many sectors. Bank branches will disappear, instead you will receive a polite email in which the bank asks you to pay extra for personal assistance. “You want to see another human? Pay first.” The rule has become the exception: the service that was taken for granted in analogue time is now becoming a more expensive premium service. The tech giants that have penetrated deep into our lives go one step further. These are anonymous black boxes where you don’t see a person. Even for business-to-business customers who spend thousands of euros per month (such as ourselves), Google and Amazon do not provide a fixed contact person. This rampant digitization offers companies opportunities. This is the paradox of digitization: the more we are surrounded by technology, the stronger the human touch, which is becoming rare, becomes noticeable. I see banks starting to row against the current ones and opening new branches that you can just call directly. I see companies in the energy sector or the telecom world rushing to strengthen their customer service because their distant chatbot is costing them customers. The transfer of information, with all its nuances, is ever faster from person to person. You can change a password perfectly with that chatbot, but as a consumer you still want to see or hear a person for complex issues. Giving customers access to people who in turn have access to digital systems: that is the model of customer loyalty in these technological times. Most online reviews in my company are not about the product, but about our people Invest in strengthening the human relationship with your customer and you will reap double benefits in the long run. No machine can compete with human creativity and human intuition.

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