Even digital customers want human touch

| 22 Aug 2017

Even for customers (especially millennials) who are typically more prone to use digital channels, there are many situations in which customers prefer to engage with people, according to Accenture Strategy's Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement report.

In the rush to take advantage of all-things-digital, many companies have lost sight of the value of human connections. That is a costly oversight, it said, as consumers actually prefer human interactions for a number of sales and services situations:

The report said that companies have invested significantly in digital technologies to create more personalised connections and, by extension, drive profitable growth. Ironically, a number of these investments are producing the opposite results. Companies are beginning to recognise their over-reliance on digital has come at a high price. To optimise their growth potential and deliver the experiences customers demand, they need to balance their digital exuberance with a human touch.

Companies that rely too heavily on digital interactions might be extending their reach, but they’re alienating valuable customers and losing out on upsell and cross-sell opportunities due to the lack of personalisation customers want. Ironically, the savings brought about by digital efficiencies are increasingly offset by the promotions and discounts companies must now offer to win customers back. In fact, many companies are approaching a tipping point where the expense associated with digital exceeds the value of digital benefits. The lack of a balanced approach to digital and non-digital experiences comes with a significant cost.

Accenture has found that customers who can engage with providers across multiple channels are more valuable.

  • In the retail sector, multi-channel customers are responsible for 3.2 times the sales and 2.6 times the margin of store-only customers.
  • In banking, multi-channel customers purchase 1.4 times the products and are 15% more likely than digital-only customers to serve as advocates for their providers.
  • Consumers are more than twice as likely to be upsold (45% vs 18%) through a human interaction than through a digital channel.

Before companies can seize the economic benefits that accompany multiple modes of interaction, they need to first agree that a one-size-fits-all approach to customer engagement won’t work. Instead, what’s needed is a strategic mix of digital and non-digital options that allows customers to pursue the experience they want at any given time.

For a copy of the report, download Accenture Strategy’s Digital Disconnect in Customer Engagement