Make it Technology-Aided and Human-Powered: Map the Hybrid Journey

Thank you for joining me for this series titled “Make it Technology-Aided and Human-Powered.” This series will provide tools to help you position your customer and employee experience for relevance in a COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 world. This installment is titled “Map the Hybrid Journey.”

I now know how my mom felt when I lost my driver’s license at age 16 for repeatedly speeding in my ’57 Chevy. She didn’t mince words and forcefully said, “I told you what would happen if you didn’t change your ways.”

As a consultant, I’ve never actually said to a client, I told you so, but sometimes I’ve entertained the thought. Particularly, when I look back on consultations with leaders who were reluctant to invest in technology-aided human service before COVID-19.

During the crisis, I watched some of them scurry to patch together technology solutions with varying degrees of success. In pre-pandemic times, I tried to tell them that their “one-size fits all” approach wasn’t working to serve both digital natives and digital aliens. They needed, at a minimum, to provide digital-only and high human touch options.

In reality, most customers have a preference for digital or high touch, but few follow one path through their entire journey with a brand. For example, my son does almost everything digitally, but he will reach out to a person when he has a complicated question. By contrast, I think digital-first but often seek human service interactions.

By creating two paths across customer touchpoints, you give your customers a choice as to which path they want to take at every critical moment. When the pandemic hit, you were also able to make a smooth pivot, as lockdowns occurred.

Now that COVID-19 has the attention of leaders, I find myself reminding them that technology is not a panacea and that they need to maintain the human-powered path as well. Bill Gates put it this way, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” From my perspective, the first rule of technology is that it should enhance human service, not replace it.

In next week’s installment, I will share how technology is augmenting humanity. In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you are crafting both a digital-only AND a human-powered path. I might share how some of my clients are doing the same. Let’s talk. Please reach out to me here.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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