The Human Touch: Successful Online Experiences Prioritize Customers

Companies that deliver engaging online experiences for their customers share several innovative traits, according to the experts.

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There’s a lot of talk about delivering superior customer experiences, but how does that play out in the online world? What are innovative companies doing to shape these digital interactions?

We put these questions to the IDG Influencer Network, a community of industry analysts, IT professionals, and journalists who contribute their knowledge and expertise to the broader IDG community.

The secret sauce: a fully informed customer view and a human touch.

A focus on the customer

Companies that are succeeding in online innovation “really and truly understand their customers,” says Ben Rothke (@benrothke), senior information security manager at Tapad. “Too many firms focus on what their consultants say but don’t have deep insights into what their customers want and need. Those that have that understanding, combined with staff who can deliver on that, are able to deliver a great online experience.”

Other IDG Influencers concur:

  • “One of the primary drivers of creating and delivering innovative online experiences is taking an outside-in approach. This means viewing the company’s interactions with the customer from the customer’s perspective and aligning everyone in the business, from top to bottom, around meeting the customer’s needs, wants, and expectations.” —Gene De Libero (@GeneDeLibero), chief strategy officer at GeekHive.com
  • “In order for an online business or industry to be considered innovative, it must stand out in some useful or novel way. Innovation comes in many forms, but unless the audience understands and retains the story, it can be easily distracted by the rest of the internet. People learn about technology, products, ideas, and brands through storytelling, so companies need to choose the right story and tell it well.” —Scott Schober (@ScottBVS), president/CEO Berkeley Varitronics Systems, Inc.

A human-centric approach

So how do you actually demonstrate and innovate based on customer focus? The experts suggest a personal touch.

  • “You have to be stepping up the customer service game — meeting and exceeding customer expectations online 24/7. The best companies are creating seamless experiences and giving customers and employees the human touch in a very unique way. Sometimes that human touch isn’t even human at all, but the experience is so authentic that customers and employees alike can’t even tell the difference.” —Peggy Smedley (@ConnectedWMag), editorial director, Connected World.
  • “The best online experiences are driven by industries and companies that truly understand what terms like human-centric They are exceptionally creative in using the human experience to evoke an emotion — whether that means homing in on our foibles, celebrating our collective spirit, or exposing our vulnerabilities. They are masters at translating the human experience into the digital experience.” —Joanne Friedman, Ph.D. (@joannefriedman), CEO/principal, Smart Manufacturing at Connektedminds Inc.

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