The In-Person Customer Experience


The concept of the online, in-person customer experience is still relatively new, yet the possibilities are continuing to unfold as we now have the tools and technology to create seamless engagement across several digital channels. The challenge for companies will be to incorporate this new hybrid model (in-person and online) to meet the needs of today’s consumers who expects high-touch and multi-channel interactions.

According to The CEO Guide to Customer Experience by McKinsey, 75% of customers expect service within five minutes of making contact with a company and tools like live chat and bots make that type of immediate response possible. The question, however, is how much personalization and authenticity gets lost between a representative and a customer when using automated or digital solutions?

While customers may expect real-time interaction within a digital landscape, they don’t want to sacrifice the high-touch experience that comes with in-person experiences. As Wharton marketing professor Americus Reed puts it, “When non-human customer service works, it works extremely well, but when it works poorly, it works extremely poorly. When a human is in the interaction, there is an opportunity to course-correct, and that’s less the case with chatbots.”

So how does a company develop a customer service experience that blends both ends of the spectrum to meet consumer expectations? To answer that question, let’s look at the advantages of each.

In-Person Interactions

Personal Attention- If an individual is planning on making a purchase, they want to make sure their questions are being answered and their concerns are understood. With the myriad of questions and concerns they may have, a personal touch gives them the feeling that they are getting the attention they want as opposed to being pushed through a one-size-fits-all journey.

Selling a Feeling- This is especially vital when selling (or servicing) an intangible product. A little more than twenty years ago, Antonio Damasio, professor of neuroscience at the University of Southern California, shared the findings of his studies in a book called Descartes’ Error. In the book, Damasio uses data and neurological examples to argue the fact that emotion is a necessary ingredient in almost all decisions, it can be very difficult to generate emotion from a prospect without real live human interaction.

A Face to a Name- Being able to interact with someone face-to-face, or even just hearing someone’s voice increases authenticity and helps build trust. Being able to put a face to a name goes a long way in influencing a person’s decision to complete a transaction.

On-Time Online Interactions

Easy Access to Information- With chatbots or digital information portals, like well-mapped out websites, customers can access information that is pertinent to their journey without any wait time. In an age where almost any information is available with a few keystrokes, customers have come to expect instant access to answers for their questions.

Mobile Responsiveness- Google has found that nearly 60% of all of its searches are done on mobile. With a digital customer experience solution that is responsive across all formats of devices, companies can key in on this still-growing trend and take advantage of the volume of mobile searches.

Seamlessness- If a company has a well-built, interactive customer experience threaded throughout its website and its accompanying channels, then the customer can:

    1. Get information on a product or service.
    1. Have specific questions answered.
    1. Complete a purchase.
  1. Receive post-purchase service.

In fact, many companies allow customers to do all of these things right from their smartphone.

Hybrid Solutions

As you can see, there are advantages to both models, but what features and capabilities would the perfect hybrid have?

This is the question Glia asked when putting together its award winning OmniCore and OmniBrowse solutions.

OmniBrowse is a proprietary CoBrowsing platform that allows representatives to browse in tandem on a company website with a customer without the hassle of installing or downloading any application. This means a customer has access to all of the information on the site without the risk of getting lost or navigating to the wrong area or page; an agent is there to guide them through the journey in real time. It is a powerful solution, especially for companies that already have digital channels in place.

OmniCore is an all-in-one solution that provides chat, video chat, and CoBrowsing capabilities together.

When developing the perfect hybrid of online and in-person customer experience, here are just a few of the necessary benchmarks based on industry data and best practices to consider:

  • Immediate Access to Human Interaction-  With OmniCore, chat is available as soon as a customer lands on a site.
  • Personalization- A customer can launch a video chat within the OmniCore framework and get to see, hear, and speak with a live agent. This allows companies to harness the scope of a global market footprint while still providing the customer with a personal face-to-face interaction.
  • Human Level Support- Just as an in-person salesperson would be able to guide a customer through a store to the right solutions and journey points, CoBrowsing allows the same level of real-time, high touch service. Glia customers have found that a combination of CoBrowsing and Video chat has a 69% lift in conversion over just chat alone.

As you can see, it is possible to put together a customer experience model that meets the immediate service expectations of today’s customer along with the personal touch of an in-person interaction. It just takes the right blend of tools and tech to get the job done.

You can see OmniCore and OmniBrowse live in action here.