Commercial and Operations Director, Vodafone Business
The COVID-19 pandemic has created new interest in low-touch ways for customers to interact with businesses.
Global lockdowns and public safety guidelines have given digital channels new appeal. With many customers seeking out self-service and contactless payment options much more than they used to.
This sharp rise in the low-touch economy has captured companies’ attention. It’s not just the younger generation embracing these efficient methods anymore, but those of all ages.
This in turn creates new possibilities for businesses – to sell more online, broaden their market and extend opening hours.
Keep it personal
Low-touch is about minimising physical contact and allowing customers to do more for themselves – in a way that’s convenient, intuitive and safe.
If companies excel here, it can reduce the burden on their teams, freeing up their time to focus on customers that need a bit more help. But low-touch experiences shouldn’t cut off customers from personal contact altogether – especially in these challenging times.
Although these services are primarily digital – online, mobile or via an automated kiosk – they should be ready to connect the customer to instant human assistance if needed (think automated parking ticket systems with a voice-call option).
Optimise the customer journey
Most organisations already use low-touch channels in their sales and support activities, especially online.
For example, many are now shopping and banking online or via an app. These tools also allow customers to track deliveries, log complaints and even look back through their account history without needing to contact anyone.
On top of this, FAQ pages, community hubs and virtual assistants are providing a valuable first-line of support for customers and are widely available 24/7.
Businesses have an opportunity here, too.
By tracking more of what customers do when they engage with low-touch channels, they can optimise the experiences to make customer journeys smoother. So when people do need a bit more help, it’s available.
Proactive monitoring can be used in physical settings too, to keep customers safe by footfall/crowd monitoring or to allow customers to do more from their mobiles in that location.
As well as location data analytics, consider adding intelligent systems that can monitor eye movement, motion and voice-based sentiment, to understand customers’ intentions and more precisely meet their needs.
There’s huge potential for low-touch product and service innovation, too.
Whole business sectors have had to be very creative during the pandemic to continue serving customers despite physical restrictions.
When gyms closed, sales of home-based work out equipment and subscriptions to online yoga and spin-class sessions soared. With cinemas and theatres off limits, streaming services have thrived and film distributors began to release new content online first.