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Trends

Is Your CX Missing High Touch High Tech?

Liz Alton
May 06, 2019

3 minute read

High touch high tech may be next hottest CX trend. In a technology-driven world, people hunger for the human touch. The phrase “high tech high touch” emerged in the 1980s in the New York Times #1 bestselling book Megatrends, and was later explored in depth by author John Naisbitt in a book of the same name.

He argued that brands need a high touch response in a high tech world, and explored the human craving for a more connected experience. While this futurist looked ahead 40 years, the same reverberations are taking effect today – and in part, driving the customer experience revolution. Today, the most successful companies are working with an evolving philosophy of high touch high tech that puts the human touch first.

CX and high tech high touch

Companies that stand out have found a way to break out beyond the screen and offer a captivating consumer experience. Consider what one executive wrote in Forbes:

“I challenge you to think about experiential events and contexts where consumers discover they want to look up from their mobile phones to become immersed — even if only for a few impactful minutes — into feeling something you offer, not just reading or hearing about it…Everything I’ve learned in building successful global brands tells me whatever product or service you’re part of, you, too, might be even more effective if you can offer real experience in our increasingly virtual world.”

High touch high tech by the numbers

Data reinforces that audiences are hungry for the human touch and that brands which build it into their CX see results. One study reports that 71% of audiences find impersonal experiences frustrating. That has direct implications for experience design and how CX technologies are implemented.

For example, does your chatbot feel impersonal and automated or is it aligned enough with your customer journey to be a valuable touchpoint?

Getting it right has a big payoff. According to McKinsey, “Companies that add the human touch to digital sales consistently outperform their peers. They achieve five times more revenue, eight times more operating profit, and, for public companies, twice the return to shareholders.”

How to design a high touch high tech CX

Whether you’re building technology products or designing a CX that relies on technology, it’s important to bring humanity to the forefront. According to Forrester, “Forrester’s 2018 Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) results continue to show that companies are struggling to create and sustain a human connection with their customers.” The article goes on to note that a lack of human touch can drive higher customer churn and result in financial risk for brands.

What does high touch high tech mean in practical terms for delivering a winning CX? Configuring technology and experiences to be responsive, personalized, and targeted to customer needs as well as creating every experience with the human end user and their needs in mind first.

Let’s go back to the ideas that Naisbitt and co-authors posed in their books. They said that people spend their lives either using consumer technologies or finding ways to escape them. From a CX design perspective, what can you offer that helps a consumer feel connected, appreciated, and alive?

Customers want to support brands that understand them, that interact the right amount at the right time, and that reward their loyalty. Looking at your CX through the lens of the “high touch high tech” concept can add an important – and possibly missing – human element to the experience you’re working so hard to deliver.

Liz Alton
Liz Alton
Liz Alton is a writer and content strategist specializing in B2B technology, digital marketing, and the customer experience. Her clients include creative agencies, Fortune 500 brands, and venture-backed startups.
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