Industry Update
Opinion Article17 November 2021

“New-Style” Digital Versus “Old-Fashioned” Human Interactions

By Shep Hyken, Customer Service and Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author

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Here’s a question, and I think I know the answer. Would you do business with an airline that didn’t offer the ability to book a ticket online, check-in online, and get your boarding pass online?

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Assuming that every other airline has these self-service digital options, what if one didn’t? Would you be willing to call for a reservation, wait on hold, pull out your credit card to verbally give your payment information, and stand in line at the ticket counter to check in on the day of departure? Would you choose to fly with this airline over the others?

I feel I can safely say the answer is, “No!”

Assuming everything is comparable among all airlines – the planes are similar, the seats are the same and the pricing is competitive – you would almost certainly not choose to do business with the old-fashioned airline, for one simple reason: The digital experience, at least as it applies to flying, is an easier experience.

It’s simple. Easier wins. Faster wins. More convenient wins. If it means using digital to achieve easier, faster, and more convenient, then customers will use a digital channel. The point is, you can’t fight digital.

More and more customers are looking for digital and self-service options. Our customer experience research finds that 41% of customers prefer digital first and the phone second. That number increases year after year. Customers prefer a self-service solution on the Internet over calling a company, being put on hold, potentially repeating their story, and more. Easy is better, therefore, in many instances, digital is better.

So, back to the original question. The airline that doesn’t make it easy for the customer to do business, and that means using the digital experience, will lose. Metaphorically speaking, you don’t want to be that airline.

If you feel as if you’re lagging in the digital world, what can you do to catch up?

If you’re already offering your customers digital solutions, what can you do to make them better? Sit down with the team and consider the following questions:

  1. What digital interactions do we offer that our customers use and appreciate?
  2. What digital interactions do our competitors have that we don’t offer?
  3. If the competition is doing something different, could we be doing it, too? If so, consider implementing similar digital solutions.
  4. Is there a company you love, inside or outside of the industry, that is great at digital interactions? If so, can we implement similar offerings for our customers?

These questions will get you moving in the right direction. Most companies already have a digital presence. If a website or app makes life easier and more convenient for your customers, they will want to use it. So, don’t let your competition take your customers away from you, simply because you haven’t kept up.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker, and New York Times, bestselling business author. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXXI, Shep Hyken)

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