Keeping face-to-face interaction in a digital brand

 

According to recent research from IBM, a whopping 2.5 quintillion bytes of datais produced every day – so much, that 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last 2 years alone.

But while there’s no denying the fact these technologies have helped make life that little bit more convenient, quick and accessible, have we reached saturation point?

Earlier this year for example, Waterstones announced it was pulling out of the e-book market altogether.

Meanwhile, digital detox retreats have never been more popular as modern-day consumers look to reconnect with the ‘real world’.

Many digital platforms, gadgets and gizmos effectively replace the need for direct human interaction – no more cashier, or friendly stranger to point you left or right.

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While that’s great for precision and speed, it’s not always helpful when you’re trying to build brand loyalty. After all, how can people trust you if you don’t have a face?

The key is humanisation. It’s vital that digital brands remember that if they’re going to take interaction away in one sense, they need to reintroduce it in another, whether that’s directly by adding a face to their brand, or indirectly by ensuring that customers are connecting with one another – preferably both.

Taking easyCar Club as an example, in essence it’s a platform that facilitates transactions between car owners who aren’t always using their car and prospective renters.

However, particularly as a part of the sharing economy, we also need to be a community, where like-minded individuals can come together and feel confident that they can trust each other.

So, when people want to register with the platform as a car renter, we look to set up a personal relationship with them right from the offset, starting with an initial video call.

It takes time, but the investment means that easyCar Club members know that there are real people ready to listen, advise and guide them through the process.

>See also: Building enterprise mobile apps for business the right way

They also have a dedicated point of contact for each car owner, regular meet-and-greet events to bring owners and renters together and a blog packed with contributions from members sharing top tips.

Other great examples include John Lewis, who have driven the ‘click & collect’ movement.

Even the digital giant Amazon is planning to launch physical stores.

People buy people – a product or platform on its own is nothing unless it can develop meaningful relationships with its user base, and it can only do that when it has a face and personality for people to connect with.

Ultimately, without a form of face-to-face interaction, digital brands risk missing out on valuable loyalty and retention, so remember not to streamline and digitise so much to the extent that you alienate the very people you want to reach.

 

Sourced by Lucy Tittle, community manager, easyCar Club

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.

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