How Do You Teach an Algorithm to Love Your Customers?

How Do You Teach an Algorithm to Love Your Customers?

Why it’s both important and rewarding to consciously embed humanity into digital customer experiences.

  • min read


How Do You Teach an Algorithm to Love Your Customers?

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

Have you noticed the surge of people returning to restaurants and stores in the wake of coronavirus vaccinations?

It’s a reminder of the social aspects of purchases. Today, as so much goes digital, companies will have to consciously embed humanity in their digital experiences if they hope to continue to delight their customers and tap into the ingenuity of their best frontline employees.

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We recently wrote about Chewy, the customer-delighting online pet supply retailer, but Maureen and a group of our colleagues at Bain have now taken a look at a group of companies that also blend digital experiences that please customers with the right amount of personal touch.

Among them: Discover, a US credit card company that offers round-the-clock access to local agents, charges no fees on credit cards, and continuously makes decisions that put customers’ interests first. Across all credit card episodes, 84% are handled digitally, according to Bain’s recent NPS Prism® benchmarking. In fact, the share of interactions that go through human channels at Discover is less than half what it is at competitors.

This has helped the company put extra attention on improving the service levels of those episodes that do require human intervention. Because there are so few of them, Discover is able to ensure that they are handled by skilled agents who are well trained at handling complex customer problems. When customers interact with Discover, their needs are met at the first contact around 80% of the time.

This is especially instructive because finance has a particularly high level of automation. In banking, for example, our NPS Prism benchmarking in 2020 shows that roughly 70% of customer interactions at US banks started in digital channels.

This prompts the question: How do you teach the algorithms to love your customers?

Key elements of the traditional Net Promoter SystemSM remain essential, particularly using feedback to create a customer-centered culture among highly engaged employees. Combining that culture with the right data and technology will power the next generation of loyalty leaders.

For more insights, check out the Bain brief “Will the Bots Love Your Customers?


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