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Do what a computer can’t

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I’ve always felt that no matter how capable technology is at delivering an amazing customer experience, there is no substitute for the in-person experience. (But that could be changing faster than most of us think.)

Recently, I walked into a store that sells hockey equipment. The sales experience I had there started like this: “Hello, Shep. Welcome back. Hope you are enjoying that new stick you bought last month and are scoring lots of goals. The last time you were here you were looking at some new skates. Are you still interested? We have them in your size. Or perhaps you’re interested in these new skates we just got in.”

This was my regular salesperson. He always remembers what I bought, knows what I’m interested in and provides me with great customer service.

A short time ago, I logged into Amazon. The message I received read “Hello, Shep. Welcome back.” The website had a picture of the book I had looked at the last time I logged on. And, the website recommended books similar to those I had purchased in the past.

Practically the same experience — kind of. In both cases, it was a completely customized and personalized experience. The next time I go back to the hockey store, my salesperson will show me new items I might like. And the same thing will happen when I go back to Amazon.

The customized experience (whether in person or digital) is an opportunity to connect with your customer on an individual basis. Online companies are able to track a customer’s information through prior purchases, buying patterns and product or service inquiries. In this way, the digital experience is starting to mirror the in-person experience.

But the in-person experience offers more opportunities to connect and deliver amazing, personalized customer service. Thank-you notes, phone calls and conversations about interests other than business are still exclusive to the in-person customer service experience.

Yes, it’s hard not to notice how fast digital customer-service experience is catching up to in-person service. So when you serve your customers, make it a point to offer them what digital world can’t: the human touch.

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Shep Hyken is a professional speaker and best-selling author. For more information on Shep’s speaking presentations, call 314-692-2200, email [email protected] or go to


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