Your Ecommerce Guide to the Human Touch

Behind every strong ecommerce personalization strategy lies a human element that propels it forward. The team at The Chat Shop discusses key tips to use The Human Touch to enhance the customer journey.


As far back as 2012 ecommerce sales were worth well over one trillion US dollars. Let’s put that into perspective: Only 15 countries have a total GDP of more than one trillion dollars. That’s a lot of sales. And with an average growth rate of 19% a year, ecommerce is only getting bigger.

You want a slice of that sweet ecommerce cake; but the digital marketplace is like a cereal aisle that never ends.

So, you spend time and money getting traffic to your cereal box (or website). SEO, PPC, and Facebook ad campaign strategies are all working overtime. But on average, just 2% of those visitors convert to a lead…and even less make it all the way through to being your customer. What happened to the other 98%? SEO, PPC, and pixels have done their jobs. Robots and scripts don’t solve this problem. So, what does? Enter: The Human Touch.


What is the Human Touch?

The Human Touch is what makes physical shopping a joy and why people still head out to the shop in the age of digital dominance.

But, there is a huge hole in ecommerce due to the lack of humans on a website (duh). And it distinctly affects shopping habits. 52% of survey respondents said that a decision not to purchase a product was made “at least sometimes” because they couldn’t get help from a person.

People, online? Yes, people online! Real people are best persuaded and assured by real people. So, at least sometimes, your robots and scripts aren’t doing anything to help your PPC and SEO efforts. Given that brands lose £116bn a year from customers switching to another brand, it’s vital that you’re competing (for old and new customers alike) where it matters most: digital customer experience.

According to a survey by Adobe, the number one way that most businesses seek to differentiate themselves from their competition is by focusing on delivering an optimal customer experience. They rated customer experience as even more important than product innovation (which came in second place). And according to a Gartner report, 18% of total marketing budgets were being spent on customer experience in 2014. Across the board, executives rank digital customer engagement as a top strategic priority, with evidence suggesting that consumer spending patterns mirror digital priorities. Or is it vice versa?


How to Inject the Human Touch into Your Ecommerce Site

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for. The Human Touch is.

But The Human Touch isn’t just a tactic that can be tacked on to existing practices. It’s something that must permeate all levels of your business and inform your every thought and action to leverage the best of your acquisition practices.

So, how can you supercharge your ecommerce business with The Human Touch? Here’s your guide.


Step 1: Identify your ‘moments of truth’

Moments of truth are the points in your relationship with a customer where you have the opportunity to engage with them and win their trust.

Back in the pre-internet stone age, your shopper’s journey was pretty simple: they saw your advert, talked to friends, maybe hopped on the phone, went to your store, and bought. And those steps were succinct.

And then digital happened. Now, your shopper’s journey is increasingly non-linear. To identify moments of truth you need to adopt a people-first approach. This means mapping out your buyers’ journeys based on how and why they’re making decisions.

Follow this to-do list to identify your ‘moments of truth’:

  1. Draw up your customer personas. Who are your customers? Why do they want to buy from you? What makes you different in their eyes?
  2. Identify your customer’s desire. List all the steps that your shopper has to take to fulfill that desire. What are the channels and touchpoints your customer will encounter on their journey?
  3. Identify their most important moments of truth. Where in their journey are they wowed by your brand, content, and advertising?

At every moment of truth, your customer will have a specific need. It might be to see your product in an Instagram post, it might be to understand your style guide, it might even be to try on your shoes before deciding. Give them what they want, right when they want it, they will experience their ‘moment of truth,’ and you’ll get to understand who they are, what they want, and how to build trust with your future audience.


Step 2: Integrate human contact with digital

People like talking to people, especially when it comes to making an emotional investment (think an engagement ring…you don’t want to mess that one up). And neuroscience backs us up here; emotion is a necessary ingredient in almost all decisions.

But how do you spice up the cold digital world with humanity? Answer: Personalize your approach.

Spice up your digital journey with personalized, human contact by doing the following:

  1. Link to customer service throughout your journey.
  2. Prompt your shoppers to ask a question if they want to learn more about the product.
  3. Proactively engage with your shoppers using social media, live chat, and call services.

Use digital to enable human to human communication, not to block it. Empathize with your shoppers, assess how you can help and guide them, and react with the right message at the right time.


Step 3: Empower your team with knowledge

You’ve figured out your moments of truth and you’re ready to spice up the bland digital journey with a bit of personalization. But how do you deliver this sexy new service? Give it to your team! Empower them with the knowledge they need to have a meaningful, engaging, valuable interaction that’s informative, funny, topical, and most of all, human.

This means giving your team knowledge about your products so they can have a real conversation, but it also means sharing with your team knowledge about your customers including their background, their preferences, and their past interactions. This isn’t just a personalized email; this is a human interaction that nurtures and guides your shoppers effectively and empathetically.

How to empower? Follow these steps:

  1. Make a knowledge base. What are your FAQs? What info is revealed in each ‘moment of truth’? Who are your customers? What do your shoppers need to know before they buy? Throw it all in.
  2. Ask for feedback from your team. What good would the knowledge base be without your team’s input? They’re the ones out there converting your shoppers! Get that human feedback and implement it.

When your team’s empowered with knowledge, they get to have real, topical, and competent exchanges with shoppers they understand about products they know inside and out.


Step 4: Train your team

To create effective, human interactions on your site, your team needs to be trained on how to engage. And it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, either; each of your channels need specific approaches. For example, your text-based channels like email, social, SMS, and live chat require a different approach to phone support because…well, the medium’s different.

So, how do you get the most out of all of your channels? Proactive engagement from your team. And how do you train for that? Remember the following:

  1. Test your team on the channel they use. Go on, throw them a chat, call, or social media post. Your team need to become familiar with different conversation styles. How do they engage without visual cues in chat? How does your team react over text or voice? Why do they succeed (or fail) when engaging with a customer they can’t see?
  2. Give them those personalization tips. Remember step 3? Bring it all back to that. How does their shopper engage with them? Formally? Friendly? Are they a Ms Smith or just Alex?
  3. Focus on rapport, not just the outcome. If you’ve got a shopper who’s getting married and looking for a ring, train your team to give a human response. Congratulate them! When’s the wedding? What’s the theme? How can you make their day special with the right ring?

These tips will have a hugely positive impact on your quality of service. It’ll bring that Human Touch to digital and smiles to your shoppers’ faces.


Step 5: Get your insights and start over

Your shopper interaction data is a goldmine of knowledge, so don’t waste it! Who are your customers? What are they interested in? Where do they choose to interact with you? When do they get in touch? What do they think of their interactions with you?

To find out if you’re delivering that Human Touch, check these things:

  1. Review calls and read transcripts. How quickly was your shopper’s question answered? Was your team’s tone and engagement on point? Was your team delivering the goods conversationally?
  2. Survey your shoppers immediately after they got in touch. Were they satisfied with the service they received? Was it on-brand and did it deliver the appropriate information?

Now you can determine if a particular channel is working or needs tweaking, if your team’s performing well or in need of a bit more training. And by sharing regular, real-time data with your team you motivate them to keep improving, so they can deliver even more exceptional experiences with the Human Touch.

And where do you go from here? Start the cycle up again. Keep striving for that perfect ecommerce customer experience, and get the most out of your SEO, PPC, and Facebook marketing efforts.

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