Total Expert Founder and CEO Joe Welu recently sat down with Brittany Hodak, host of the Creating Superfans Podcast, to discuss how you can balance technology with empathy to power meaningful customer experience at scale.
The Total Expert Mission
Joe founded Total Expert to address the customer experience gaps in the home buying experience. At the heart of that mission, Total Expert has worked to prove that the smartest banks don’t have to choose between technology and customer experience. The best technology should enable human connection instead of replacing it. Joe poses the question, “If you have hundreds or thousands of customers, how do you make them feel special?” He explains that to do this at scale, you need enough data and be able to understand to identify what is important to them, and then use technology to deliver unique messaging to all of those people to enhance brand trust and loyalty.
Driving Technology Adoption
When talking about integrating new enterprise technologies, adoption is always a critical step for employees. Not only does the technology need to be a perfect fit for the business, but employees, the end users, must be considered as well to drive positive outcomes.
Joe believes that the best technology minimizes screen time and instead allows employees more time to build relationships and connect with people in a way that provides value for them. “When you are rolling out the technology, it starts with a common belief that if we bring the combination of very talented people with really great technology, we’re going to win,” Joe explained. While it’s easy to get distracted by fancy features and functions when evaluating tech, start by thinking about your desired outcome. Ask yourself, “what are we trying to accomplish?” This can help businesses understand how their tech stack can enable that outcome and ultimately drive employee adoption by promoting efficiency and personal connection.
Promoting Empathy and Customer Trust
Every interaction with a customer provides the opportunity to build or lose trust, and that trust is extremely important. As consumers experience economic volatility and market uncertainty, businesses need to use data to address their customers’ specific needs and avoid looking tone-deaf. As Brittany explains, “customers have to assume that the way you do anything is the way you do everything.” If a business has access to data and customer profiles and continues to communicate with them as if they know nothing, Joe and Brittany agree that customer trust will be lost.
Joe believes businesses that communicate with their customers as if nothing has changed in the macroeconomic environment will appear ingenuine. “If you don’t help solve your customer’s problems, you will not win,” said Joe. He explains that every touchpoint needs to be grounded in helping the customer, and if you lose sight of this, nothing else matters. Working directly with your customers as a partner, allows you to learn more about their preferences and adapt to their needs, and ultimately build trust and strengthen the customer experience.
The Velocity of Change and Data
E-commerce and technology companies have changed the digital expectations of modern consumers like never before. Children are growing up with vastly different digital expectations than those of their parents and grandparents. While a 22-year-old may not be bothered by hyper-personalized outreach, their grandparents might feel the personalization has gone too far. Both Joe and Brittany agree that data can allow you to exceed customer expectations, but it’s critical to do it in an ethical and trust-based way.
“Don’t be creepy or go too far, it’s all about balance,” Brittany explains. The expectation is that the companies you do business with understand you. Customer trust is critically important, but there is a fine line. Joe shares that giving customers the opportunity to share their preferences with you is a simple, yet obvious step to achieve that mutual understanding.
By building comprehensive, permission-based, continuously updated customer profiles, businesses can change and evolve their behaviors to meet the customer’s preferences. In financial services, if you remain grounded in the mission of helping your customers make better financial decisions on their terms, it will ultimately strengthen trust and support your larger business goals.