Technology Is The Drive, Humanity Is The Touchdown

by · February 18, 201311 comments

There are two sides to good digital marketing execution, whether it’s email, website, mobile, social or even customer service. One side is the technology. Without good technology, you’re crippled in today’s marketing environment. You need a fast and responsive website. You need software to help you manage social networks. You need versatile email software that perhaps even serves as a customer relationship management portal. Technology is critical. But it’s only half of the prerequisite for digital marketing success.

The other half is humanity, or perhaps better put, human-ness. The technology only gets you down the field a bit. Humanity takes you across the respective goal line.

An example: Two weeks ago I booked a flight via Priceline.com. I thought nothing about it for a few days, then couldn’t remember if I had or not. My inbox showed no Priceline confirmation, so I decided I’d not booked the ticket yet. (I’m absent-minded on the non-imperative details of things sometimes.) So I booked the flight again, only this time I received a confirmation.

But about an hour later I got a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. I answered to a customer service representative for Priceline informing me that I’d double-booked that flight. They were going to hold the reservation from earlier since it was cheaper and credit my account back for the over-booking. Delighted, I asked why I didn’t receive a notification on the first one and it turns out I’d input my email address incorrectly. But since the charge was made on the same name and credit card number, their system caught it and they could prevent my mistake from being costly.

Two things happened here, both equally as important in delivering an outstanding digital marketing experience. First, Priceline has their system set up to throw up a red flag when someone of the same name, account, email address or credit card number books the same flight, or even a flight on the same day from the same city. The technology gets them down the field and in position to score a touchdown with the customer.

But the second piece of the equation — the humanity — punches the ball into the end zone. The customer service representative proactively takes that information and does something with it. In this case, they called the customer and explained their system noticed a mistake and they want to fix it.

Without the technology, I’d have been double booked and charged an extra $300 or so for the mistake. Without the humanity, I’d have never known, nor would I have an awesome experience to talk about surrounding the brand.

Don’t let your technology babysit your customers by itself. Make certain you are adding in the human-ness it takes to make the advantages of the technology ultimately relevant to your audience.

Had a similar story where technology plus humanity has delivered an outstanding experience? Tell us about it in the comments.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • http://twitter.com/TedRubin Ted Rubin

    Great post Jason. If you are only focused on the technology, you risk completely overlooking the people. Social platforms and all our technology tools are a facilitator of relationships, it is not the relationship itself. 

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Amen to that, Mr. Rubin. Thanks for swinging by!

  • Karl_y

    I have to ask…was the customer service person Will Shatner?

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      I wish. Unfortunately, no. But she was cool. Heh.

  • Dara Khajavi

    This is an example of how great service is great marketing. Priceline’s great customer service has inspired you to write this blog. After reading this article, readers are now inspired by this great story. This great customer service story is much more convincing than all the Will Shatner commercials, but I still find the commercials very entertaining.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Dara!

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