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When Digital Becomes Human: The Transformation of Customer Relationships

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In an age when customers have access to vast amounts of data about a company, its product and its competitors, customer experience becomes increasingly important as a sustainable source of competitive advantage. In a recent global market study, 73% of respondents stated that even when a company’s digital channels work perfectly, they still want access to a real person. Stev In an age when customers have access to vast amounts of data about a company, its product and its competitors, customer experience becomes increasingly important as a sustainable source of competitive advantage. In a recent global market study, 73% of respondents stated that even when a company’s digital channels work perfectly, they still want access to a real person. Steven Van Belleghem explores and explains the new digital relationships and offers a strategic guide to combining a business's two most important assets — its people and its digital strengths. He shows marketing managers, directors and commercial decision makers how to positively transform customers’ digital experiences by adding a human touch.  He covers the latest issues in digital marketing and CRM including: omnichannel and multichannel experiences, big data and predictive analytics, privacy concerns, and crowdsourcing. Packed with examples from organizations that have successfully transformed their customer relationships, such as Amazon, Toyota, ING, Nike and Starbucks, the book presents a clear model that illustrates how to integrate an “emotional” layer in any digital strategy to achieve consumer engagement and loyalty.


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In an age when customers have access to vast amounts of data about a company, its product and its competitors, customer experience becomes increasingly important as a sustainable source of competitive advantage. In a recent global market study, 73% of respondents stated that even when a company’s digital channels work perfectly, they still want access to a real person. Stev In an age when customers have access to vast amounts of data about a company, its product and its competitors, customer experience becomes increasingly important as a sustainable source of competitive advantage. In a recent global market study, 73% of respondents stated that even when a company’s digital channels work perfectly, they still want access to a real person. Steven Van Belleghem explores and explains the new digital relationships and offers a strategic guide to combining a business's two most important assets — its people and its digital strengths. He shows marketing managers, directors and commercial decision makers how to positively transform customers’ digital experiences by adding a human touch.  He covers the latest issues in digital marketing and CRM including: omnichannel and multichannel experiences, big data and predictive analytics, privacy concerns, and crowdsourcing. Packed with examples from organizations that have successfully transformed their customer relationships, such as Amazon, Toyota, ING, Nike and Starbucks, the book presents a clear model that illustrates how to integrate an “emotional” layer in any digital strategy to achieve consumer engagement and loyalty.

30 review for When Digital Becomes Human: The Transformation of Customer Relationships

  1. 5 out of 5

    Johan Bruynseels

    Geeft een stevige inspiratie boost !

  2. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    Despite it seeming or feeling that everything is online and customers are increasingly vocal and demanding, the human touch is still a desirable feature on many levels. This book looks at the possibly difficult harmonisation of a business’s two most important assets - its employees and its digital channels. Originally published in Dutch last year, this book notes that about three out of four people want “access” to a real person at times, despite preferring to use digital channels when available. Despite it seeming or feeling that everything is online and customers are increasingly vocal and demanding, the human touch is still a desirable feature on many levels. This book looks at the possibly difficult harmonisation of a business’s two most important assets - its employees and its digital channels. Originally published in Dutch last year, this book notes that about three out of four people want “access” to a real person at times, despite preferring to use digital channels when available. Whether it is a comfort factor or something deeper, it goes against the perceived mantra of everything being online, with call centres and human handling being “old hat”. Clearly for many tasks, the move to online-focussed handling is preferable and sensible, yet when things go wrong, when uncertainty strikes or whether an inquiry is “simplistically complex” the human touch can provide a faster, more assuring method of handling. The art might be maintaining the right balance. Adding a human touch to digital marketing channel experiences is the key focus of this book, backed up by real-world case studies and examples from companies such as Amazon, Nike and Toyota. The book manages to combine a lot of different thoughts around a central theme together with expert ease, providing an interesting, considerate tune to march to. Unfortunately, it can suffer from being a little dry and defocussed at times, although the overall message and content kept this reader on-track and sufficiently interested. In conclusion, an interesting book about a subject that might confound current wisdom or feeling for many, yet it manages to transform thought without being confrontational or overly evangelistic. It lets the subject just speak for itself! When Digital Becomes Human: The transformation of customer relationships, written by Steven Van Bellegem and published by Kogan Page. ISBN 9780749473235, 208 pages. YYYY

  3. 4 out of 5

    Vera VB

    Nadat ik Steven Van Belleghem heel enthousiast, professioneel en met veel vaart een presentatie had horen geven, ben ik dit boek gaan lezen. Ik werk zelf in de ICT dienst van een instituut waar aan gezondheid, research en onderwijs gedaan wordt. We hebben dan ook vele klanten, eigen personeel, patiënten, studenten, stake holders, financierders. Dit boek gaat over hoe de relatie met onzen klanten in de volgende jaren drastisch zal veranderen. Digitaal is daarbij het sleutelwoord en als je de boot Nadat ik Steven Van Belleghem heel enthousiast, professioneel en met veel vaart een presentatie had horen geven, ben ik dit boek gaan lezen. Ik werk zelf in de ICT dienst van een instituut waar aan gezondheid, research en onderwijs gedaan wordt. We hebben dan ook vele klanten, eigen personeel, patiënten, studenten, stake holders, financierders. Dit boek gaat over hoe de relatie met onzen klanten in de volgende jaren drastisch zal veranderen. Digitaal is daarbij het sleutelwoord en als je de boot mist, dan ben je dus echt te laat en kan je bedrijf failliet gaan. Vooral in gezondheidszorg kan er nog heel veel veranderen. Nu is gezondheid vooral reactief, je wordt ziek, gaat naar de dokter en die schrijft iets voor of stuurt je naar een ziekenhuis. Kost allemaal veel. Zou het niet beter zijn om proactief te werken en zelf je gezondheid op te volgen? Via een bloeddruppel die je op een analysestofje doet en waarvan je onmiddellijk de resultaten kan zien. Of denk aan het opvolgen van je hartslag, er bestaat al een app die dit kan opvolgen en die app kan zelfs voorgeschreven worden door een arts, dus in plaas van een pil, krijg je dan een app om te downloaden. De mogelijkheden om met patches te werken die op het lichaam gekleefd worden en waarin nanochips zitten die vanalles kunnen analyseren zijn eindeloos. Het boek bevat veel voorbeelden van bedrijven die het goed doen, denk dan aan de grote spelers als Google, Amazon, Apple, omdat ze constant twee stappen verder denken. Het is nooit goed genoeg, er moet altijd meer gedigitaliseerd worden. Maar, we mogen niet gaan naar een maatschappij waar al het werk door robots gedaan wordt. We willen eigenlijk als klant zoveel mogelijk zelf doen in een aankoopproces, maar als er een probleem is, dan willen we toch nog wel kunnen terugvallen op een persoon. De toekomst zal een mix zijn tussen digitaal en menselijk. Mensen die vrezen dat robots het hier gaan overnemen kunnen gerust zijn, dat zit er voorlopig nog niet aan te komen. Slimme computers zijn er al wel en ze worden zo eens om de 18 maanden slimmer, dus het zou kunnen dat ze tegen 2030 de intelligentie van de mens evenaren of voorbij streven. Dat betekent niet dat ze meteen de wereld kunnen overnemen en de mensheid uitroeien. Er zijn enkele essentiële dingen die slimme computers en robots missen en dat zijn: creativiteit, empathie en passie. Daarin leggen ze het nog altijd af tegen de mens en dat zal nog wel even zo blijven. Een interessant boek om te lezen indien je geïnteresseerd bent in wat de toekomst kan brengen en hoe je je bedrijf daartegen moet wapenen.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Primoz Frelih

    Superficial observations of some of the biggest digital success stories. No concrete tips, guidelines or practical applications - only a lot of examples of how somebody else did it in the past. My fault, because I read it today, but was released in 2015. Nevertheless it should stand the time proof, since it was THE marketing book of its time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Seema Rao

    Some well laid out illustrations of how to design digital that has a human touch.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Joost Heessels

    Goed boek, aanrader

  7. 4 out of 5

    Atila Santos

    O livro discute transformação digital e a linha tênue que divide as jornadas on/off e o engajamento. Algumas inspirações e informações úteis sobre o tema.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    This is a well-written look at the future of marketing and consumer choices, and how firms have adapted and need to adapt further. The author mentions the five biggest digital marketers, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, Google and Apple. This is not a guarantee that these names will stay the biggest in the future, but the way they do business is here to stay. He points to taxi firms which protested at the introduction of online managed taxis to their city. The traditional firms went on strike. This le This is a well-written look at the future of marketing and consumer choices, and how firms have adapted and need to adapt further. The author mentions the five biggest digital marketers, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba, Google and Apple. This is not a guarantee that these names will stay the biggest in the future, but the way they do business is here to stay. He points to taxi firms which protested at the introduction of online managed taxis to their city. The traditional firms went on strike. This left a clear field for the online cabs, and taught customers to prefer the reliable service. When tech-managed firms run into competition they make their service more accessible and drop their prices. This sees off the opposition. If consumers are to be encouraged to buy running shoes that record their steps on a website and track fitness, or toothbrushes that give a daily brushing score and make dental appointments, the firms making these devices will need to market them cleverly. However due to the spread of mobile communication tech we may hear about these goods more quickly and may spread the word more easily. But do we really want to be tracked around by giant computers? Steven Van Belleghem predicts that five waves of tech coming together are going to make radical transformations in the near future; this book focuses on the next five to ten years. Mobile computers; net-connected items; robots; three-D printers; and artificial intelligence. Other predictions include the vanishing of cash and credit cards, the dronie photo, the collapse of companies which do not have an online presence and the importance of the human relationship in customer care. After all, the digital firms are still marketing to people. I do not agree with all of the author's predictions, which he has assured me are mainly based on surveys and studies. For instance, he tells us that we look at our phones 150 times a day on average. Well, I seldom turn mine on. I also believe that despite the best efforts of banks and governments, we will still use cash at times, because we like it and we do not trust banks. The author tells us that 10,000 companies closed in Europe last year, implying that this occurred because they were not using web presence or did not employ digital tools. Living in Europe, I have seen that since the economic collapse, many companies large and small have found that their customers no longer have money for either discretionary spending or necessities. The bulk of manufacturing work has moved to China (which has now discovered that we can't keep buying) and garment manufacture to Bangladesh, some work to East Europe, and to a torrent of complaint, call centres and computer work have moved to India. Small farms and small businesses have been put out of business by EU regulations, bank payments and customers unable to pay. Ordinary people are giving up healthcare insurance - they do not have the money to employ architects, solicitors and decorators, nor to go out clubbing and buy new cars and watches. Whether a firm has a website has nothing to do with this economic situation. I agree that firms like Amazon are making inroads into physical shop sales. In the future, yes, all firms will have websites, if only because it is cheaper than paper advertising. Personally, I buy or use products that make sense for me such as LED lightbulbs and e-books. I agree that our future gadgetry is getting smaller, faster, lighter, smarter. More firms are going to want to track their customers' habits, from insurance firms to booksellers. Steven advises that firms need to keep the human touch even as more jobs are being done by robots and fewer people have work. My feedback on WHEN DIGITAL BECOMES HUMAN included that some of the easily-understandable graphics appear overly masculine, showing a gun, clenched fist and thumb's down as (not recommended) business models; Steven assures me that he had not seen it that way and will look again at graphics in future books. Thanks; there are many women in business who will enjoy reading this book about the digital future.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Simon Vandereecken

    Thanks to NetGalley for giving me a chance to review this astonishing book. When Digital Becomes Human takes a very deep and interesting approach on how the technology world evolves and influence every aspect of the companies. It aims to develop the advantages of this evolution toward the customers and the customer relationship building. The book is really interesting, and quite condensed in its approach of the subject. It displays quite an amount of examples of companies evolving toward a better Thanks to NetGalley for giving me a chance to review this astonishing book. When Digital Becomes Human takes a very deep and interesting approach on how the technology world evolves and influence every aspect of the companies. It aims to develop the advantages of this evolution toward the customers and the customer relationship building. The book is really interesting, and quite condensed in its approach of the subject. It displays quite an amount of examples of companies evolving toward a better customer experience or customer relationship with the help of the digital world, proposing new ideas, and new way to deal with this amount of changes. It also has the great advantage of showing the dark side of the digital evolution and what it means in terms of people management but also customer expectations. It displays also the essential role of the leader and of his entire staff to develop a true digital experience and customer oriented experience in a clever and really inspiring way. For everyone who wants his business to survive, and for everyone working in a company, it's quite an interesting and mind-blowing book to read!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle Pantera

    A great book for anyone in business, "When Digital Becomes Human" answers the question, what is a great customer service in the digital age? The case studies he uses, such as Amazon, Toyota, ING, Nike and Starbucks, reinforce the idea that having a person on the other end can be the difference between keeping and losing a customer. People struggling to make work all the technology entering our lives will want a person to talk to, not a robotic voice that cannot understand frustration. Van Belleg A great book for anyone in business, "When Digital Becomes Human" answers the question, what is a great customer service in the digital age? The case studies he uses, such as Amazon, Toyota, ING, Nike and Starbucks, reinforce the idea that having a person on the other end can be the difference between keeping and losing a customer. People struggling to make work all the technology entering our lives will want a person to talk to, not a robotic voice that cannot understand frustration. Van Belleghem argues that the human touch will become more, not less important, in the future. Van Belleghem combines many thoughts around a central theme in the book, which covers digital marketing, big data and predictive analytics, privacy concerns, and crowdsourcing. While quite relevant today, he doesn’t address what happens next when robots do eventually understand nuance and become better at handling customer service than most people. Snippet from my feature article in British Weekly.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Martijn Euyen

    Steven van Belleghem geeft op enthousiaste wijze een visie op de rol(verdeling) van technologie en die van mensen in klantrelaties en de ontwikkeling daarvan. Ik had af en toe last van de spelfouten en de soms wat ongenuanceerde kijk op de voordelen van de technologische vooruitgang. Ook vond ik de term "emotie" hier en daar wat misplaatst. Veeleer zou het woord "relatie" passend zijn geweest, omdat dat meer veronderstelt dan een gevoel. Hoe dan ook een boeiend boek voor mensen die op zoek zijn Steven van Belleghem geeft op enthousiaste wijze een visie op de rol(verdeling) van technologie en die van mensen in klantrelaties en de ontwikkeling daarvan. Ik had af en toe last van de spelfouten en de soms wat ongenuanceerde kijk op de voordelen van de technologische vooruitgang. Ook vond ik de term "emotie" hier en daar wat misplaatst. Veeleer zou het woord "relatie" passend zijn geweest, omdat dat meer veronderstelt dan een gevoel. Hoe dan ook een boeiend boek voor mensen die op zoek zijn naar visie op en inspiratie over de voortdurend ontwikkelende manier waarop ICT ons leven (als klant en leverancier) beïnvloedt.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annelies - In Another Era

    Een aantal heel sterke cases zorgen voor een volledig verhaal. Niet super vernieuwend, maar stemt wel tot nadenken.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Serge Lodens

    Schitterend om de relatie tussen digitale transformatie en extreme customer experience in de verf te zetten. Goed boek.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tim Ghillemyn

    Mijn laatste boek van 2014 was zeker niet het minste.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jilke Ramon

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rick Van Diepen

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

  18. 5 out of 5

    Like

  19. 5 out of 5

    Birbo3

  20. 4 out of 5

    Issam Benali

  21. 5 out of 5

    elidesc

  22. 4 out of 5

    David

  23. 4 out of 5

    Boudewijn Bugter

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ds_Sourav

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stijn Eyckmans

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bart

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tim

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nick

  29. 5 out of 5

    Elke Klink

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steven

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