**Guest post from Olivia Wood at The Writer’s Guild**

When it comes to life in the 21st century, hybrid is the key. Whether you are looking at a mixture of working from home and going into the office, it is becoming increasingly apparent that people want a slick, efficient, greener service matched with the human touch. We see that we do not have to choose between one thing or another, and we can take the best bits of both worlds.

And this is also true when it comes to business. More and more successful retailers, for example, are using online shopping resources but are teaming their services up with a more personal touch in the shop. This creates a good, fast, professional service and satisfies the need for a human side to look after their customers.

This is also true when it comes to using AI and big data analytics. AI and big data analytics can be beneficial for businesses of all types, but the ‘human touch’ is needed alongside this. Emotion and human genuineness are also crucial to the customer experience.


AI and Big Data Analytics

The world has been speeding towards AI (artificial intelligence) and the use of big data over the past few years. Technology allows us to understand how the brain works, solve problems and use massive data sets to analyze human behavior. This means that we can now begin to solve problems before we are even really aware that there is one. Big data analysis is also instrumental for businesses to understand their customers, how they behave, and what they want.

Companies like GravityData.co are able to collect data relating to human behavior and help businesses to use this data to improve the experience of their customers. There is also much more that technology can do. It can, for example, be used to automate repetitive tasks that do not require any human input, meaning that a high quality of work is achieved, often at a fast pace, and for longer hours – in a factory, for example. There are, however, some instances when human interaction is needed. And this is where
the balance needs to be struck.


Incorporating the Human Touch with Technology in 2021

The key to good customer service at the moment is good engagement and a genuine customer experience. The world has moved away from an acceptance of pure technology, especially since the remoteness that COVID-19 has forced onto society. Humans are craving a human connection again when it comes to interactions of all natures. AI and big data can be helpful to focus on the customer, understand what they want, how they want it, and deliver it in high quality, fast, and efficient manner.

Big data, for example, can give businesses a better understanding of who their customers are and what they want. This means that they can target products specifically at their customers depending on what they like and have shown interest in and what other people who fall in the same demographic are interested in. By offering these products, businesses can then build stronger bonds and heighten awareness of their brands.

When it comes to dealing directly with the customer, it may be the case that some communication can be automated. You might have specific procedures that can be carried out quickly and securely through technology while people are on hand to help out and deliver a better customer experience. We see – for example – more and more shops offering tablets in their high street shops where customers can order products, with retail staff available to give advice, offer measuring services, or provide customer tips on how to use their products.

In this way, customers can get the best of what technology offers while maintaining the human touch and personal interaction that is still very important. Technology has come a long way in the last few years, especially in terms of mimicking human behavior. However, a world where humans are entirely redundant (as was feared a few years ago) is still a long way off. We understand the need for human interaction, and businesses that incorporate this into their day-to-day running – alongside the efficiency, quality, and understanding the use of big data and artificial intelligence provide – are likely to be the most successful in the coming years.

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