It’s all too easy to take for granted the ways that committed employees enrich the lives of their customers. The auto mechanic who spends a few extra minutes chatting with a senior citizen, the grocery clerk who compliments a shy child on a new pair of shoes, the hospital nurse who gives her patient’s hand a squeeze—all manifest a positive purpose.
Small acts of compassion at the right moment come naturally to some people. But companies that earn strong loyalty from customers systematically teach and reward such behaviors. Now, though, many businesses have reached an inflection point where digital technologies are replacing face-to-face interactions at a staggering rate.
Leading companies in many service industries such as retail, telecommunications, banking, and insurance thus are investing rapidly to build the technology, requisite data, and analytics capabilities to meet customers’ high expectations. In the vast body of work that companies are undertaking to digitize the experience, they rarely ask one important question: How do you teach the algorithms to love your customers?