The Ford Foundation recently wrote an article about the way bots are changing the face of donor engagement for nonprofits. One bot brings an organization to the surface of the Twitter-sphere by posting photos of obscure pieces of art. Another bot, created by Lokai and Charity: Water lets people “Walk With Yeshi” on a two-and-a-half hour tour that showed what one young girl went through each day to find clean water. These moments of meaningful interaction are only made possible through the combination of human interaction and technology.
Understanding this combination gives you the power to stretch your business’ capabilities.
Technology Affects Relationships
People are often caught in the push and pull of technological connectedness and the perceived deterioration of face-to-face interaction—a result of the widespread use of smartphones. And yet, people of all ages are addicted to their phones. The truth is, the pull of technology doesn’t always have the negative impact that people assume it does.
Think of it this way:
- Technology allows for the electricity that now powers our daily lives, personally and professionally.
- Technology created the telephone, the conference call, and video sharing software like Skype—empowering you to connect with family across the country or your top client across the globe.
- Technology brought us the internet, which is the ultimate opportunity for human connection. It brings people together professionally, through social media (which can create real connections, believe it or not), and even empowers us to sustain relationships from huge physical distances.
In many cases, technology enhances relationships. It doesn’t replace them. When used strategically, your business can use tools like chat on your website, your phone line, and video tutorials to enhance relationships with customers. It’s still human. You just don’t have to be in the same physical location.
Look at Technology Through a New Screen
Technology empowers meaningful conversations. Unless you have a bricks-and-mortar shop with a steady and strong following of local customers, you’re using technology to communicate with your target audience. I’m willing to bet that even your favorite locally-owned coffee shop is using at least some form of technology to grow their business.
The trick is to be strategic. Every company connects with their customers differently, in different places. And every individual has different ways they like to interact with the businesses they support.
Maybe you love email. Or maybe you’d rather Facebook message a company when you have a quick question. For others, chat on a business’ website may be the right choice.
To effectively empower human interactions through technology, it’s important that you understand your customers. You want to talk to them in the same place they’re looking to talk to you.
Make Technology Work for You
At some level, everyone uses technology to make connections. It’s become such an ingrained part of our culture that no matter how much you love or hate it, businesses can’t really run without it. As long as you’re thoughtful about how you use it, technology can revolutionize the way your business interacts with customers.
- Marketing and Customer Service: Use technology to add value to your customers’ lives. Start a blog and share content from influencers within your company. Start pulling in email marketing campaigns and newsletters that share real, valuable insights and news. Connect with individuals on social media by responding to their interactions and even reaching out to them. It may be virtual communication, but it can still be personal, meaningful, and real.
- Project Management: Strengthen communications within your team—even remote team members—with tools like Basecamp, Asana, Trello, and Jira. These tools bring your team together, even if they’re physically far apart. When they’re used well, they’re powerful.
- Team Relations: If you work remotely, you may already know the value of technology. But did you know you can use it to help your team members bond with each other? We love Facebook Business, which takes the familiar platform and turns it into an instant online office, where you can chat with co-workers about work and personal happenings.
The key to enhancing human interaction with technology is remembering that technology should never replace the human element. No matter how smart your bots and AI technology gets, it will never replace the sincerity and power of a business owner or employee interacting with a customer.
Gabe Arnold is the founder of Copywriter Today where you can get unlimited fresh content for all your marketing needs. If you want 250 free headline ideas for your next marketing campaign, use their free tool here.