By @SimonCocking. Review of ‘When digital becomes human’ by Steven Van Belleghem Keynote speaker & inspirator on customer centricity in a digital world. Available from Amazon here.

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.

This book was published two years ago but it was still an enjoyable and thought provoking read. You could probably say too, that in the three years since it was researched and written, the term ‘digital transformation’ has now become a lot more widely used and more understood. If you think about it, what we are currently served up when we search is not actually that amazing. All those years when we achieved a million pages of hits, all we really wanted was just a quick way to find out if the local shop was still open, or what it’s phone number is. Now, with more and more voice-activated searches being used, we are coming closer to actually getting, quickly, and successfully the information that we wanted.

Van Belleghem’s book walks us through a number of good examples of situations where a digital first attitude with a human touch is still the best way to yield successful results for everyone concerned. As long as you still have to sell to humans, you will need human related insights to ensure that you are as effective as possible in your marketing campaigns. It’s not a book that it outdated yet, and I would recommend reading it for some interesting insights. If reading is too old school, then check out his weekly vlog cast on youtube for some completely up to date insights too.


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