To aid marketers in successfully translating the concierge analogy (or any human service analogy) and navigating through this world of digital complexities, we developed a three-tiered model to explore the interplay between the digital and human. Automate tends to make more sense with high-volume, routine activities (think ATMs), while Preserve is particularly powerful with lower volume, highly-customized interactions (think clothing recommendations).
Amplify is, in some ways, the most interesting of the three. The ability to use digital tools in real time to amplify the human touch has been made possible by the dropping prices of technology and increased computing power.
After identifying an appropriate analogy as your source of inspiration, this model aids in developing tactics to authentically translate and implement that analogy in digital.
1. Automate: Digital
When translating a service analogy, there are many service offerings that digital can actually do better than a human. These offerings should be replicated or automated with digital. For the concierge, these offerings are mostly simple tasks, including delivering amenities, finding products, scheduling, giving directions, placing orders and providing discounts.
Automation is a key tool in businesses designing the customer experience of the future. But leaders must be careful not to automate the humanity out of an experience entirely.
2. Amplify: Digital + Human Touch
One of the most effective ways to deliver a true concierge-like service is by amplifying humanity with digital technology. Certain service offerings cannot be purely replicated with digital, but can be further amplified when the human touch is combined with digital. For the experience creator, these offerings include the ability to filter information, collaborate with consumers, leverage networks of contacts and make relevant recommendations.
3. Preserve: Human Touch
Finally, there are some service offerings that have a tendency to fall flat when translated into digital and should be preserved for humans. In the case of the concierge, these are sacred traits that have been passed down and ingrained for centuries — things such as empathy, friendship, loyalty and discretion.
When technology is strategically used to both replicate and amplify mundane, everyday, repeatable service functions, the human concierge can then dedicate more time and energy to those services that are inherently sacred to his or her craft — services that technology cannot genuinely follow through on (at least not yet). Technology, rather than render human skills obsolete, highlights which human traits are most valued.