"If I have learned one thing about Chinese developers the past 13 years is it that they are fully equipped to scale."

Richard Birksteiner, CTO


China: an innovative country

Alibaba's artificial intelligence


China, an innovative country: Alibaba's artificial intelligence 

The blessings of online marketing are presenting more and more drawbacks, to the horror of brands which, for years, have relied too heavily on online platforms for their interaction with the customer.  Smart marketeers therefore apply the power of human interaction.   

Legal proceedings, privacy scandals and fines amounting to billions: Google, Facebook and their once popular marketing platforms are somewhat the worse for wear to the horror of many companies and their marketers. For years, they have increasingly relied on this and other digital marketing technology to promote their brand among consumers.   

Remove their access to Adwords and Audiences, and you'd wonder how many marketers remain standing. It's almost as if Google and Facebook have written the new manual for effective marketing. The content of this manual can be summarised in one sentence: digital innovation leads to less human interaction, more efficient transactions and therefore more profit.  

Less human interaction  

It seems that this also works fine for the nerds from Silicon Valley, who are generating more profit with their platforms each year. But does that also apply to the supermarket on the corner, or companies that just sell soap, soup or deodorant instead of screen time? And what about the consumer, who we should place 'at the centre of attention' according to all the new insights?   

It is becoming increasingly doubtful as to whether this can be achieved by only interacting online. Take Facebook, for example: currently, around 70 million business pages are trying to attract the attention of users at all costs. However, despite all the user data, these efforts are producing fewer and fewer results. Over the past two years, engagement with commercially invested posts has dropped by several dozen percent, as have the number of likes and comments.   

Positive brand experience   

And that 'positive brand experience' that Facebook promises? One study after another finds that social media does not play a connecting and enriching role in our lives at all. In fact, they make many users insecure, unhealthy and unhappy. So what do you mean, 'positive experience'? Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg prefers to interact using his computer, whether or not while enjoying a pizza ordered online. But 'ordinary people' simply prefer to look each other in the eye.   

Digital technology offers great opportunities to partially automate your customer contact in an attractive and inspiring way. However, we will never be able to eliminate the need for human contact completely. In fact, as many brands are trying to handle more and more parts of their customer journey digitally, there are more and more ways of distinguishing yourself as a brand from the competition with human contact.    

Human contact  

Brands that understand this consciously incorporate moments of human contact at strategic points in their customer journey. Take cosmetics brand Sephora, for example, which offers good customers a private hotline that they can always turn to for advice. Or take their colleagues at Rituals, who send well-known customers a text message when they are near a shop:  'Our stylist now has time to give you free personal advice.' In this way, you use data and technology to make those moments of human contact in your customer journey as powerful as possible.    

And you don't even need the very latest technology for that. For instance, if you notice from the click behaviour of visitors to your website that they may have questions, you could simply offer them a telephone call with Customer Service. Make sure that the responsible employee has enough information, including information about the customer, to be able to give good advice.  This way, you can bring human and digital interaction together, allow your own employees to shine and inspire brand preference and customer loyalty in an appealing way.  

More information 

Interested in our ideas for bringing human and digital interaction together in an inspiring way? Make an appointment with one of our experts now! 

Do you want to know more about Richard?

Since 2005 Richard has been a co-founder of rb2. He has always been interested in digital trends and developments. It originated at the age of 8 from behind its MSX home computer and never left. In his role as CTO, he is responsible for the technology at rb2.

Or check out other cases or blogs below in which he had a prominent role: