“I want to feel like someone important when I’m in a shop, bank, etc.”
We all like to feel important. By definition, that feeling of “importance” comes from the perception that someone or something sees you as “better” or more significant than others.
Some businesses do a good job of making their customers feel truly appreciated, respected, and even revered, while other companies just print a perfunctory “thank you for your business” on the receipt, a statement which has lost most of its power through mindless repetition. Businesses that treat all their customers the same or anonymously don’t trigger that feeling of self-importance.
People are often better at expressing sincere appreciation compared to a digital tool that won’t necessarily make the customer feel appreciated in the same way.
However, similar to the other keys mentioned above, fulfilling this need isn’t automatically done just because a human is capable of it. For example, entering a restaurant and receiving a scowl from the waitress who is annoyed to have “one more table” to serve.
Training and hiring the correct people is crucial when you want to communicate with customers sincerely.
On the other hand, there are a variety of ways to make customers feel special without needing human interaction.
Some people feel like they are making a difference to society when they do business with brands that support a particular cause like TOMS shoes. Meanwhile, others feel like they are part of an exclusive club when they patronize brands like Wholefoods or Harley Davidson.
Special perks for loyal customers such as airlines provide can create that feeling of importance, and so can the opportunity to participate in an exclusive or early stage product such as on Kickstarter where customers feel their individual decision to purchase can make the difference between whether the product succeeds or not.
All of these alternative methods of creating the feeling of self-importance in the customer can be communicated and executed through digital (as well as other methods) without requiring direct human interaction.
IT’S LESS ABOUT “HUMANITY” AND MORE ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE
When separated this way, it's clear that this desire for "humanity" is really a number of different (and far more concrete) things that just get bucketed together and generalized under more abstract labels like a more "personal" experience or one with "a human touch."
All seven factors that drive this desire can effectively be addressed through digital experiences. Some, of course, are easier to do than others.
But at the end of the day, whether you go all the way to one side or create a hybrid system that utilizes them both can still yield effective results. It all depends on you, your business, and what kind of interactions would be best for your customers to create the unique formula that will differentiate your brand.