“I am not a robot”. How SMEs can turn the AI and automation trend on its head to become ‘more human’

We’re living in a world of contradiction.

On the one hand, multiple reports tell us 30 percent of human jobs will be lost to automation in the next 15 years and 97 per cent of marketers feel positive about leveraging AI to make their jobs easier.

On the other hand, 98 per cent of regional executives in Asia Pacific are reluctant to augment job effectiveness with machines, because they feel many jobs will be lost to robots. Even Silicon Valley young guns at Facebook, Google and Twitter are themselves consciously uncoupling from the technologies they helped make so addictive, in search of more human interactions.

In a time when everyone is getting excited about the potential of AI and automation, it will be quality human interactions that make businesses stand out from the crowd.

As Manish Bahl from Cognizant so eloquently puts it: “The work ahead won’t so much be about “beating the bots” as about being better humans in the digital economy”.

We couldn’t agree more. At Bonjoro, we have one simple mission statement:  “In a world of increasing automation, help every business be more human through personalised video”.

Our own brand was inspired by the power of human interaction. We first discovered the value of using personalised video messages as part of our customer success strategy for our original product, Verbate. And since the launch of Bonjoro, we have learned even more tips for success from our own users.

Here are three of those tips, to help small businesses find the sweet spot between automation and personalisation, and become ‘more human’ in their relationships with customers.

Use automation to streamline your processes, but not your customer relationships.

Graphic design service, Design Pickle, has always taken a human approach when it comes to maintaining relationships. Its customer success team would physically pick up the phone to call every new client.

This personalised approach came with it’s challenges, as the company tried to scale this process in the face of a rapidly expanding client base.

Using one-to-one video messaging has helped the Design Pickle team to be more efficient and effective, splitting the duties amongst its whole North American team and keeping every team member in contact with new clients. And it’s getting the attention of customers, who say they have never received this level of service before. Many even enquire about using it for their own businesses.

Specialists in email marketing, ConvertKit now use personalised welcome videos to greet customers by name and start a conversation about their work. This human approach, made possible by Bonjoro’s clever CRM integrations, decreased ConvertKit’s churn by 14.7 percent Month-on-Month and resulted in happy customers, who felt welcomed as individuals to the brand, rather than just another number on a mailing list.

Put a face to your customer service advisors.

Everyone has had that “I just want to talk to a real person” moment in their lives when we are faced with yet another automated message on the phone or a standard response on email.

When a customer contacts a business directly, it’s often to ask a question, because something is not working as well as it should, or because they need help overcoming a challenge.

Rather than seeing these enquiries as negative, being more human in your response can turn them into a surprisingly satisfying experience for the customer, which can lead to positive word of mouth and reviews.

Handling complaints and queries through a truly personalised approach, such as video, helps to put customer’s frustrations at ease, and makes the experience ‘real’, rather than robotic. Not only is it harder to be mad at a real human being than a name on a computer screen, it also shows you are invested in your clients and believe they are worthy of a minute of your time.

Embrace technology. Embrace change.

As technology continues to change the way we connect with consumers, businesses have an opportunity to find new and more engaging ways to connect with and delight their customers.

There was once a time when email was the massive disrupter in business marketing. Now it’s a struggle to get even 24 percent of your mailing list to open one.

Personalised video messaging enables a brand to humanise its interaction with each customer through technology, resulting not only in an impact on the bottom line but more vitally increased customer loyalty and word of mouth.

Bonjoro users experience open rates of 77 percent on average, which itself shows the enormous power of personalised content – and in this case, video content.

It is possible to remain human while you scale your business. It’s about choosing the right tools and strategies that help automate processes, while retaining an innate feeling of personalisation. At Bonjoro, we firmly believe it will be the power of real human interaction that helps businesses compete with, and flourish alongside the inevitable rise of the robot.


Author: Matt Barnett

Matt made his start as an industrial designer and professional artist but soon found that his talents lay in leadership and entrepreneurship. Bonjoro, a tool that lets businesses send personalised 1:1 video messages, was built with the technology and knowledge accumulated from his last venture, the profitable market research tool Verbate.

Matt believes that a great culture is essential for any business and he attributes Bonjoro’s success to the enthusiasm and dedication of both its team and users. The company’s 40% Month on Month growth comes exclusively from word of mouth and community advocates.  Matt’s goal is to unseat Zappos as the most loved brand in the world.

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