Tech or human touch: what do customers really want?

Tech or human touch: what do customers really want?

It seems technology is has taken seed at home, work and in organisations. But what happens when our love of tech contrasts with our need for the human touch? And what do customers really want from Post Office?

Our workplaces are getting steadily smarter

  • Alexa for Business, workplace apps and drones will change our workspaces
  • Our customers want technology that helps them get things done
  • Consumers are still shopping in-store
  • Customers still need the human touch they get in our 11,500 branches
  • We’re growing our branch network and digitising the business to give them the best of both worlds

Drones are already used in construction and farming. Robotic arms handle repetitive jobs at printing companies. In 2017, Amazon announced Alexa for Business, “your intelligent assistant for work”. The Telegraph cited the app-centric workplace as an imminent development that will handle booking meeting rooms and checking messages. And we’ve has have self-service kiosks in some Post Office branches for years.

There are plenty of pros to growing technology

Wireless technology means we’re no longer chained to our desks. We can conduct research and check facts with a couple of clicks. Be more productive generally. It’s given consumers more choice and made our lives endlessly easier.

 But it’s not all rosy in the world of tech

Trust, security and reliability are the big issues.

Only 27% of people think Facebook would protect their privacy.

Compared to 79% in 2017**.

And it’s definitely not infallible. How many times has your smart TV frozen? Our web-connected TVs and gadgets are only as good as broadband speeds permit. They’re getting better but lightning-speed coverage won’t happen overnight.

UK customers want to “see, touch and feel”

James Scutt, our head of customer experience sums it up perfectly.

“Despite the early and steady progress of digital natives and dramatic declarations that they would kick bricks-and-mortar to its deathbed, consumers are still shopping in-store. And the reasons are uniquely real-world. Physical proximity tops the list, while past experience and quality of products are other key components that keep bricks-and-mortar shoppers coming back for more.” –

We value the human touch

Technology is great at performing given tasks. But it can’t interpret the needs of an individual and cater to them. That’s where the postmasters in our 11,500 branches come in. Customers still want to talk to a person – particularly when it comes tohigh value transactions like banking, sending a parcel to a oved one or paying a bill. .

But there’s a space for digital too.

Tech as allowe us to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers. They can use our travel app to top up their Travel Money cards anywhere. Apply for a driving licence online. And check the likelihood of being approved for a loan in-branch without affecting their credit score.

Technology allows us to spend less time on the doing and more time focussing on the important things – like our customers.

Being there where, when and how people want us

People want to access our products and services on desktop and mobile. But they don’t want to have to choose between technology and the human touch. They want balance. In some cases, they really need it. We are a commercial business with a social purpose. Part of that means supporting the vulnerable people in our communities. That can be as simple as giving them a place to access their cash and pay bills.

We’re reinvesting in our branches and communities. That means growing our network of branches. And digitising and modernising the business in tandem. We’re doing both in ways that suit the needs of each local community.


*UK Finance UK Cash & Cash Machines 2017 Summary

** Ponemon Institute