By Brad Meyer

It’s official. I’m calling it. Today, we are all humans in a digital world.

There’s no doubt the positive impact technology makes. The construction lending industry is greatly benefitted by its digitization, as it simplifies processes, creates cost efficiencies, and empowers data collection. Indeed, it is viewed as the ultimate solution. However, it does not come without potential unpleasant side effects. With all of its positives, digitization and automation can create a disconnect between humans and technology, causing frustration and irritation. Ultimately humans need humans. As we continue to reel from the massive effects of the global pandemic, I dare say customers and all people, need empathy, understanding, and the human connection, now more than ever. Customer Empowerment: Seeking Human Experience Today, customers are more empowered, which means expectations for a great customer experience are higher than ever before. Consider Amazon – while they set the standards in e-commerce with unrivaled product inventory, what’s taken Amazon to a legendary brand is their combination of both digital successes and customer experience. Whether using the app, the website or social media, Amazon carries the experience across multiple channels. And, if wanting a more human experience, Amazing provides the chat function or the ability to speak to a representative. Whatever the need, the experience is effortless, which is something customers are more than willing to give their loyalty for in exchange. Thus, in construction lending, how can service providers connect with lenders and restore meaningful connections with customers? Following are a few tips: -       Anticipate the customer’s need -       Infuse a human touch into the digital skillset -       Create an open dialogue Anticipate the Customer’s Need The days of “build it and they will come” are over. Because lenders have multiple choices, brands that anticipate a customer’s need and deliver an incredible user experience are and always will be the long-term winners. One successful way to create an excellent customer experience is through a dedicated account manager. Acting as a direct, single point of contact, the dedicated account manager is the expert liaison between the customer and vendor, fully partnering with them, knowing their unique goals, building relationships, answering questions and resolving issues. Gone are the days of calling a general phone number and being placed in tier after tier of an automated attendant. Once you finally reach a live person, you realize it's not the "correct" person, so  you must explain and reexplain the issue over and over again to someone who is not familiar with the account. Instead, a personal account manager is available through real time phone or video calls, electronic email, or digital messaging through the secured site access – whatever the customer’s preference. The account manager’s role is to maintain close and regular communication with customers, placing themselves in the shoes of the customer and figuring out how to best serve them to make their lives easier and their businesses more successful.   Infuse a Human Touch into the Digital Skillset Automation and digitization create value – they speed production, expand capacity, and create efficiencies. Automation liberates us from drudgery, so we’re able to engage in work that matters to us. However, a human-centered approach to automation modifies workflows and tasks to provide the best user experience. For example, let’s discuss order processing – which should always be seamless, easy, and efficient. Unfortunately, navigating through the steps can sometimes prove to be challenging, especially if it’s the first time to order a product. Using the account manager example once again, infusing a human element into the process allows order monitoring, provides corrective action if needed, and prompts responses with quick turnaround and delivery. A personalized approach married with the automated order processing complements – rather than competes – with human activity, freeing us from frustrating, repetitive tasks, prioritizing the human element, and reshaping the overall experience. Create an Open Dialogue Customers are not one-off projects; instead, service providers must stay in constant communication. Obviously, being responsive to customer input and issues is critical, but we must also remember that people are multidimensional, and we need to listen and view them from all angles to truly understand. The Trust Issue At the end of the day, fostering the human touch with digital engagement requires building and maintaining trust with customers. At Trinity, if one factor is most critical in our business, it is our people. While technology has always played an essential role in developing efficiencies, relationship has always been key to ensuring we maintain ongoing connections and communication with our customers. Since our inception, Trinity had dedicated account managers to partner with each lender-customer, and as we embark on our 18th year of service, we reflect on how much human connection has impacted our growth. We are so grateful for every interaction that comes our way. If you’d like to learn more about Trinity and get set up with your own account manager, contact us here.