Professor Evart Gummesson has developed John Naisbitt’s ‘high tech / high touch’ concept and integrated it into his relationship marketing theories. ‘High tech high touch’ is based on the notion “to balance the material wonders of technology with the spiritual demands of our human nature” and concludes “the more technology around us, the more the need for human touch”. Gummesson states that the reason why forecasts on products, markets and methods often turn out wrong is because we fail to find this ‘high tech / high touch’ balance.
The more integrated with technology we become, which truly will happen with Web 3.0, also identified as pervasive technology, where everything will be linked up and working in a mesh – the fridge noting that it is out of milk and automatically sending an order to the supermarket etc, the more the need for basic human qualities. This could be through contact with nature, gardening, cooking from scratch, adventure travelling, and indulging in religion and spiritual activities or sports. E(electronic)-relationships and the fast global communication stimulates the need for h(human)-relationships. Like the principle of yin and yang, there is a dynamic tension between the two extremes trying to find an equilibrium.
High tech is cold and impersonal, but Web 2.0 tools can be utilised to bring a human dimension as for example seen in the case of Skype. It brings people together; you can talk to and see your loved ones on the other side of the globe for free! IT and high tech can offer social interaction between people and groups with the same interests and passions which was previously limited to physical presence. Currently luxury fashion websites can be frustrating to deal with because everything is automised and the customer cant find instant help in how to use it. Many shopping baskets are left unpaid for because the customer didn’t feel that all their questions were answered or they weren’t assured about the purchased before they clicked the ‘buy’ icon.
By adding a human dimension in the form of an online real-time sales assistant (as fx Faberge), who can answer all questions, guide, advice and re-assure the browser about the purchase, brands would have a much more successful sales channel. Ultimately, by continuously adding human dimensions, which can be done with the help of Web 2.0 tools, brands would be working towards reaching the balance between ‘high tech /high touch’. This does not need to be seen as ‘virtual’, it can rather be argued ‘Technology which we have become used to becomes an extension of ourselves. It becomes human’The online flagship store, the real-time sales assistant, customisation, communities and collaboration are examples of how to bring a human touch, human interaction and creativity to the high tech world and thereby reach the all important ‘high tech / high touch’ balance which is paramount in making a business successful today, but even more so in the future.