First appearing in First5000
Why are humans orchestrating less than optimal human experiences?
Recently my feed has been inundated with articles talking about the need for organisations to become human centric and experiences to become more human.
I shake my head and wonder where did it all go wrong? Why are humans orchestrating less than optimal human experiences? And how do we set it right?
So where did it all go wrong?
There are many examples of organisation strategies that result in less than optimal human experiences.
- When results-focus means short term sales, such as loans and phones that people can’t pay for
- When high-performance culture means working long hours at break neck speed
- When cost efficiency means squeezing suppliers and partners; or using technology to remove labour costs
- When the value proposition means getting the most value (ie money) out of the customer
- When customer retention goals of volume, frequency and trade up (buy more, more often, more premium) mean developing products that don’t last as long or encouraging people to buy/do more of something that’s not good for their physical/mental/social/financial wellbeing
These are all profit-centric behaviours, they are not human-centric behaviours. Strategies and experiences driven by profit have led to less than optimal human experiences. But whilst there are mouths to feed, organisations need to make a profit.
Then there’s the challenge that the humans orchestrating the experiences have different views on what being human means. You only have to ask a group of people about Australia’s immigration and border protection policies or climate change, and you’ll find very different views on what it means to “be more human”.
How do we set it right?
- Meet the audience in the flesh
It’s important that the humans orchestrating the experiences – whether product developers, website developers, service delivery, human resource managers, stakeholder engagement managers – are not designing experiences just based on their own views.
Experiences must be designed with the audience at the centre – customer centric, employee centric, stakeholder centric. Segment your audiences so you’re working with the audience that is relevant for your brand.
Whilst you may have quantitative data on your audience, in developing human experiences that evoke the senses and emotion, there is nothing that beats meeting the audience in person. Consider one-on-one interviews, observation and ethnography to map the audience journey and understand the audience need and pain, what they’re currently doing, influences and feelings at each point in the journey.
- Develop the experience with your brand in hand
Develop the experiences with your brand in hand – corporate brand, customer brand, employer brand. If you think of your brand as a person building a relationship with the audience: where along the journey is your brand welcome, what does the brand do/say at each point, what does the brand want to achieve in terms of what the audience thinks/feels/does/cares at each point of interaction? What is the most human experience that the brand can deliver to the customer at each point, in order to build the relationship?
With three humans in the mix – the audience, the brand and the orchestrator – organisations should be able to develop more human experiences.
There will always be a profit lens, so prioritise the points where your brand can make the most positive, enduring impact on your audience.
- Humans who are treated like humans are more likely to design human experiences
No matter how customer-centric your organisation is or the individual is, if you’re not also employee-centric and treating your employees well, consistently delivering customer-standard employee experiences against your brand promise, you cannot expect your employees to be delivering optimal human experiences.
Develop an employer brand that is aligned to your customer and corporate brands, and design an employee experience that is integrated with your customer and stakeholders experiences. Think about what your employees need (training and support, tools and technology, systems and processes) in order to deliver more human experiences to your audiences.
- A human experience doesn’t have to involve a human
As brands are increasingly augmenting humans and technology in their experiences, it is possible for a human experience to not involve humans at all – and this doesn’t have to mean virtual, chat, AI and robotics, although these are all options to consider.
One of the most human experiences I’ve had recently was when Bupa paid the insurance claim for my dog’s cancer treatment. I did not speak to Bupa. The claim went straight from the hospital. Bupa sent one sms saying they’d received my claim and two days later the money was in my bank account. With thousands racked up on my credit card, I felt like a massive weight lifted off my shoulders. Dealing with the emotional burden, I didn’t want them to be any more involved in the process than they were. This is truly the most human thing they could do. If they were a person, I would have hugged them. And I’m now telling you about that brand experience.
Take that learning back into the experience development process, and think about what is the most human thing our brand could do at each point in the experience? What does the customer need, what’s their pain? Are we welcome here? What impact do we want to have on the customer? What do we want them to think/say/do?
What is the most human experience you’ve had lately?
I would love to hear about your most human experiences, especially ones that were surprisingly human! I will compile them into another article with key learnings. Please email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Rachel Bevans. Rachel is Managing Director, Strategy & Planning, at The Healthy Brand Company. We build and align people and brands, informed by data and insights, to ensure the brand delivers against the promise at every experience. Through research, strategy and planning, we develop corporate, customer and employer brands, experiences and communications that raise brand value and drive business results.
Image source: ID 138422676 © Andranik Hakobyan | Dreamstime.com