Tim Wade's Top 4 Tips for How to Create Human Experiences in a Digital World
Tim Wade, the former Director of Marketing & Ecommerce & European Director of Loyalty for Best Western, shares with us his tips on creating human experiences in our increasingly digital world.
As the corporate world hurtles towards digital, are we in danger of forgetting the very human who experiences our organisation?
I was recently speaking at a presentation in Sydney where the anthropologist Michael Henderson was giving a presentation about how his studies of people and cultures over the years translated into today’s focus on customer experience. His findings were fascinating, and he summed up by saying that as humans the interactions we crave and remember are those human to human moments and it’s not about hi-tech but about hi-touch.
The challenge, however, is that increasingly our interactions with organisations are digital only, lacking in any human to human contact, I mean when was the last time you spoke to someone at Amazon? When it comes to customer experience the outcome we endeavour for is to create loyalty and advocacy, but in order to create these advocates we need to be designing experiences that people remember in a positive way. This means we need to fix things that get in the way, but equally it’s about doing things in a memorable way, intentionally creating positive memories of the experience.
"When it comes to customer experience the outcome we endeavour for is to create loyalty and advocacy"
So, how do you do this in a digital world?
Pirch CEO and founder, Jeffery Sears, shouts back against the tide of retail conformity with the philosophy, “Stop thinking digital and start thinking human.”
The obvious thing as Jeffery Sears says is that we need to start thinking human first and design experiences that connect to our motivational and emotional needs. And don’t be mistaken here to think that human experiences need to involve human contact, sometimes our needs are best dealt with by a human but sometimes we just want things to be easy and smooth and devoid of the need to talk to someone. This approach is to free up time for people to spend doing things they want to do connecting with their friends rather some corporate stranger. The critical thing here is understand the customer needs, motivations and emotions before being intentional about where and how you design the experience.
So how does an organisation deliver more human customer experiences?
Discover your customers’ needs, motivations and expectations. Our expectations as customers are growing fast as people like Elon Musk promise rocket travel from London to New York in 30mins so it is critical to gather clear insight into your customer’s expectations, what are their motivations and their needs? Think about these four pointers.
Could 2018 be the year we see rocket travel from London to New York in 30mins...
1. Have a purpose
Be clear about why you exist for your customers and your people and dramatise it through what you do (not what you say). It has to be specific to your organisation, your brand, your strategy and how you differentiate.
2. Prioritise experience over efficiency
The classic management theory is to search for efficiency to enable greater profit and therefore investment in growth. But efficiency is no longer enough, and it is those organisations that prioritise experience over efficiency that are winning. One look at Lush with its experiential stores, clear proposition and engaged people shows how a brand built around experience is thriving, whilst many other companies around them are falling away.
3. Be intentional
We need to be intentional about where we create the memorable human moments and where and when we just need to provide a seamless experience. Designing these intentional moments is at the heart of creating a memorable customer experience.
I am a customer of First Direct and at most times I just want everything to work, I expect things to be easy and efficient and I don’t want to have any kind of human experience from them. But the reason I bank with First Direct is not because their products are better or that they are more efficient than anybody else, it’s because if I ever do really need them they actually do care about me, they treat me and talk to me like a human like a friend would. It’s simple but intentional.
4. Enhance not replace
Digital and technology needs to become the enabler and enhancer of the experience and not the replacement for it. Those that see digital as solely a driver of efficiency will be left behind by those that use it enhance the experience. Think about how digital can help to remember your customers, make it easier to converse, to share things, take stress away, make things easier or more fun.
Technology will continue to improve and change our expectations on what is possible but at the core of it all, we are all human and how you serve my motivational and emotional needs through the experience you offer will define your organisation. Don’t leave this to chance and don’t simply rely on the technology to do it for you.
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