Business is based on the relationships bewteen people. For years, business occured through conversations, agreeements, and handshakes. The Mom and Pop businesses thrived on conversations, loyalty, and general goodwill. With the rise of automation, we were able to streamline conversations and transactions in real-time. But what happened in the process?
We put machines in the middle, removed direct interactions between people, and got hyper-focused on results.
In this new, atuomated world, we often forget that business is about people. We get focused on the outcome of business relationships, or revenue, and dismiss the value of relationships - the actions and opportunities that get us there - because they aren't tangible or meauresureable. But are measureable results all that is necessary for business? What about strong relationships and partnerships? Can't you measure them too? (And yes, you can measure their effectiveness...more about that soon!)
In this drive for automation, we've learned that companies no longer only create products. They produce solutions to people’s problems. And customers only purchase if they realize they have the problem a company solves and see the solution as something that they need to live a better life.
Customers are key parts of our company’s ecosystem because they pay a company's bills. They are probably more important than any shareholder or other stakeholder. And with the rise of automation, they are more included in a company’s operations than ever before.
That's why we need to consider how to make experiences more human.
How do we engage best with customers so we stop seeing them as walking revenue sticks, but as people? How do we interact with people and build a relaitonship? Journeys are a great way to get us there, but they illustrate a finite path to purchase or to use a product or during use, and people don’t always work that way. People are messy. They jump around and don’t always make linear decisions. This is why AIs can't be programmed to follow a simple linear conversation path unless they are driving the conversation to keep it linear. People aren’t computers.
This means that we need to humanize experiences again. And the only way to do this is to get back to engaging with people emotionally and with empathy and compassion. But how do you do this?
Sales knows, but I'm not sure marketing and product development does. Wtih all of the innovations in personas and research, we should, but it seems that there is work to be done to put the pieces together and engage with people emotionally - not just transactionally.
This is why I'm fascinated with listening and how to develop emotional engagement. This is the work involved in customer expeirence - how to enage with customers beyond transactions and journeys. How do you build a relationship with customers? How do your employees interact with customers in your company's ecosystem? That’s the next area of growth for companies and their brands - evolve to becomes a community of employees and customers.
- Listening talk (short): Listening with Empathy to Connect with Customers
- Listening talk (long): Listening: Three Shifts You Can Make to Connect and Build Empathy with your Customer
- Webinar: Emotional engagement: The magic ingredient in any customer experience
- For solopreneurs and early-stage start-ups: coaching
- Gearmark Community - Experience Club