Friday, May 15, 2015

CX Journey™ Musings: Providing a Human Experience

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Have you ever had an idea that needs a little boost to get to fruition?

Every once in a while, I get some random thoughts and ideas or some things that I question or ponder - and may not necessarily have enough content to write a full post or enough time to develop the concept. I've jotted down a bunch of these thoughts and haven't done anything with them. Time to throw them out into the universe! Introducing CX Journey™ Musings.

What are musings? According to Google, they are a period of reflection or thought. That's a good way to sum up what these CX Journey Musings will be: not a fully-developed post but a piece that introduces a thought that needs to be developed or that I hope inspires you to reflect, pause, and add your thoughts.

I'm starting with something that came up during a workshop I facilitated a few weeks ago. I actually do have a post started and saved in my Drafts folder on this very topic that I'll finish and publish in the near future, but I wanted to get some thoughts out there in the meantime.

The Topic
Aren't we all customers? Aren't we all employees? Aren't we all human?

It seems that companies are so focused on creating and enforcing policies and procedures, making money, appeasing shareholders, and tripping over themselves to do all of the above that they forget that not only are we in this for customers but that we are also all customers and employees. We are all human.

If you respect the customer as a human being and truly honor their right to be treated fairly and honestly, everything else is much easier. -Doug Smith

Why can't we do right by ourselves? What does it mean to provide a human experience? How do we define that?

Why can't we use that fact - that we are all customers, employees, human - to design and to deliver an experience that makes us all feel good? I suppose the problem is that everyone defines "what makes them feel good" differently. But, I can guarantee you that in no way, shape, or form does this customer service experience (click link to see what I'm talking about) make anyone feel good.

We don't technically interact with companies when we call for support, get trained, have a product installed, or shop in a store. So should we stop blaming "companies?" We interact with people. People buy from people. People leave managers not companies. We trust recommendations from family and friends over advertising. Should we start pointing fingers at people when the experience falls down? Who are those people?

And as employees, we should ask ourselves questions like:
  • How do we want to feel when we shop and interact?
  • How do we want to be treated as a customer? 
  • Would my customers appreciate that?
  • Do I treat my customers that way?
  • How do we want to feel when we go to work every day?
  • How do we want to be treated as an employee?
  • Do I treat my staff that way?
I suppose we ought to consider both the Golden Rule and the Platinum Rule. How should people treat people?

Maybe it goes beyond those rules to just simply doing what's right. But does that mean we need to rely on common sense? And how common is common sense? Maybe that's the problem.

The main thing in life is not to be afraid of being human. -Aaron Carter


  1. Hi Annette,
    When you ask "Why can't we do right by ourselves? What does it mean to provide a human experience? How do we define that? " I think that it would help to step back and ask ourselves if we value each other? Do we respect each other as human beings? Do we think of and treat each others as equals?

    I wonder what truthful answers to those questions would tell us.


    1. More good questions, Adrian. We might not like the answers.

  2. Annette, on a positive note, if people weren't greedy, self centred and short termist then I for one would be out of a job, and I suspect you would be as well.

  3. Annette I think you are asking great questions. Looking at trends in technology and society businesses need to build the empathy skills, processes and technology to support individualized experiences that create truly engaging experiences and connections. I am concerned that many established companies will simply not be able to make these changes quickly enough. Start-ups may have an advantage. Certainly an area to study and explore.

    1. Thanks, Laura. I think you hit the nail on the head with empathy. I think that's something any company can teach, regardless of size.

  4. Annette, great post! As a consumer, a technologist, and customer experience enthusiast, I actually like the flexibility and the control I get with self-service. I'm often a user of airport and grocery store kiosks, IVR for simple requests such as a prescription refill, and mobile apps for banking or account management. I'd actually use the app in your example--if it worked. To me, the key to great customer service is providing customers the option to get served WHEN and HOW they want. And, if technology is in the mix, it has to work flawlessly. At the end of the day, we all just want easy.

    1. Thanks, Dena. I think you make a couple great points...complexity of the task, technology that works, and offering options that meet customer preferences/needs. If we can check those boxes, we are well on our way to delivering a great experience without human interactions. And yet, some folks still like those human interactions - in which case, we need to check a few other boxes.