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Must-haves for human-centric CX

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What elevates customer experience from good to great? 

In a nutshell

  1. Human-centric CX goes beyond functional deliver and instead considers the higher needs of the people you serve.
  2. Ease, effort and reward are key measures of human-centric CX. Effort is the customer effort and also what is seen to be your effort.
  3. Your brand sets people's expectations so focussing on how you meet expectations and measuring what you can control sets you up for the best chance of great CX success.

If you’re in the business of serving people, then you know how important it is to replace a business centric approach with one that puts the customer at the centre. 

However, simply pivoting to a customer centric approach doesn’t go far enough.  

The winning strategy? Making CX human centric.

To truly deliver a rewarding, holistic experience you need to go beyond the idea of serving people as customers to instead treat people as complex, multifaced humans.  

We can focus on three key levers to improve CX, drive trust and create a meaningful, rewarding experience for the humans we serve. 

Discover more below and:

1. Ease 

Ease is about smoothing the path to complete a task and removing unnecessary friction. 

Tangible barriers to ease include: 

  • Process ease: Are the steps someone needs to go through obvious?  
  • Linguistic ease: Is the language familiar and do people understand what the messenger intended?  
  • Physical ease: Is the product easy to handle?  
  • Logical ease: Does it follow people’s natural thoughts or action patterns?  
  • Opportunity ease: Is the location easy to access?  
  • Communication ease: Are we telling people what they need to know to make it easy? Or are we assuming they somehow know what we want them to do? 

However, ease is about more than just removing friction. Even if you get the tangible components right, there are still intangible barriers to ease: 

  • How can we help establish a habit? 
  • How can we overcome the investment cost of learning something for the first time? 
  • How can we help our customers remember what they’re supposed to do? 
  • How do we avoid our customers falling into confirmation bias and other biases? 

Making it easy means taking on the intangibles as well as the functional elements.  

2. Effort

Effort is a two-way street, and making an effort means sharing the load. Reciprocity counts for a lot. 

To assess effort on the customer’s side, ask: 

  • How much energy is it taking? 
  • How much emotion is it consuming? 
  • How much investment of time and thought is it asking for? 
  • How much decision making is required? 
  • Is the customer effort required proportional to the reward? 

To assess effort on the organisational side, ask: 

  • What are you doing that removes work/effort for the customer? 
  • Are we being clear with people about why things are the way they are? 
  • What is an unseen element of our experience which if noticeable would show our effort?
  • How can we reinforce trust by showing the effort we have put in? 
  • Have we removed wrong turnings and missteps for customers? How can we show this? 
  • What can we do to allow people to back out of missteps with minimum effort? 
  • What are we doing to reduce customer decision making? 
  • Are we auditing everything we’re asking for? 

3. Reward  

Rewards can be avoiding bad things as well as gaining good things. Rewards are emotionally based and anchored to higher order objectives. Reward is how an experience makes you feel. 

Human centric CX looks at people’s higher order needs or objectives across their wider journey.  

“People don’t want to buy a quarter inch drill, they want a quarter inch hold in the wall.” 

Paying attention to your customer’s highest objectives or needs is essential to creating deeply satisfying experiences. 

To reward by adding gain, ask yourself: 

  • Are we meeting our customers’ highest objectives? 
  • Can we add incentives to encourage and reward actions? 
  • Are we exceeding expectations? 
  • Are we creating a positive emotional buzz? 

To reward by avoiding pain, ask yourself: 

  • How do we avoid rewarding a negative action or behaviour? 
  • Are we helping our customers avoid extra costs or penalties? 
  • Are we helping our customers avoid feeling like they are missing out on an opportunity? 
  • Are we providing a way for our customers to reduce stress or other negative emotions? 

CX is only one part of the picture.

Of course, while customer experience is a significant component of the total brand experience, it isn’t the only thing that matters. Brand matters too - brand sets expectations for the customer experience.

However, delivering to that expectation is the role of customer experience and that is something you can control.

By focusing on what you can control – and measuring what you contribute – you are taking an important step towards a better experience for the people you serve and helping to propel your business or organisation onwards and upwards. 

Colleen Ryan
Partner at TRA
Colleen has a curious and strategic mindset fueled by 40 years of experience in business across Europe, North America and APAC countries. With a fascination and deep understanding of what it is to be human, specifically applying principles from cultural sociology, social psychology, behavioural science, and cultural analysis, she brings breakthrough insights to brand strategy, creative development and customer centricity.

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