Sitting in a meeting observing the work of my colleague and master scribe/facilitator/wizard John Colaruotolo, it hit me. The way we do business has advanced tremendously since commerce began; yet the most influential element has remained exactly the same. No matter what you are selling, no matter what bells, whistles, or mobile app you are using to sell it, the most important moment in any customer experience is a human interaction.
We were recently asked to help a large insurance company develop and storyboard its vision for their ideal customer experience. Looking at the story drawn across several whiteboards, it was clear that they will impress their clients with advanced technology and reliable processes. But what was most impressive to me was that there amongst the analytics and apps, three large hearts labeled “Magic Moment” jumped off the walls. The team had highlighted these three moments, the only moments in the customer experience when two people sit and interact face-to-face, as the moments with the most potential to deliver a “wow” experience and build a lasting relationship with their client.
Though this organization’s vision is unique, the emphasis it places on human interaction is not. Even when people discuss organizations like Apple that are revered for their advanced technology and convenience, the moment they describe as differentiating whether they develop a lasting relationship with the company is when they call or visit a Mac Store to solve a problem or buy a new product. If the product is great, but the people you interact with, or would like to interact with, are unavailable or leave you unsatisfied, you are not likely to continue to do business with them. But if an organization has a product that is similar to others, yet your interactions with them leave you feeling validated, inspired, and connected, you are more likely to want their product.
We are social beings; emotion plays a critical role, whether consciously or subconsciously, in all business. We all need to be recognized, understood, and part of a community. An app can provide you a cool and convenient experience. Interacting with another person can go beyond these transactional needs and meet or exceed your basic human needs. We expect our transactional needs to be met, but when an organization meets or exceeds our emotional needs as well, that is magical.
Next time you build a vision for your customer experience, consider your customer’s most basic emotional needs and you will provide a more satisfying experience, resulting in richer relationships with your clients.