If you’re reading this, chances are you’re a human being. You’re always human; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This is an indisputable fact. So why don’t companies market to you in a human way?
Marketing to people as customers and users can be effective, but remembering that people are more than those identifiers and above all, are human beings, is what will set companies apart. It’s about getting to know your audience as people with emotions as well as needs. It’s about bringing the conversation back down to a personal level, rather than one centered around product and profit. In an age where technology is advancing so quickly, communicating with your customers is easy, but connecting with them is hard.
From User Experience to Customer Experience to Human Experience
By now, every marketer, designer, and entrepreneur knows the importance of a good user experience (UX). A positive UX means that user interactions with your website, apps, and other digital channels are enjoyable, easy, and solve the consumer’s problem as efficiently as possible.
Even more important than that is your customer experience (CX). CX encompasses the entirety of a customer’s journey with your brand. A good product isn’t enough— having good customer service, fair pricing, and a positive brand reputation are all facets of the customer experience. And in an age where online reviews and customer feedback is more accessible than ever, a good CX means every step of the consumer journey needs to be positive.
But a positive UX and CX aren’t enough on their own anymore, because we aren’t just marketing to users and customers. We’re marketing to humans. And every human being has different experiences, feelings, and thoughts. Human experience (HX) is the evolution of UX and CX to a more personalized interaction; it’s the shift in focus from profit to purpose. HX focuses on how someone experiences your product or service. How does it add value and meaning to your users’ lives? What’s the emotional connection customers feel with your brand?
Becoming a Company That Creates Human Experiences
The majority of companies today operate with one common goal: to make money. For years, revenue has been the driving factor in developing marketing strategies. But it’s important to keep in mind that money is an outcome, not a purpose. Whatever product or service you are providing is a means to an end, not the end itself. The human experience is the end.
An HX-centered mindset brings customer interaction down to a more personal level. To do that, you need to start by understanding what your responsibility is to your customer. It’s not just to sell them a product; it’s to get to know them in a more human way. How can your product help them and improve their life? What is the purpose you serve for your customers? You have to go beyond price value, customer service, and usability— you must ask what human values and emotions do customers associate with your brand? How do they connect with you?
This can be difficult to ascertain in certain industries, and may require some research on your part. For example, when it comes to technology, many marketers find it difficult to see the emotion behind the product. Technology is built on data, facts, and statistics. Where’s the human element in that? To figure that out, you have to take everything a step further. You must look at the technology you produce as a foundation that supports human experiences rather than providing them outright. It’s how you implement the technology and bring it to people that make businesses and experiences better.
Why Focus on Human Experiences?
Emotion is a powerful tool when forming connections with your customers, and a good human experience means becoming a company that customers feel good about engaging with. It’s about drawing in the emotional aspects rather than the technical. People won’t remember the data points or statistics you present, but they’ll remember how you, your products, and your services made them feel. By becoming a brand that evokes an emotional response, you’re becoming a part of the customer’s life, rather than just a dent in their wallet.
In recent years, we as consumers have become sales averse. We don’t want to feel like we’re constantly being sold to. We want to take our business to brands we trust and feel a sense of pride to buy from. If customers feel that a company has a sense of purpose and responsibility to their patrons, they are more likely to engage. By understanding your customer on a more human level, you figure out what it will take to become that brand for them. You’ll be able to show your customers that you know and understand them; that you care about what they need and how you can improve their lives. By speaking in terms of what the customer is going through rather than what you’re trying to sell them, you’ll be better equipped to make that emotional connection. And that will be what drives customer loyalty in the long run.
To move into the future, you have to understand how your product or service affects your customers. It’s no longer enough to say you have a good UX on your site, that you build great technology, or that customers love your store. What’s relevant today is how people are using and improving their lives with your product. If you really want to get to a place where you’re moving past your competition, you have to start by showing people that you’re a company that cares about more than just the bottom line. You have to understand not only how people are using your product, but how it’s changing their lives.