As AI continues to be an increasing topic of interest when it comes to customer experience and data gathering, CX leaders must remember that the human element will always be needed. We need people to create those magic, unexpected moments—to smile at customers, to ask them how their day was, and to know when to go the extra mile.
Nathan Foy is the founder and CEO of FORTIS, a secure private travel service for the world’s most discerning travelers, and he’s also the author of What Rich Clients Want but Won’t Tell You. Deborah Westphal is the executive advisor of The Karen Toffler Charitable Trust and author of Convergence: Technology, Business, and the Human-Centric Future.
Listen to this compilation episode featuring two original Linkedin interviews, and gain some knowledge on how you can improve the people-first dynamic in your customer-focused experience.
Be Proactive And Anticipate Customers’ Needs
“I think one of the key things is that rich people are really no different than anyone else, except they don’t really tell you what they want. You just have to notice it and infer it,” says Nathan Foy in our recent LinkedIn Live conversation.
“The thing is, they’re just very adept at knowing what they want and how to find it and being discerning to find that. But they’ll never give you the playbook of how to get there,” says Nathan about understanding his clients’ needs. So often, we resort to wanting clients to tell us what they think or need, when in fact, we have to do a lot of observing, understanding and listening. We have to put ourselves in a position to understand beyond the baseline information of what everybody thinks you want.
For instance, Nathan shares that a chauffeur who’s employed in Miami, developed a “magic toolkit” in his console. Over the years, the chauffeur catalogued everything that people want when they arrive into town, which usually involves a drugstore purchase. He intentionally thought about the customer experience of his clients and sought to anticipate their needs by offering a selection of often requested items.
So often, we resort to wanting clients to tell us what they think or need, when in fact, we have to do a lot of observing, understanding and listening. —@nfoyal, CEO, Founder of Fortis and author of What Rich Clients Want Click To Tweet
Develop an Internal Culture That Supports Customer-Centricity
When it comes to collaborating with the C-Suite and the rest of the organization to become more customer-centric, Nathan stresses the value of recognizing the importance of company culture. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast is the phrase that I totally adhere to. […] Culture is just a shared way of doing things,” says Nathan.
He shares that this March, FORTIS instituted their first profit share plan. The reasoning for this was because there were people who were really dedicated to the work and serving the clients, especially during the pandemic. Nathan tells that since these individuals acted like owners, he wanted to treat them like owners. FORTIS now offers a percentage of the upside, and paid out their first check this June. This commitment to improving the lives of their employees also impacts the service that that customers receive, which supports the customer-centric mission.
Find my interview with Nathan here: The Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show LIVE with Nathan Foy
There Will Always Be An Outside Human Influence on Your Business Processes
“The book is really about three major forces that I see are either converging or diverging in some sense. With the advancement of technology, especially communication technology, we’re able to connect people all over the world. […] because we’re a global society, there really is a question of ‘what is the purpose of business,’” says Deborah.
Deborah raises an interesting point, and as we discuss the notion of a human-centered future, she and I talk about how to show up as a person within the business. Too often, business becomes about implementing numerous policies and procedures without a truly human-based energy. “There’s also a human system that’s outside your organization that really influences what you do, and it’s the voices of the demands to be more environmentally friendly. It’s to solve some of the problems like the wage gap or diversity and inclusion. So people become way more important today and into the future, in a broader sense, than they were in the past,” says Deborah.
Use AI for Efficiency and People for Innovation
Humans help innovate, problem solve, and have hopes and dreams that help drive them forward. Deborah believes that these are important elements that contribute to a business’s success and that we need to find the right balance between technology and people. She says, “We can take technology and replace humans in very mundane things where you don’t need creativity, innovation, and real problem solving. But today, as you replace that technology in your organization to be more efficient, it makes the human even more important because you are having to solve more complex problems. You’re striving for innovation. So that’s human-centric.”
Find my interview with Deborah Westphal here: The Chief Customer Officer Human Duct Tape Show LIVE with Deborah Westphal
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