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E115 | Making Business More Human with Hilary Corna

Do you know what your company’s nine touch points are? The things that are the most important to your clients? Could you say, off the top of your head, what is most important to your customers pre-sale, during the sales process and after sale?

Do you even have touch points that are so remarkable that people continue to talk about you long after the engagement?

Meet Hilary Corna, author, speaker and CEO of coaching consulting business, Corna Partners. Hilary is on a mission to humanise business. She works predominantly with SMB to help them design uniquely human custom experiences to enable them to grow. 

“I’m humanising their customer experience, from end to end point, really focused on this new world that we live in. It’s an intersection of work, humanity and culture. And as the world is becoming more human, more aware, more conscious, more open minded, we’re allowed to show more of our sides of our identity.”

Hilary says that every business has nine touch points that are important to the customer, not to the company, to the customer. It’s your job as the leader of the company, to identify those nine touch points and make them wow your customers. 

This is a really insightful conversation with a truly effervescent person. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

On today’s podcast:

  • Why she’s focused on humanising business
  • Humanisation of process
  • Digi-human divide
  • Intentional human customer experience design
  • Customer for life cycle
  • Your nine customer touchpoints
  • Humanise your agreements
  • Create customer focused content


How To Humanise Business And Processes with Hilary Corna

Hilary Corna has made it her mission to humanise business, to help her customers humanise their processes, to humanise their customer experience. 

“Our mission is to humanise business. Using my background in operations and process improvement as well as CX and customer experience design, I work with companies, primarily small to medium sized businesses, around $50 to 100 million, to help humanise their customer experience, to drive better margins to the bottom line.”

There’s an awakening happening in humanity and society, says Hilary, and it’s driving change in business. 

Coronavirus is expediting the situation, conversations around mental health, for example, have increased and as we are all forced to work from home, so we are revealing more about ourselves to our colleagues. We aren’t just one dimensional work beings. We are human, with lives outside of work. And where personal conversations didn’t have a place in the workplace pre-COVID, now they do. Because work and home are so tightly intertwined right now. There is no separation between the two, for most of us. 

Humanising process

We live in a world right now, says Hilary, that is run by apps. We’re at a unique milestone in our civilisation, at the crossroads between humans, work and culture. 

Humanity is changing, we’re more worldly than we’ve ever been. 

“We’re getting married later. We have more disposable income. We’re desiring experiences, not things. We are becoming wiser. We’re becoming more open minded.”

It’s not that technology is bad, says Hilary, technology has enabled society in ways we can’t imagine and helped companies run with machine-like efficiency. But it’s not the answer. 

“We have pushed technology to the point where it’s made these amazing operations. And as a result, we’ve actually pushed ourselves away from our customer. We’ve automated the shit out of our businesses to the point where we barely talk to people, and then we take pride in it.”

The irony of this, says Hilary, is that it makes it harder for customers to give us their money. Automations are all good and well, but if they’re used incorrectly, they actually build barriers, they don’t enable processes. 

Digi-human divide

So while technology is careering on at breakneck pace, on the other side we humans are becoming more aware. We are more informed, more educated. We know what automation is, we know what an automated email is. Where the unsubscribe button is. We aren’t beholden to a company, an insurance agency, a financial advisor, because they all use the same technology. The technology has become homogenised. It no longer sets companies apart. 

“I don’t believe technology is the way companies can compete in the next era of business. I think technology is becoming an expectation. And so if you compete based on product set, feature set, or price, you’re going to run your company into the ground, because someone’s going to show up the next day with something better.”

So if your business can’t, or shouldn’t, compete on technology, what can you compete on? Easy, says Hilary, you compete on the human element. 

“Compete with the human element, what a joy it is to work with your company, how you seek to understand the people you’re serving, how you deliver above and beyond their needs, how you have empathy for the struggles they’re going through. That’s what bridges connections and trust that have been disconnected because of technology.”

How do you know if you rely too heavily on technology? Simple, says Hilary, how hard is it to get hold of a real person in your company? 

Think of when people might need to get hold of you and design a process around that, making it easy for them to get in touch with a real person at the point where it will provide the most value. 

Intentional human customer experience design

Create processes that speed people through their journey with you. Build connections and bonds of trust that make a sales cycle quicker, get an agreement signed faster, simplify the agreement. Make onboarding fun, ensure your kickoff experience is so delightful that customers share it with friends and peers. The customer experience design is uniquely yours to have fun with. 

“It tends to be that businesses are focused on selling, setting up the automations, pushing people through the numbers, and then delivering the product service. But if you make a human experience design, you get more than that. You have fun, you have purpose. And you spark memories in people that make you remarkable.”

When you’re looking at the whole customer experience, the key, says Hilary, is to look at the touch points that are a priority to the customer. These are the experiences that matter the most to your customers. These are the places you should be humanising, prioritising. Just make sure what you do benefits your customers, not just you as the company. 

Make the customer feel like the hero

Every customer, says Hilary, at every stage of prospecting is asking themselves, ‘why should I  do business with you?’. 

Don’t be afraid to take their most pertinent questions and answer them before they ask them. 

Don’t flood the marketplace with generic content to boost your SEO, instead focus your efforts creating content that actually speaks to your customers, that actually answers their questions. It’s how you’ll get better results. It’s the difference between doing what’s good for the company and doing what’s good for the customer. And that’s the design part.

Book recommendations

Man’s Search For Meaning – Viktor Frankl

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