The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 1 month ago

163. Restoring the Balance: Human-Centered Communication w/Ethan Beute


A “paradigm shift” is a fundamental change in approach or assumptions. Modern communication is in the midst of one — a change from digital pollution to human-centered communication. 

I’m Ethan Beute, Chief Evangelist at BombBomb, host of The Customer Experience Podcast, and co-host of the CX Series on the B2B Growth Show. I co-wrote a book about this communication shift with my longtime friend and colleague Steve Pacinelli, CMO at BombBomb, called Human-Centered Communication. 

(P.S. It is publishing today! Find it here.)  

In this episode, I discuss:

  • What the implications of a mass mindset are
  • How Steve and I wrote our book around the insights of 11 experts
  • How to restore the balance of digital and human in communication
  • What human-centered communication means for organizations
  • Why you should read our book 

Subscribe, listen, and rate/review the Customer Experience Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or Google Podcasts, and find more episodes on our blog. 

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Or the shift ultimately is from digitalpollution to human ser communication. It's a shift from unwelcome digitaldistractions to thoughtful digital experiences. The single most important thing you cando today is to create and deliver a better experience for your customers,learn how sales marketing and customer success experts create internalalignment, achieve desired outcomes and exceed customer expectations in apersonal and human way. This is the customer experience podcast, here'syour host Ethan, but about two hundred years ago we experienced the onset ofthe industrial revolution about one hundred years ago we experienced theimplementation of Henry Ford's Assembly Line uniformity, homogeneity,interchangeability interchangeable parts, interchangeable people,interchangeable products, a high degree of efficiency, mass markets, massproduction, mass media, mass mindsets and, while one hundred years ago andtwo hundred years ago may seem like a long time, we're still wrestling withthe implications of the mass mindset in the way that we approach our work today in the way that we approach our communication today in the way that wego to market to day in the way that we see and treat people today today is Tuesday October. Twelve, twothousand and twenty one: not only is it the release day of this podcast episode.It's the release day of the Second Book that I've Co authored. With my longtimefriend and my longtime team member bombum chief marketing officer, StevePasinelli, you may know Steve for having hosted the past several episodesover the course of the summer. Here on the customer experience podcast with me,the book is titled Human Centered Communication, a business case againstdigital pollution. It comes to you from Fast Company press. Of course you canorder it right now at Amazon or wherever you buy books. You just searchhuman center communication or you can...

...learn more about it and get links toorder it by visiting bomboost, and if you do it here in the next couple ofdays, you can still claim some of the preorder bonuses that come with yourorder of the book. In this short episode, I want to share with you thebroader shift and the broader trend that makes this a timely and relevantmessage to day and before I get into that shift. I just want to share withyou a little bit of insight as to how this was assembled. Of course, Steve,and I write about digital pollution, what it is why it matters we writeabout human centered communication and its roots in human center design anddesign thinking, but we also engaged nearly a dozen experts in sales inmarketing and emotional intelligence in leadership and management and a varietyof other disciplines. Those people have guessed it on the podcast over the pastseveral weeks, the past couple of months, so you can get to know thembetter, but what I want to share about that is that, prior to interviewingeach of these people for the book Steve- and I read their blog posts- we readtheir books. We watched their youtube channels, we listen to their podcast,we scanned their social feeds. We knew several of these people very well, someof them we only knew of and we're lucky to be in conversation with them. Forthe purposes of this book and the way we started all of those interviews,some of which were over two hours long, and certainly all of them- involve preinterview and Post interview, conversation back and forth, refinement,clarity, understanding addition et CETERA. We started each interview thesame way. What is your guiding business or salesphilosophy? What role is human connection and human relationships playin that philosophy? And third, how does video help you build human connectionand human relationship? In this context, the fact of the matter is we're goingto be spending more time in the future and digital virtual and online spaces,not less that these spaces are...

...increasingly noisy and polluted andwill get noisier and more polluted as we go forward as a consequence,attention is harder and more expensive to get. We need to value it more highly trust becomes more difficult to buildand, as a consequence, Soda's engagement and trust is increasinglyfragile. Given these dynamics, so we asked all of these people about thesedynamics, so it's filled with their philosophy, their strategy and thetactics that they use every day to connect and communicate moreeffectively in the face of ever increasing digital noise and pollution,and you may have already identified the connection between the industrialrevolution and environmental pollution and these trends in the rise of digitalpollution. Environmental pollution draws down our natural capital. Digitalpollution draws down our social capital again think trust as the key component.There trust is the grease in the glue. Trust makes good things go much quicker,andd. It makes good things, stick good people, good situations, goodrelationships, et Cetera. So as I move now into this broader shift in trendthat makes human center communication so timely, I just want to address thefact that some of these ideas may seem provocative, but there is nothingradical about them. It's more of a restoration. It's a rebalancing of howwe approach our work at sales, people, marketers customer service and customersuccess, professionals, leaders, managers and any of the other rulesthat we might find ourselves in this shift is a rebalancing of efficiencyand effectiveness, not just biasing tord efficiency and scale, but reallyconsidering again, what is effective, what actually works? How can we be moreeffective? This shift is from the industrial to the personal, from massmarkets through segments down to markets of one a couple more truthshere. We all know that the buyers journey is non linear and to say thatis a gross understatement, so we're meeting people at different pointsalong the journey. Why would we assume...

...that we can set up some assembly lineand just get people on and move them through right and, if you're a listenerto this podcast? Your approach probably isn't that crude, but there's still anelement of it in so many businesses today. In addition, commoditizationit's in most markets today for about the same cost. You can get about thesame value, and so how do we differentiate? Certainly taking a humancenter to approach to our communication will help another truth. Customers havemore control and a stronger voice than ever before. So when we high five eachother for increasing conversion from two point, four percent to threepercent: We're just like high fiving over the twenty five percent. Lift.Congratulations, we're not paying any attention to the ninety seven percentfailure rate. What's going on out there are we killing our own addressablemarket? Are we generating negative word of mouth customers with more controland a stronger voice will make that problem a much more interesting problemin the years to come? A final truth here. Customer experience is thedifferentiator and its essence is how we make people feel the emotionalresidence that we leave people with every time they interact with us or oneof our people or a digital touch point or a physical or analog touch pointwhen they interact with our product or our service. All of these leave someform of emotional residence, and this feeling is a foundation for thought anda foundation for action. It's also a foundation for memory, so to doubleback what to customers talk about who to customers talk about the people thatleave an emotional impression that could be positive or it could benegative. So we need to keep that in mind. So this restoration, this shifthere a few other themes and a few other ways to say it. We need to move fromtreating people as numbers to people as people. Now it sounds obvious, itsounds intuitive, it might even sound trite and yet in so many organizationswe don't behave that way. We set up systems and processes and roles thatdehumanize our team members or that...

...have our team members to humanize ourcustomers, treating people as people and making them feel that way is a re,humanizing effort we're moving from personas to people. Congratulations toall of us were generally not approaching the market as a mass marketwere approaching it in a segmented way with ices and personas, but the bestcompanies are treating that as the start of the process and use a blend ofhumans and machines to treat people as individual people. This is a shift fromhomogeneity to diversity, from generic to specific, from mass markets tosegments to markets of one one of the themes that comes up a couple of timesin the book is the Golden Rule Right treat others as you prefer to betreated. Basically, every religion and philosophical system has some versionof this rule in place, and it's great. If more of US operated from the goldenrule throughout our day, it would be a better world to live and work in, butwhat we should aspire to is the platinum rule to treat each person asshe or he prefers to be treated. This goes down to the individual anothershift from selling to helping this came up so many times in the book. I'mthinking specifically of Dan Tyre who's, the sixth employee and first salesperson at hub spot, as well as Mario Martinez, junior, the founder and CEOof Ingress. They both spoke at length and very explicitly about sales, as theart of helping dance has always be closing is dead. Instead, it should bealways be helping. The entire Mo at Van Grasso is to treat sales as the art ofhelping and when you think about that, itinvolves a shift, we're going to think about the other person and how we canhelp them rather than approaching it as what canwe sell them again, it seems intuitive. It seems like really nice language andit becomes much more interesting and challenging to do not just dayto day inour work, but to do it day to day in...

...our work as our organization scales, sowe're shifting from people as numbers to people as people were shifting frompersonas to individual people were shifting from selling to helping here'sanother one. We're shifting from focusing on the revenue goal tofocusing on the impact goal. Jack, O Vandercook of winning by design, reallyhits this one home in chapter three of the book, and this one seems like itrequires a leap of faith, even though it shouldn't. If we make customerimpact and customer value the goal, then the revenue will follow and all ofus are in recurring revenue businesses. Of course, a direct subscription modelis one that more and more companies are adopting, but even short of asubscription model. We rely on repeat business, expanded business referralbusiness, so we should all seek to create recurring impact first, knowingthat when we do that, that's the foundation for recurring revenuerecurring revenue is the outcome, it's a positive consequence and, of courseit's the primary reason. We undertake customer impact in the first place. Theproblem is: If we lead with revenue as the primary goal, then we're chasingthe number and we wind up dehumanizing people in the process. It can work, butI'm air quoting here, because that two point four to three percent conversionexample. I offered doesn't account for the ninety seven percent. What lookslike it's working may not actually be working. We might possibly be doingmore harm than good, but the good is easy to see and measure and the harm isvery difficult to see and difficult to measure, so we're shifting our primaryfocus from revenue to impact, knowing that revenue will come and come againand be retained and expanded and referred as a result of delivering thatimpact another one shifting from...

...automatic to intentional. So often weapproach our work in an automated way. We have our to do list. Some of thetasks are repetitive: We're focused on banging out the tasks and reaching theactivity goal, or we have a whole bunch of things in front of us. We need toreply to a bunch of emails, and so what do we need to say? What do I need tosay? I just type it out, and I say it and not enough intentional thought orcare. What's in it for the other person, why would someone pick up the phone?Why should someone play this video? Why would someone reply to this email?What's in it? For the other person, just a small degree of intentionalitycan dramatically improve our results. The next shift is one that's been goingon for some time now and we all know that it's true the shift from thecorporate voice to the human voice. What do people prefer to hear? What dopeople believe as real? Do? I believe, the television ad where a corporatevoice is telling me something or do I believe, my three friends who say thisproduct or service is awesome or terrible or absolutely worth it or notworth it at any price. We believe more in the human voice. We connect more tothe human voice. It's not as stilted, it's not as contrived it's not as selfmotivated. It sounds like real people because it is real people. So how do weinject that into more of our work every day? Yes, we may need marketing toprovide us some useful language, but is that language being delivered in astilted corporate voice or is it coming in more of a natural human voice? Doesit sound like something you would say if it's going to be in your voice, mailor it's going to be in your email or it's going to be in your video, it sureought to sound a lot like something you would say and about the way that youwould say it. Ideal you'd even have the creative freedom to make sure that itdoes, and if it's your responsibility to manage those people in processes,you might think about giving people the creative freedom to do that, and if anyof this starts to sound like moralizing, do know that you can undertake theseefforts and make these shifts on moral...

...grounds alone. It's just the rightthing to do, but, more importantly, as we move forward, this is the mosteffective thing we can do if we want access to people, if we want them totrust us and engage with us. If we want to build a reputation with people andwith the machines that increasingly control what they see and hear and haveavailable to interact with, then we need to shift more toward what peopleneed and want. The shift ultimately is from digital pollution to human centercommunication. It's a shift from unwelcome digital distractions tothoughtful digital experiences, so that people say things like I love hearingfrom your name or your company name or your name or your company name isalways so helpful when we can start a fly wheel like that attention becomesmuch easier and less expensive to get trust grows and grows. Engagement is anatural consequence that no one needs to think twice about in. This is whererelationships, reputation and revenue are built. If you want to meet thoseeleven people that I mentioned, feel free to visit, Bom Bambo book or go tobomboost when you go to bombum com, flash PODCAST YOU'LL see a post forevery single episode in it. I include video clips a short write up and linksto the people and things that come up during those conversations in the post.For this episode all imbed, a video where I give this presentation a littlebit more formally with some stories and some examples, a call back to howcommerce was done just a few centuries ago, truly sensational, sights soundssmells human voices, a high degree of transparency and authenticity andability to compare products and services and ability to interact withthe people behind the product or the service. Again, that's at bomboost, myname is Ethan but Co. Author of Human...

Centered Communication, a business caseagainst digital pollution. I welcome your direct feedback. Hit me up on linkin my last name. Is Spelled B e? U T E, that's Ethan bute or you can email medirectly, even Ethan at bombace. I would be happy to hear from you. Iwelcome your thoughts, your feedback, your questions, your objections. My goal here is to slowly shiftbusiness culture in the direction that it's already moving toward betterrelationships towards stronger reputations and toward more revenue. Iappreciate you listening. I hope you've enjoyed these ideas. I do hope youorder the book and, let me know you did so I'd be happy to send you. The bonusmaterial have a great rest of the month, have a great rest at the quarter have agreat rest of the year and, thanks again for listening to the customerexperience podcast, clear communication, human connection, higher conversion.These are just some of the benefits of adding video to the messages yoursending every day. It's easy to do with just a little guidance to pick up theofficial book. Rehumanize your business, how personal videos, accelerate salesand improve customer experience learn more in order today at Bombon Bock,that's B, O m B Bombombay thanks for listening to the customer experience.podcast remember the single most important thing you can do today is tocreate and deliver a better experience for your customers, continue learningthe latest strategies and tactics by subscribing right now in your favoritepodcast player, or visit Bom Bombo podcast t.

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