Joe Mugford
November 2016.

What’s the next big transformative change in business?

1 answer

Feeling: the humanization of everything we do. The next great age in our approach to business is to understand that everybody is desperately hungry for a renewed sense of humanity in a world that’s being shaped by technology. It will become increasingly important to look at opportunities that make a company, brand or individual <more human> and more memorable for a customer, or client. It will be as important to act with kindness as well as with intelligence. Rather than financial contracts, businesses will be looking to create emotional ones, too.

An insurance company called USAA in San Antonio, Texas understands this. They deliver financial services to active and retired members of the US military, plus their families. They’re one hell of a business juggernaut with $20billion of revenue, 10million customers and 20,000 employees. They only do business online or over the phone, yet customer satisfaction surveys and Gallup polls say they’re beloved by every customer. They’re a passion brand.

How? They think very carefully about how they train their workforce. They create empathy. During training, their staff work on a huge campus. To ensure they understand some of the experiences of their customers they walk between classes with a standard army-issue backpack weighing 65lbs. Other times, they might have to wear Kevlar bulletproof vest for a day. They’re occasionally issued with ready-to-eat meals at lunch – the ration packs with tubes that soldiers use in warzones. USAA don’t just want to be a company, they want to be a cause. That style of humanization will be the next great move in modern business.