Humans have amazing capabilities and, even more, they can be amplified by the power of technology. When both are working in harmony, what was once impossible becomes possible. Technology is now the “X” factor that can help you become more efficient while more effectively serving your base. When it is intentionally aligned with human effort, technology acts a weapon you can wield to strengthen your organization, increase the ability of your team and delight your customers or members. Discovering this human/technology balance is a process we often walk our clients through; many of these clients are in the financial services space, which is an industry being transformed by technology as much as any. There will be winners and losers in the financial space and the defining variable will be how well you can learn to integrate humans and technology to deliver your business model. We call this integration Humalogy.
What is Humalogy?
Humalogy is the integration of technology and human effort to improve processes and offer a positive and meaningful impact on an organization. That’s only when Humalogy is properly balanced. Understanding the Humalogy balance is critical because if left unbalanced it can be expensive to an organization, highly infuriating to customers or both. The balance you find will enable you to do some magical things. Here are just a few examples:
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- Increase your individual, team and organizational effectiveness and capacity through lean processes and efficiency
- Increase the quantity of potential and current customers that you are able to effectively reach with your messaging
- Create an environment of profit amplification by both reducing costs through automation while shaping a better customer experience through the use of digital tools
- Implement customer service enhancements through technology-enabled convenience such as self-service
- Enable people in your organization to be more productive and satisfied in their role, because technology has freed their time to accomplish tasks that humans do well while avoiding mundane, automated assignments. Simply, they’re able to focus on the satisfying, cerebral aspects of their careers.
The Humalogy Scale
We have developed the Humalogy scale to measure the balance of human and technology effort. We use this scale with our clients, many in the risk insurance space. Some processes lean heavily on humans (H5 on the Humalogy scale), and others primarily rely on technology (T5). Zero is an equal balance of effort from both humans and technology. What is important to recognize is that there is no “universally correct” balance. The proper balance for any space is the balance that yields you the highest level of efficiency combined with the best possible customer or member experience.
For example, H5 would be an insurance agent traveling to an accident and manually filling out a claim. Moving across the scale, we find a claimant snapping a picture of the accident using a smartphone and then filing a claim using a mobile app and receiving payment through direct deposit. This requires much less human effort and so is high on the T-side of the scale.
By defining where these processes are on the Humalogy Scale, it becomes easier to determine where to apply technology to drive efficiency, scalability or repetition. At the same time, in our technology-augmented world, we need to be conscious that some processes can be improved by adding the human elements that supply empathy, innovation and build trust.
Tasks more suited for human work involve rational processing of information, deep thinking, social and emotional intelligence and those tasks that require creativity, intuition and improvisation. Meanwhile, tasks more suited for computers are those that execute rules or processes, involve repetition or mechanization, require big data analysis or are too dangerous or too large or small for a human to accomplish.
Finding Humalogy Balance
Humalogy is important because when you apply this process to your business, it becomes a lens that can help you improve customer service while creating a lean organization that lowers costs.
Have you taken inventory of the technology expectations of your members? No industry is exempt from the evolving expectations of constituents who want access to services easily and instantly. Self-service is how industries are meeting the customer where they are — customers are now equipped to complete tasks that once required a service representative, often from their personal tablet or smartphone. Defining which processes you can automate and provide self-service using technology will help satisfy your customers and endear them to you.
On the other hand, the wrong Humalogy balance can result in poor customer service and a loss of loyalty. If your approach to Humalogy is not planned, often what may have been calculated for good can result in catastrophe. How many times have you felt alienated as a customer because a service provider tipped its Humalogy scale and traded personal touch for an automated call center? If someone wants to speak to a human representative, it is important to offer the opportunity.
Humalogy is a tool that can be considered in a number of functional areas. The two primary ways we apply Humalogy in the risk insurance space is through lean and relationship journey mapping.
Humalogy-Based Lean to Strengthen Process Efficiency
Humalogy-based lean is designed to help organizations improve their back office processes so that they’re more efficient. Some companies follow Lean Six Sigma practices that have emerged from years of optimizing physical and manufacturing processes. These methods are powerful and effective but can be very narrowly focused on the process. At other times, this approach may improve the human parts of the process but fall short when it comes to implementing technology. On the other end of the spectrum, aggressive automation efforts driven by technologists may miss important nuances that may be better handled by humans. In the worst case, a technology-centric approach can result in automating broken processes.
How do you get, and stay, on the right path so that you both improve your processes and automate appropriately? We recommend applying a Humalogy lens that lets you examine a process from some distinct angles:
- It lets us decide if a process involves a greater emphasis on human effort or technology effort. This helps us understand which processes are too heavily human and in need of automation.
- It helps determine which processes we should immediately devote attention to improving. We are able to prioritize more effectively.
- It acts as a reminder that a solution isn’t always a technology solution. Often with processes, a greater human involvement is necessary to help a process run more effectively.
- When we analyze processes, we are forced to diagram those processes to understand what is happening at each step. This gives deeper insight into how technology may be used to transform a process.
While Humalogy-based lean can help you improve back-office processes, studying Humalogy from the perspective of your customers will help improve their experience. This is accomplished by mapping the relationship journey.
Humalogy to Improve Customer Experience
Relationship journey mapping involves walking alongside your customers as they engage with your organization. We develop a subset of very targeted groups based on individual personas. In this process, we analyze together each critical stage of your customer or member journey and evaluate the touch points where you have the opportunity to engage directly with these personas. The goal of journey mapping is to maximize each opportunity and design the best possible experience for each customer.
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The consideration of Humalogy is an important component of our journey mapping process. As you consider each of the personas who interact with your organization, you will also consider their proclivity to use technology at each stage. Would he want you to deliver all correspondence electronically? Would she be more willing to read a print newsletter you’ve sent her in the mail, or would an email with the information that you wish to present her suffice. Is he more likely to use a desktop computer or a smartphone? Would she be interested in a mobile application or online portal? Journey mapping allows you to consider the needs of each individual and then discover ways to satisfy those needs.
Developing and using proper journey maps allow you to create a one-to-one experience for each of your customers. You will understand how to provide positive engagements that they will likely choose to discuss with their networks. In short, you can increase your value to your customers, and that’s really what it’s all about.
Technology is already transforming your life and your industry. Technology can also, in an incredible way, transform your organization, everything from your day-to-day operations to the way you engage your customers.