Article | by Julia Protesaru

Humanising the digital experience


A short summary of our favourite takeaways at Tonic 05

Having already explored data-powered customer experiences, the reality of AI when applied to user experiences and complex CX, Tonic 05 was the next event in the CX series.



We looked to explore ways in which we can bring digital journeys closer to a more fulfilling, value-adding and more human experience. 

The evening kicked off with some great food and drink, and Tom Downing from Freestyle made a start on the subject of humanising the digital experience using technology to trigger emotions. 

🧠 Top takeaways included: 

  • A faster CX is not always a better one, and that London commuters would rather queue on the escalators than break the rules, despite that it would be a more efficient way for the commuters’ flow.


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Freestyle's Tom Downing at Tonic 05, Birmingham


  • It’s been proven that the key memories we recall from experiences, are that of elevated experiences. So when we have above-expected experiences from brands, they form deep memories. So we must create peak moments, by forcing new experiences.
  • “People don’t see technology. Technology should underpin the creative execution of how a brand interacts with a customer, and be invisible.”


🛂 Next, Julia Bellis from Equal Experts took the stage to show us how she helped HM Passport Office’s (HMPO) renewal process decrease from 3-4 days of filling in forms and finding a photo booth, to 15 minutes. 

  • We learnt that sometimes you have to sacrifice a perfect solution for its close neighbour - the fast solution. Even if it means building an app that prints off a piece of paper whenever a digital submission has been completed (you had to be there).
  • It’s hugely important to get everyone to understand that they are all working towards the same goal. That means that everyone was not just interested, but it was committed to the cause, fully involved in the success and failure


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Equal Experts' Julia Bellis at Tonic 05, Birmingham

  • When you design something completely new to your organisation, you can’t always anticipate the problems you’re going to have to solve. For HMPO, humanising the experience meant clarifying the process especially for more complex journeys. For example, HMPO had to make it easy to understand who should be filling in the forms when you are a parent of a new-born, exemplify how to take your own photo, and provide reassurance that applications are being received and processed. Fast feedback from the public was key in making improvements.
Tonic 05 crowd

💸 Monzo’s Harry Ashbridge brought us closed to a humanised customer experience by exploring the world of words, their impact on customer experience and ultimately on the business’ income.

  • Harry began by shining a light on the damage an inconsistent tone of voice can have over your brand because “you’re only as good as the worst piece of writing you have”.
  • Words matter and this is backed up by practice: by simply changing 3 words in the sign-up flow, Monzo increased opt-ins for their overdrafts by 500%.


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Monzo's Harry Ashbridge at Tonic 05, Birmingham


  • If you want to be seen as smart and trustworthy, think about the language you use. And that’s not just in your marketing and emails, but also in more serious times like when you have to deal with a complaint, like when you’re addressing your terms and conditions or policies. We don’t need to use big, confusing words just because there is a problem.


We ended the evening with some late drinks, new connections and fresh ideas to take into work to humanise CX. And if the above sounds like something you’d like to be part of, our next event is on the 23rd of April, when we’ll be looking at measuring the customer experience.


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📸 And in case you're curious, the full photo gallery is available here.

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