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The Modern Customer Podcast

The Modern Customer Podcast is a show exploring the intersection of customer experience, social customer service and content. We will also dive into related leadership topics. The show is hosted by Forbes contributor and customer experience strategist Blake Morgan and features guests that include practitioners, authors, influencers and other tastemakers.
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Now displaying: September, 2015
Sep 23, 2015

Can you imagine a bank that’s customer service agents create rapport with customers, so much so that they will learn intimate information about the customer and act on it? For example a customer service agent might talk with the customer about literature and then send them an actual book in the mail. This is not strange for ATB Financial, formerly known as Alberta Treasury Brand Financial—this bank is not your average contact center. Benchmarking itself with companies like Starbucks and Apple, ATB Financial decided to do something different when it comes to the freedom they give their contact center agents. This week's Modern Customer Podcast guest is ATB Financial’s Dwayne Calder, director, customer care and operations. Leveraging call recording to replace “hand written customer signatures” with verbal consent, the company reduced customer effort and elevated the customer experience. With a focus on supporting its customer experience process design, ATB Financial employs speech analytics to translate voice of the customer data into actionable improvements by using customer conversations and frontline team members to identify root cause of customer challenges. ATB Financial is a unique bank with a compelling customer engagement story. Tune into this week's Modern Customer Podcast to hear more.

Sep 18, 2015

It's counter-intuitive to most business practices to bring your customer in at the highest levels of the company to improve the company. However the members of the Chief Customer Officer Council are familiar with not only how to do this, but the many benefits of creating a seat for the customer right next to the other c-suite executives. Curtis Bingham, Founder and Executive Director of the Chief Customer Officer Council knows this well. He's this week's guest on The Modern Customer Podcast.

In this podcast Bingham talks about how the Chief Customer Officer Council presents a collective crystal ball that tells where the customer is going and how can we chart a path to meet the customer there. Today customer experience is a known differentiator but it wasn't always that way. If we think about differentiators over time, it used to be who had the fastest cheapest product, then it was logistics such as who could deliver the product or service the fastest and most cost effective, then customer service became a known differentiator--though some companies still don't understand this concept. Now it’s about moving beyond the experience to see who is willing to engage customers and co-design and co-develop products with them?

The Chief Customer Officer drives customer strategy at the highest levels of the company. The Chief Customer Officer is uniquely accountable for customers, like the CEO is uniquely accountable for shareholder value and the CFO is responsible for performance in financial markets. There’s a handful of objectives shared by all chief customer officers. One objective is to drive profitable customer behavior. How do we aquire the most valuable customers? How do we drive customer engagement and loyalty? How do we create a customer-centric culture? The responsibilities of the chief customer officer varies by job-type. Some chief customer officers have line authority which is officially sanctioned authority to issue orders to subordinates (small and mid-size companies this is popular), large companies focus more on retention. At the larger companies they might own the call center or professional services if they have line authority, or in some cases they’re a staff function. They’re there to improve processes across all the business units. There are common accountabilities of chief customer officers such as how they’re involved in customer issue escalation and resolutions. For the first year the chief customer officer is in the role they’re dealing with customer issues. They’re focused on gaps between desired customer experiences and actual customer experiences. The chief customer officer is focused on metrics and analyses. The chief customer officer unfortunately spends a lot of time proving their value which is a shame because they’re not able to do as much for the customer. They're busy playing politics. During the recession the chief customer officer was the first high level officer to get cut--unfortunately for these companies. The chief customer officer is also focused on deriving value from every customer segment, and determining what type of relationship you want to have with your key customers, and what do they want from you. They spend a lot of time addressing customer needs, and balancing those customer needs with the requirements of the business.  The average tenure of the chief customer officer is thirty months. However it can take three or even five years to clearly demonstrate the value of the company. Short-termism hurts customers and the business. Wall Street loves it, but it’s hard to change customer attitudes in one quarter. It’s important to define customer engagement.

Curtis Bingham says if you talk to marketing agencies, they define customer engagement as when you interrupt the customer's flow with a pop up on the customer's screen—the agency puts something in the way of the customer's workflow to post the company message. Customer engagement as Curtis Bingham and the chief customer officers of his council define it, it’s the willingness of the customer to devote discretionary time to the company for mutual benefit. What is the number of activities the customer participates in?

To learn more about the collective crystal ball of the chief customer officer council--and other secrets about the CCO role, tune in to this podcast.

Sep 15, 2015

Not every company's Chief Customer Officer has the same scope. For example at DoubleDutch, Chief Customer Officer Annie Tsai manages both the customer service and sales teams.

In this podcast Chief Customer Officer Annie Tsai talks about her secret sauce to leading customer engagement for such a fast growth company with a unique stakeholder audience. She's a great example of how to lead when you're clientele is both B2B and B2C. She talks about how brands are making an effort to engage with customers via social media, and how DoubleDutch is adding a personal touch to community engagement (for not just B2B clients).

Annie's work day starts around 5am. In our podcast she opens up to talk more about what it's like to have an exciting and demanding career and a young child at home. Annie is passionate about mentoring others and has solid advice on not only customer engagement but career advice for newbies to customer engagement.

More about Annie Tsai

Annie is a customer experience focused executive with a "jack of all trades" mentality. She’s known as a balanced strategic and operational leader that loves to roll up her sleeves and get down to business. She’s also a published author and industry speaker. Prior to DoubleDutch she was Chief Customer Officer at Demandforce, an Intuit company where she oversaw customer success during DemandForce’s fastest period of growth. While at Demandforce, Annie transformed the way their customers used technology and social tools, building trust and community around the Demandforce product. At DoubleDutch, she spearheads a similar paradigm shift, increasing not only application adoption and utilization, but event return on investment for customers as well.

DoubleDutch provides mobile applications and performance analytics for events, conferences, and trade shows for more than 1,000 customers including SAP, UBM, and Urban Land Institute. Founded in 2011, DoubleDutch was recently named to Inc. 5000’s list of fastest growing private companies, AlwaysOn’s Global 250 best-of-breed private companies in SaaS and Enterprise, and Forbes’ list of 10 hot companies to work for in San Francisco. DoubleDutch is based in the Mission District of San Francisco with regional offices in Amsterdam, London, Hong Kong, and Portland. DoubleDutch has raised almost 80 million dollars since its inception in 2011.

Show note correction: Annie Tsai will be speaking at Frost & Sullivan this year but not Gartner

For more customer experience content from Blake Morgan sign up for the Customer Experience Weekly here.

Sep 7, 2015

Your brand is no longer defined by one marketing message but rather the daily interactions customers have with the brand. Brands today realize in an effort to differentiate with customer experience they need to go above and beyond with service.

You can't talk about customer service without talking about the technology that's driven customer service for the last thirty years. Namely, customer relationship management (CRM) technology. According to Davy Kestens, CEO of Sparkcentral and this week's podcast guest for The Modern Customer, there are multiple misconceptions about the CRM space.

CRM has become sales process optimization or automation software. Companies looking to leverage customer data for other reasons find themselves in a lurch. For many large enterprises CRM is the place where data gets dumped. With the repeated dumping of data, many large companies find their customer data unusable.

The CRM space has bloated itself with many players with varying use cases. According to Kestens today's CRM is not living up to its expectations. This is why it takes so long to get help with you contact the contact center of a company. While you are on hold the agent is flipping through 15 different tabs.

Kestens predicts in the future brands will be engaging in a battle of customer experience. But today's brands are a long way from there.

Podcast guest Davy Kestens was called the next Aaron Levie by Forbes Magazine. Today his company SparkCentral has a clientele featuring the world’s largest brands including Delta, T-Mobile, Uber, Lyft, Lululemn, Dropbox, Arby’s and Emirates. Listen to our podcast to learn more about what he is doing to pioneer a new era of customer engagement.

Disclosure: Sparkcentral is a client of Blake Morgan's company Flight Digital.

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