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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: June, 2018
Jun 27, 2018

It’s a situation many people have found themselves in. As a young professional who was throwing herself into her career, Lori Wright looked around one day and realized the person she had become was not who she really was. She was so focused on building a great career that she neglected every other area of her life, from working through family vacations to not seeing friends or taking care of her personal well-being.

In what Wright calls a “catastrophic burnout moment”, she called her boss and quit a job she loved.

Wright, now the GM of Microsoft 365, uses that experience to help find balance in her life as a busy mom, executive and community member. One of her biggest life lessons is that working women can’t have it all and must make trade-offs.

Women are under a lot of pressure to be perfect in everything they do. Scrolling through Instagram or flipping through a magazine showcases women who seem to do everything perfectly—great careers, clean houses, well-behaved children, a strong marriage, community involvement, fit bodies and much more. But Wright wants women to realize that the idea of being perfect at everything is an illusion. No one is doing everything perfectly every day, and a big part of self care is giving yourself a break and realizing you can’t do it all.

The key is finding balance and trading off. Wright recommends laying out all of your responsibilities and then identifying the critical moments in each area. It could be that being at your kids’ soccer games or school pickup is critical for your family responsibilities and being at board meetings or employee trainings is critical for your work responsibilities. Critical moments are different for each person.

Be deliberate with your time and make sure that you show up for the important moments. As Wright says, once you leave college, you never get straight A’s in life. Instead, make the moments you need to get an A in for the day a priority. One day you may get an A in work and community involvement and a C in family responsibilities, but it balances out when you get an A in family and a B in work another day. What matters is that you’re there for the important work moments and the important family moments, as well as moments that are important in other areas. Time is finite, and accepting that there are trade-offs can be powerful in your work-life integration and overall success.

Wright also says it is important to help others along the way, especially other women. Every woman has a magic wand she can use to help someone and make another woman’s life easier. As we work to be more deliberate with our time, we can be honest and open about what else matters in our lives. Instead of only keeping work things at work and family things at home, we can bridge the gap and create more trusting relationships.

 

Wright sums it up with her advice to her younger self: enjoy the journey. Even with the trade-offs and challenges, there is joy in every day. Take the pressure off yourself to do everything perfectly and instead look around and enjoy the view.

Jun 20, 2018

Business leaders, contact center employees and sales associates interact with customers every day and are faced with requests, questions and a wide variety of complaints and issues. The customer experience largely comes down to how they respond—is it with a rote reply or a personalized reaction?

Jeanne Bliss, president of CustomerBliss, bestselling author and a pioneer in the CX field, wants leaders and employees to pause before responding and remember the human side of customer interactions. Her new book asks the question, “Would you do that to your mother?”

The idea is simple—we take good care of the people we care about, whether it’s our mother, sibling or a close friend. In many situations, there is a difference in how we treat customers and how we treat our loved ones. But every customer we interact with is someone’s mother, sibling or friend and should be treated with the same humanity and respect.

Bliss says the work of customer experience can get unnecessarily complicated. By pausing and evaluating the situation before taking action, practitioners can connect in a more human way instead of being stuck in a sea of processes and regulations. After all, customer experience comes down to connecting with people, not just sticking to a rule book.

An example Bliss cites in her book is Vail Resorts, which outlawed phrases like “Our policy is”, “Not my job” and “I don’t know.” The company gave its employees freedom to deliver the experience of a lifetime to its customers and provided the training and trust to go along with it.

If your mother called in with a warrantee claim three days after the warrantee expired, you wouldn’t give her a lesson in your company’s warrantee policy—you would simply take the claim and make an exception. The same should be true with other customers. If a long-standing customer calls with a warrantee claim just after the warrantee expires, take care of them like you would your mother. If not, you put that customer relationship at risk and open the door for them to go to a competitor.

One of the reasons people often overlook the humanity of customer experience is that there is a lack of trust in many organizations. When leaders don’t trust employees, it leads to a poor experience that drives away employees and customers. We should trust employees and trust customers, just like we trust our mothers and other loved ones.

Bliss also shares the example of Cleveland Clinic, which realized more than a decade ago that it just wasn’t pleasing customers. The organization implemented rules that meant that no employee, no matter if they were a doctor or worked in the gift shop, was allowed to pass a customer requesting help. It also made all employees caregivers and gave them training and permission to stop and help every customer and patient they saw. The company got rid of silos for a more holistic approach to customer experience. You wouldn’t leave your mother in the hallway of a hospital, so why would you do that to a customer?

Customer experience is all about humanity. More than profits or growth, it really comes down to connecting with customers and meeting their needs. As we build and strengthen relationships, the growth and profits come naturally. As Bliss says, we need to add humanity to customer experience and really ask ourselves, “Would I do that to my mother?”

 

Jun 14, 2018

The world of small business insurance has always been riddled with hoops to jump through. Instead of spending valuable time growing their businesses, entrepreneurs are forced to waste time on the arduous process of finding insurance. In many cases, these people end up just purchasing a policy to be done instead of being confident that they made the right decision for their business.

Next Insurance is on a mission to reinvent insurance for small business, and it centers around updating the customer experience. When Next Insurance entered the market two years ago, it realized that the insurance experience was universally unpleasant across all small business industries. According to COO Sofya Pogreb, there was lots of room for improvement.

One of the biggest paint points was simply the amount of time the entire insurance-buying process took. Oftentimes, small business owners only had a few days before they needed to have a policy in place, but it took weeks of dense paperwork to make a purchase.

Next Insurance turned that on its head by removing most of the humans from the application process and leveraging AI and machine learning technology. As Pogreb said, the vast majority of customers don’t actually want to talk with a human if they can have a better experience working with a machine. Instead of weeks of paperwork, most Next Insurance customers can buy a policy in 5 to 10 minutes, and 93% of them never talk to a human. The company has agents available for customers who prefer human interaction, but the vast majority of customers simply want speed and accuracy, which is provided with the the help of strong AI algorithms.

One of the biggest holdups for traditional insurance companies is the fragmentation of the value chain. The agents interacting with the customers might not understand their small business industry, and the data of what customers want and need isn’t getting to the back end and product development. Without a flow of data, the product and customer experience aren’t optimized to best meet the needs of customers.

Insurance essentially comes down to three main decisions: the underwriting decision, or if a company will sell insurance to a customer; the rating decision of how much the policy will cost; and the claims adjudication decision, which decides if the claim is covered and for how much. Traditional insurance companies use humans for each of these decisions, which is often why things take so long, instead of using data to make the process more efficient.

Next Insurance enables data to move through entire entire value chain to better understand the customer. Data is updated in real-time so product developers and those focused on customer acquisition can know what is and isn’t working with customers on everything from pricing to coverage.

Next Insurance is also leading the charge in how it handles claims, which Pogreb calls the moment of truth in insurance. One of the biggest frustrations for customers filing a claim, only to realize that their policy doesn’t actually cover what they thought it did. Next Insurance focused on transparency with customers so that they know from the beginning what is and isn’t covered.

According to Pogreb, there’s a revolution coming to the insurance industry in customer experience and product quality. Next Insurance and a growing wave of insurtech startups are leading the charge, but soon all companies will have to transform their customer experience and product offerings.

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