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The Modern Customer Podcast

The Modern Customer Podcast is a show exploring the intersection of customer experience, digital transformation, and the future. We will also dive into related leadership topics. The show is hosted by Forbes contributor and customer experience futurist Blake Morgan and author of the new book The Customer of the Future: 10 Guiding Principles for Winning Tomorrow's Business. The show features guests that include practitioners, authors, influencers and other tastemakers.
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Now displaying: June, 2019
Jun 28, 2019

What’s the secret sauce to successful businesses? How do the best companies continually innovate and grow?

According to Tiffani Bova, Global Customer Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, there’s not one secret to success. Growth and success don’t come from just focusing on employees or building a customer-centric culture or going through a digital confirmation—it comes from a combination of all of those things and many more.

Bova created the idea of Growth IQ from her more than 20 years as a sales and marketing practitioner and academic. Her framework is designed to help companies looking to accelerate growth or recover from a growth stall.

The foundation of the Growth IQ is based on three principles:

  1. Pause and get context. Before growth can begin, practitioners and companies need to understand the context of their market. They need to know their competitors, what’s happening in the market, why they’ve won or lost in the past and their strengths as an organization. Taking time to look at the industry context creates a strong foundation instead of barreling forward without a full view of what’s happening.
  2. It’s never one thing. Growth doesn’t come from one path or action in isolation. Sustainable and meaningful growth is a combination of multiple growth paths that creates a flywheel to drive continued growth.
  3. Sequence matters. The order that companies do things in helps them have a better likelihood for success. The steps matter, but the order they are taken in is also crucial.

These growth principles are extremely important as industries change and are no longer protected from outside competition. Technology has made a huge impact on all industries, but Bova says the modern connected customer is more disruptive than new technology. That means companies need to focus on creating a customer-centric culture by putting their employees first. When the culture is right, everyone knows their roles in delivering meaningful customer experiences. That’s when real growth starts to happen.

Employees also need to be on board because everyone owns customer experience. However, Bova says someone needs to set the strategy that all employees follow. If the CEO isn’t involved in the employee first, customer-centric culture, those ideas won’t become integral to the company’s DNA.

Sustainable growth doesn’t come from just one area. It’s more than just putting employees first and creating a strong customer experience, although those definitely play large roles. The challenge is knowing where to focus first. But Bova says once a company decides, they need to stick with it and commit. True change and lasting growth is a process and don’t happen overnight. Committing to Growth IQ allows for a real impact on employees and customers, and ultimately on the bottom line. 

Jun 13, 2019

Embarking on a full-scale customer experience transformation is a huge undertaking, especially for an organization as large as Cisco. The company has made huge strides recently as it evolves its customer experience to build on its existing customer-first culture. Cisco Live is the premier event for education, inspiration and making connections for technology professionals. This year had 27,000 in-person attendees and more than half a million online views of the keynotes and sessions. Cisco Live is also a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate Cisco’s ongoing customer experience transformation. It’s rare to see a large company make such bold moves on customer experience. But as Cisco Senior Vice President Ish Limkakeng says, the goal is to become the best customer experience company—period. One of the reasons for Cisco’s success is the clarity of vision from executives. According to Jason McLaurin, Managing Director, Customer Experience – Japan, the bold moves from leadership help customer teams move quickly and keep up with changing trends and demands. That laser-focus on customers starts from the top, and sharing the vision with all employees creates an energizing culture ready to make positive change. Mike Adams, Vice President, Learning at Cisco, says successful change starts when executives commit to sticking with the transformation during its ups and downs. Empathy is vital to driving customer experience. McLaurin recommends spending time in the customers’ shoes and consuming their technology. Learn what it really means to live their work for a day. Find their end goal and trace back the requirements. Customer experience should be outcome-based and driven by a strong vision of how to help customers achieve their goals. Part of helping customers reach their goals is providing useful solutions. Many of Cisco’s products have transitioned to subscription and cloud-based models in recent years. Adams says those updates change how the company engages with its customers and pushes the need to add value at every stage of the customer lifecycle. The goal is to create a friction-less renewal process because customers see the overwhelming value of the products. Limkakeng says Cisco aims to help customers realize the full value of their investments. Culture plays a huge role at Cisco. Employees are encouraged to innovate and put customers first. Customer experience is ingrained in the culture and is part of everyday life for all employees. Limkakeng also lives by the principle of explaining to employees what’s in it for them so they can see how what they do every day fits into the overall business strategy. When employees know their role in the puzzle, they are more engaged. Cisco’s customer experience transformation is one of the biggest in recent decades and can be summed up in five words: move fast and move big. Cisco is well on its way to becoming an experience leader across all industries.

Jun 13, 2019

Embarking on a full-scale customer experience transformation is a huge undertaking, especially for an organization as large as Cisco. The company has made huge strides recently as it evolves its customer experience to build on its existing customer-first culture. Cisco Live is the premier event for education, inspiration and making connections for technology professionals. This year had 27,000 in-person attendees and more than half a million online views of the keynotes and sessions. Cisco Live is also a great opportunity to showcase and celebrate Cisco’s ongoing customer experience transformation. It’s rare to see a large company make such bold moves on customer experience. But as Cisco Senior Vice President Ish Limkakeng says, the goal is to become the best customer experience company—period. One of the reasons for Cisco’s success is the clarity of vision from executives. According to Jason McLaurin, Managing Director, Customer Experience – Japan, the bold moves from leadership help customer teams move quickly and keep up with changing trends and demands. That laser-focus on customers starts from the top, and sharing the vision with all employees creates an energizing culture ready to make positive change. Mike Adams, Vice President, Learning at Cisco, says successful change starts when executives commit to sticking with the transformation during its ups and downs. Empathy is vital to driving customer experience. McLaurin recommends spending time in the customers’ shoes and consuming their technology. Learn what it really means to live their work for a day. Find their end goal and trace back the requirements. Customer experience should be outcome-based and driven by a strong vision of how to help customers achieve their goals. Part of helping customers reach their goals is providing useful solutions. Many of Cisco’s products have transitioned to subscription and cloud-based models in recent years. Adams says those updates change how the company engages with its customers and pushes the need to add value at every stage of the customer lifecycle. The goal is to create a friction-less renewal process because customers see the overwhelming value of the products. Limkakeng says Cisco aims to help customers realize the full value of their investments. Culture plays a huge role at Cisco. Employees are encouraged to innovate and put customers first. Customer experience is ingrained in the culture and is part of everyday life for all employees. Limkakeng also lives by the principle of explaining to employees what’s in it for them so they can see how what they do every day fits into the overall business strategy. When employees know their role in the puzzle, they are more engaged. Cisco’s customer experience transformation is one of the biggest in recent decades and can be summed up in five words: move fast and move big. Cisco is well on its way to becoming an experience leader across all industries.

Jun 4, 2019

Many companies think of customer service as just what happens when a customer calls with a problem, but Cisco has transformed customer experience to include the entire customer journey. According to Alvio Barrios, SVP Americas Customer Experience, the goal of customer experience is to proactively engage with customers and help maximize the value of whatever products they’re getting from Cisco.

As the market transforms, Cisco’s products and services have also transformed. The same is true with customer experience. Customers want to get to market faster and be competitive, which means Cisco must proactively help customers and find opportunities to better optimize their solutions.

A number of factors contribute to Cisco’s customer experience transformation. It starts with a commitment from executives across the company. Customer experience impacts all functions of the company, so all executives need to be on board. Employees must also be engaged in customer experience. At Cisco, employees understand what’s happening in the industry because they’re experiencing it themselves. Part of Barrios’ job is to leverage customer focus and turn it into customer obsession to create an open, customer-first culture.

Customer experience transformation must happen fast because trends and technology are constantly changing. Cisco uses a feedback loop to listen to customers and find ways to improve its products and services so it can deliver a better experience in the future. Cisco also uses analytics and insights to find potential challenges and opportunities. Barrios says the most important thing about moving quickly is to be bold and totally committed. Challenges will arise, but a deep conviction and bold actions can help push through the trials.

Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Change takes time. Cisco celebrates the small wins and works to eliminate silos with a company-wide customer experience blueprint. Getting all employees on the same page and being honest will help everyone see success and the purpose of customer experience.

The best customer experience is proactive and comes from companies that are obsessed with their customers. Cisco shows that like the customers themselves, the experience should also be constantly transforming to provide amazing, proactive solutions.

This podcast is sponsored by Cisco.

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