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The Modern Customer Podcast

Go behind the scenes with customer experience leader Blake Morgan to explore the secrets of the world’s most customer-centric companies. Blake is one of the world’s top keynote speakers, authority on customer experience and the bestselling author of “The Customer Of The Future” The Modern Customer reaches thousands of people each week conveying a message of how we make people feel - in business and in life - matters. Her weekly show explores how businesses can make customers’ lives easier and better, featuring experts that provide simple, tangible advice you can immediately apply at your own organization. Today’s customers have the luxury of choice. The answer is simple; choose customer experience and customers will choose you. Learn how to put a stake in the ground on customer experience by tuning into The Modern Customer Podcast each week with Blake Morgan.
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Now displaying: Page 1
May 17, 2022

Digital transformation is critical for all businesses today—but it isn’t something brands need to take on alone. 

Especially in the B2B world, involving customers in the transformation and making them valuable partners can lead to long-term success for the company, its B2B clients and their end-user customers.

Transformation Requires Relationships

Didem Cataloglu, President & CEO of DIREXYON Technologies, says companies must realize that customer experience is a journey and that many companies, especially in the utilities and energy industries that DIREXYON serves, are facing lots of changes. 

In a digital transformation, Cataloglu says that technology is just 20% of the solution. The other 80% is about the people. When going through a digital transformation, she recommends looking at it from the perspective of humans and how it impacts and changes their work and processes. Instead of immediately jumping to the newest or fastest new technology, consider the solutions from a human point of view.

As a technology company, DIREXYON provides technology. But Cataloglu says success comes from bridging the gap between technology and people. The brand’s main priority is connecting with customers, understanding their business needs and bringing them the best technology solution.

Success Comes From Providing Value

Involving customers in a digital transformation requires including them in conversations early on. The goal is to understand how the technology will improve their lives, but that’s only possible when companies know their customers and understand their processes and values. Companies can then advise customers on what’s coming and prepare them for the transition. Each journey and transformation is different, but becoming a trusted partner to customers means guiding them through the process and providing individual results. 

Cataloglu says the ultimate goal of a digital transformation is to create value for customers. And that value will change based on the individual needs of each customer and their end-users. Set goals at the beginning of how they will reach that value and check in with that goal throughout the process. Providing value should be the guiding force throughout the entire transformation.  

Digital transformation isn’t a one-time thing. It requires continual adoption and evolution, which means companies and their B2B customers must have dynamic relationships to progress together continually.

Cataloglu’s best advice is to get closer to customers and listen to them. Use those insights in your strategic planning to create personalized digital solutions. Transformation and providing value to customers isn’t easy, but it gets easier with technology.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here

May 10, 2022

We interact with money all day long—every time we pay for things, get a paycheck, check our bank balance or get a bill.

How do those interactions make you feel? 

For most people, dealing with money brings fear, anxiety and the thought that there will never be enough. 

But Amanda Frances, money guru and best-selling author of Rich as F*ck, says the first step to gaining financial freedom is to get over the idea that we’ll always be playing catchup. When we become aware of how we want to feel about money, we can bring those feelings and that mindset to every interaction. 

Personal wealth is possible, especially with the right mindset and actions to back it up. Frances knows it’s true because she built her multi-million-dollar brand from scratch and now teaches clients around the world the same principles with great success. 

Here are three ways to achieve personal wealth and financial freedom: 

1 . Know it’s possible. The foundation of achieving personal wealth is knowing that it’s possible. Frances says that if she didn’t believe success was possible, she wouldn’t have been able to make any of the moves that made her and her business what it is today. Without knowing that financial freedom is possible, people are more likely to settle instead of pushing themselves and pursuing their goals. But Frances is also clear that you can’t sit around thinking good thoughts and expect to get wealthy. Use the mindset that it’s possible to guide your actions and support your path to personal wealth.

2 . Believe you’re worthy and show up every day. Frances says the best way to get a raise and start earning more money is to believe you’re worthy of it and show up every day with that attitude. Knowing that you’re worthy of personal wealth and being compensated well for your work comes through in everything you do—the projects you take on, your attitude towards your boss and co-workers and the effort you put in. You can’t walk around thinking you’re inferior and then wonder why you’re treated like you’re inferior and aren’t paid well. That’s especially true for women, who often have to fight harder to be paid well. Frances says the attitude we have at our jobs is what we expect in our lives. When people change how they view their job and believe they are worthy of earning more, they show up differently. And that ultimately leads to them earning more money and gaining financial freedom.

3 . Expect to be the exception. Women often have to walk the line between coming across as too bold or being too timid. But Frances believes she can be an exception to the rule and that it doesn’t have to be that way for her. The same principle applies in everything from running a business to interacting with customers and managing your money. Don’t assume you’re going to have a negative situation because that’s how it’s always been for other people. Frances gave the example of her boyfriend, who owns a construction company. Late payments and shady deals are the norm, but she taught him to be the exception. Just because it’s the industry standard doesn’t mean it has to be your situation. Take control and do things on your terms to be the exception to the rule.

 Financial freedom starts with the right mindset. Believing it’s possible can put you on the path to personal wealth.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here

May 3, 2022

Since its creation, Lyft has been disruptive. 

It initially set out to eliminate the friction of getting a taxi. But over time, Lyft has grown into a transportation powerhouse. One reason for its success is its total focus on customers. 

When faced with the changes and challenges of the pandemic, Lyft took the opportunity to improve its digital services and undergo a digital transformation. 

The result is a frictionless experience that continues to disrupt the industry and shine as an example for all customer-focused digital brands. 

Customer-Centric Mindset

VP of Customer Experience Eric Burdullis says being a customer-centric organization means paying attention to the things that cause problems for your customers. Contact center agents have valuable insights to solve and prevent issues. At Lyft, the technology team regularly shadows customer service to see things from the customers’ perspective. Many employees even drive for Lyft to understand what works with the product and what doesn’t. 

Burdullis says that brands that aren't paying attention to their customers' problems are missing a big chunk of business. 

Pandemic Shift

Like many businesses, Lyft lost almost all its business overnight when the pandemic hit. And as people eventually started leaving home more, customers began contacting Lyft at higher rates about things that had never been issues before, including flexibility and health and safety inside cars. 

With a new customer mindset and a new world for operating, Burdullis led his cross-functional team to re-think all customer entry points from the ground up through a comprehensive digital transformation. The original goal was to eliminate 90% of contacts while improving NPS. 

The team talked to frontline agents and managers about the tasks they did every day that they didn’t feel were adding value to customers—things like refunding cancellation fees or providing the repetitive quick responses. That list grew to include every problem a customer may face. 

From those thousands of ideas, the team prioritized the customer issues and questions into two groups: those that could move to the app and those that could be proactively delivered.  

Lyft’s previous contact form came from the website, but the digital transformation moved almost everything to the app to create easy access points. 

Instead of waiting for customers to contact the company, Lyft shifted to proactively reaching out to customers who may have a specific issue or providing self-service options to answer questions and resolve problems quickly. The transition required strong data analysis efforts to track the entire customer journey.  

Lasting Transformation

Coming out of the pandemic, Burdullis says Lyft offers better service and in-app connected service to chat and human agents. Instead of all customers having to use the old web help form to connect to a human agent, Lyft is thoughtful about every piece of the journey and intentionally designs with customers in mind. 

Although Lyft didn’t get to its goal of eliminating 90% of contacts, Burdullis considers 65% an incredible win. The digital transformation also improved Lyft’s customer effort score by double, making it twice as easy for customers to get resolution. 

Lyft’s digital transformation is continually evolving, just as customers continue to change and adapt. With a goal to make the experience as easy as possible for customers and a mindset that puts customers at the center of every decision, Lyft sets the foundation for long-term customer success.  

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here

Apr 26, 2022

Customer experience isn’t just about serving today’s customers—it’s about creating a culture and environment that can benefit future generations. 

That’s especially true when it comes to conversation efforts.  

Creating a better world for future customers and growing generations means believing in something better and that the world can grow and change. 

Creating Programs Now to Benefit the Future 

Lisa Diekmann, President & CEO of Yellowstone Forever, is a strong believer in conservation efforts that benefit future generations. She says providing a great experience is all about honoring the history of the past while looking toward future trends and creating a place everyone can enjoy for years to come. After all, nature is the great equalizer—if we protect it. 

Like national parks and natural wonders around the world, Yellowstone saw a huge increase in visitors over the past two years. The park and its non-profit partners responded with a wide variety of programs and experiences for all types of people, from glamping and family-oriented trips to backwoods camping. But Diekmann points out that although every visitor can have their own unique experience at the park, they are all tied together by the need to conserve Yellowstone for future visitors.

Investing in Future Generations 

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Yellowstone National Park recently began selling Inheritance Passes. The $1,500 donation secures guests an annual pass for 2022 and a pass to use in the year 2172. The goal is to improve the park now and give the pass to future generations to use in another 150 years. The campaign shows the impact current park guests and customers can have on the future. Although they won’t be around to see the park in 150 years, they can still contribute now to make sure it’s around.  

As the world’s first national park, Diekmann says Yellowstone is an example of conservation to organizations worldwide. The park and Yellowstone Forever feel responsible for rallying guests around improving the environment, even through small changes. Current conservation projects include installing low-flow faucets, replacing old light bulbs with energy-efficient models and establishing EV charging stations. On their own, these changes may seem relatively simple, but they can yield major future results. 

Conservation matters for every business, not just those tied to nature. Making small changes and rallying customers to invest in the future can create a better world for those to come.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here

Apr 19, 2022

Among the industries known for low customer service and satisfaction is utility companies.  

For decades, utility companies have operated in heavily regulated markets where customers can’t choose their provider. As a result, customer experience and customer care are low (or non-existent) priorities for many utilities. 

But as technology changes and more companies enter the utility market, customers have more options for clean energy than ever before. And that means all utility companies have to improve their customer experience to connect with customers and provide convenient, personalized experiences. 

Cosimo Spera, Founder & CEO of Minerva CQ, says that utility companies have a mandate to save the planet. And that path to de-carbonization starts with empowering customers as they request a plan sourced from clean energy. 

A goal of saving the planet for future generations may seem lofty, but it begins with applying the right technology and involving customers. Improving utility company CX requires using technology that turns the perception from being bad at customer service to a company that eliminates customers' problems or solves them with maximum satisfaction.  

As an accomplished mathematician, Spera compares customer care to an equation where the two sides must be equal. In CX, those two sides are customers and contact center agents. Companies looking to improve their experience often invest in providing great customer-facing solutions. But that makes for an unequal equation. A well-rounded customer equation also requires empowering agents and providing them with solid solutions to serve customers. 

As companies invest in technology, they often do so at the risk of removing the human experience. Spera says the best approach is to combine the power of AI with the power of humans for collaborative intelligence. AI algorithms can streamline and speed up operations, but humans are still better at tracking emotion and building connections with customers. Bringing those two elements together in the customer experience creates a convenient and personalized experience while also building relationships and addressing emotions. 

One of the most common problems in utility is a lack of first contact resolution. Customers often have to call multiple times to report a power outage and find answers and an estimate of when the problem will be resolved. Empowering agents with more information and AI-enabled resources and scripts increases their ability to solve problems immediately. 

The utility company needs a CX overhaul. Prioritizing customers and agents and providing the right tools can transform the experience and empower customers on their path to clean energy and improving the planet.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

Apr 12, 2022
Success comes from making customer experience central to your business. And that requires streamlining the experience for both customers and employees.  Steve Harding, Area Vice President of ServiceNow, says customer service starts with an effortless experience. Many companies focus on channels, but channels don’t solve customer problems, especially if they aren’t connected. Too often, customers start with one channel but are bounced around and have to try numerous outlets before they can actually get the help they need. 

But when customer service is central to a business, the entire company and its technology are oriented to put customers first. 

Harding says efficient workflows are crucial to creating effortless experiences for employees and customers. As the number of possible channels grows and customer queries can come from various sources, legacy systems often can’t keep up with increased demand. It’s difficult for agents to respond with the correct information when pulled in multiple directions and use multiple screens and programs. 

Simplified workflows allow employees to work more efficiently, which allows them to do what they want: serve customers. 

The pandemic highlighted the importance of efficient workflows, especially as contact center agents started working from home and managing more calls. Harding says companies need to offer consumer-grade experiences to their agents so that agents can run their whole day from their mobile phones if needed.  

Investing in self-service and knowledge management systems also reduces much of the burden on agents and allows customers to help themselves quickly. Harding notes that self-service is especially important in the B2B space, where customers increasingly demand the same experiences at work that they enjoy as consumers. Smart B2B companies emulate consumer experiences by providing resources and knowledge to empower their customers. Harding cites the example of a medical technology company that created a self-service portal for desktop and mobile uses that gives customers a central place to learn about products, book appointments, and more. 

Self-service changes the workflow for human agents and allows companies to provide great service while also working effectively. Putting customer experience at the center of the company requires changing processes and systems to create great experiences for customers and employees.  

At the end of the day, customer service is a human experience. Instead of focusing solely on technology, companies need to remember the humans behind the technology and use systems to support and help people instead of taking over the experience. Aligning workflows with a customer focus puts CX at the center of the business and creates smooth experiences for everyone involved.

*Sponsored by ServiceNow

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Apr 5, 2022

Energy costs and usage impact every homeowner, but most people don’t think much about the process. They flip a switch, the light turns on, and they pay their electric bill when it comes due. 

But as the energy grid ages and breaks down and the weather gets more extreme and threatens to knock out power, conserving energy and using it at the right time is crucial for homeowners. 

That’s where OhmConnect comes in. The company uses AI and analytics to reduce energy costs by gamifying the process and rewarding consumers for using energy when it is cleaner and cheaper instead of during peak times when it is dirtier and more expensive. 

Educating customers on the complex energy system is challenging. OhmConnect meets customers where they are to market a product that hasn’t existed before. 

Here are three lessons from CEO Cisco DeVries: 

Build Trust

OhmConnect is a free service that provides customers free smart devices and pays them to change their energy use, so many people think it is a scam and too good to be true. The first roadblock to educating customers is building trust that it is a real company. 

OhmConnect builds trust by leveraging partnerships with businesses customers know and trust, such as Google and Carrier. As customers connect OhmConnect with trusted brands, they understand the new company better.  

Gamify the Process

Once people trust the business, OhmConnect makes it fun with gamification. The company’s goal is for customers to reduce their energy use—the better they do, the more points, rewards, and money they earn. 

DeVries points out that the game isn’t about teaching customers about the energy grid because no one would pay attention. But as customers play the game, they organically learn more about energy in their homes and how to make better decisions to reduce their energy use. At the end of the day, OhmConnect isn’t trying to get people to pass a test about how the energy grid works. It just wants them to succeed in the game. 

Creating a fun and engaging game lowers the point of entry and makes conserving energy accessible for customers. People may be overwhelmed by the thought of learning about the energy grid but more willing to dip their toes into a fun game that happens to teach them about energy along the way. When introducing something new, focus on what matters most to customers and leave behind what doesn’t.  

Constantly Test the Process

Educating customers is an evolving process that involves constant testing. OhmConnect regularly surveys customers and pulls data from their energy systems to see the effectiveness of their education efforts. The goal is to teach customers enough that they want to play the game and reduce their energy use but not to bore them with irrelevant details.  

The constant testing builds an incredible dataset that helps OhmConnect predict how much electricity can be reduced at any given time based on things like the time of day, weather, and type of device. The company lives and dies by the data and uses it to adjust its strategy.  

Introducing a new product and educating customers on something as critical as clean energy use is important but difficult. As OhmConnect demonstrates, meeting customers where they are and finding ways to build trust and gamify the process can build strong relationships and grow a company.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Mar 29, 2022
Margaret Wishingrad didn’t grow up eating healthy foods. 

But as an adult, she developed healthy habits. She continued those habits when her first child was born, but she couldn’t find a healthy alternative to the sugar-filled cereals that lined the shelves. 

And Three Wishes Cereal was born. 

Wishingrad and her husband, Ian, spent two years testing new methods and ingredients to create a grain-free and dairy-free cereal with high protein and low sugar that actually tastes good. 

Today, Three Wishes is a customer favorite and sells multiple flavors online and in stores across the country. 

Turning her idea into a full-fledged brand took work and a focus on solving a problem. Wishingrad had to start by identifying the real need for her product. She did customer research and talked to countless people and what they were looking for in a cereal. Identifying and solving a real problem made it easier to sell the product to retailers and get coveted shelf space. 

Wishingrad has also built the brand by staying in tune with customers and moving quickly. A challenge of launching a food brand during a pandemic was that customers weren’t shopping in stores and couldn’t experience and taste the product in person. But Wishingrad saw grocery shoppers were moving online and quickly re-launched the website to create a smooth buying funnel. When customers started returning to in-person shopping, they were already familiar with Three Wishes because of its online presence. 

In the busy online world, Wishingrad says marketing comes down to identifying who you are speaking to and speaking to them—simple as that. For Three Wishes, that meant communicating with parents and giving them a quick and healthy breakfast solution for their families. 

Building a customer-centric brand also requires creativity. Without the ability to showcase their products in person, the Wishingrads created a drive-thru taste test right in their driveway. They safely gave neighbors and community members samples of their cereal as they drove through the driveway and then sent photos of the event to the local paper. The heartwarming story of a brand serving its community during the pandemic was picked up by news outlets across the country and led to huge exposure for Three Wishes and the company’s biggest online sales day—all from just a few hand-painted signs and creativity. 

Any idea has the potential to become a successful customer-centric brand. Wishingrad shows it takes dedication and creativity, as well as a push to solve a real problem and communicate it well.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Mar 22, 2022

After two years of creative digital marketing and virtual events, in-person experiential marketing is back. And it has the potential to revitalize and transform your customer experience. 

Bridget Hanrahan, Associate Director of Marketing Operations at Subaru of America, Inc, says experiential marketing helps Subaru connect with its customers on a more personal level. 

Subaru’s in-person marketing starts with understanding what customers value, both in their lives and what they want in a car. Subaru performs regular market research and customer surveys. Because it is a purpose-driven brand, the questions center around asking owners about changes in their lives, their passions and topics they care about. Those insights form the customer DNA and drive all CX efforts, including experiential marketing. 

Hanrahan calls Subaru customers experience seekers who care more about collecting memories and possessions than possessions. Those customer insights help the brand create experiential marketing in places that resonate with potential customers, such as ski slopes and local events. Subaru is very involved in communities across the country and uses in-person events to not only showcase its cars but to show people the impact of its community initiatives. 

Experiential marketing gives brands another way to create a strong customer experience and immerse customers in the brand. Hanrahan says the most successful in-person efforts are rooted in data to find the best places to connect with customers. Using experiential marketing to showcase the brand and its products builds strong connections that can lead to loyal and engaged customers. 

And after living virtually for two years, customers are anxious to connect with brands in new ways. Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your CX efforts and find ways to expand in-person experiential marketing.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Mar 15, 2022

As CX grows as an industry and continues to show its impact on the bottom line, more marketers are tasked with leading it. But how well do marketers really understand CX? 

Digital marketing expert Jay Baer says that although there is a large overlap between marketing and CX, there are also crucial differences. While marketing is often tasked with bringing in new customers, CX is all about retention and creating loyal customers and strong relationships. 

CX has never been more important than in our post-pandemic world. Across the board, customers are looking for companies that make their lives easier and offer frictionless service. 

What customers value and prioritize has changed, and they increasingly want to interact with brands that reflect their preferences and worldviews. Baer says it’s not about reaching the most potential customers but reaching customers who align with the brand’s mission and goals. 

The key to marketers understanding CX is to understand their customers. When everyone involved in CX understands customers—especially how they have changed—they can offer a more empathetic and relevant experience. 

Baer says that the companies that will succeed over the next few years are the companies that understand their customers the best. Customers have changed so drastically that a company that hasn’t done rich customer research in the last two years is essentially flying blind. Performing a deep dive into first-party customer research augmented by technology is the first step in marketers becoming strong CX professionals. 

Most marketers don’t spend a lot of time with customers, which leads to companies that are surrounded by data but starved for insights. Driving a successful CX strategy requires talking to customers and getting to know them—what makes them tick, what they value in a brand interaction, what they want from your company, and more. Baer’s top advice for marketers is to get on the phone and talk to customers. 

Marketing plays a vital role in every company. But as customers gain more power, CX is increasingly valuable. To participate in and lead CX efforts, marketers must have a strong understanding of customers and turn those insights and relationships into high-quality experiences. 

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Mar 8, 2022

What’s the first step to offering the human element to service? Investing in your human employees.  

Contact centers play a crucial role in a customer’s experience. Building a customer-centric company starts by empowering agents to provide excellent service, says Tom Goodmanson, President & CEO of Calabrio. 

The past two years of a pandemic have been hard on everyone, but contact center agents especially feel the stress. New research from Calabrio found that 96% of contact center agents feel stressed weekly while also taking more calls than ever before. That work stress, added to adjusting their work schedules and managing the personal stress of the pandemic, dramatically impacts customer service. When companies have the tools to reduce employee stress and improve the agent experience, it helps drive better customer behavior. 

“If the agent is taken care of, the end customer will win,” Goodmanson says. 

He says one way to relieve stress is to consolidate the information agents use. In recent years, companies have moved towards empowering agents with customer data and real-time alerts, but each one of those alerts is on its own screen. Calabrio found that the typical agent has 7 to 10 screens open at any time, which can be overwhelming. It’s difficult for agents to offer personalized, human service to customers when they are distracted by moving between numerous screens. Empowering agents with data is a good step, but consolidating that information to a single screen can significantly lower agent stress and improve the customer experience. 

Leaders have to be aware of what’s happening in the contact center to provide a great experience for agents and customers. Goodmanson follows his dad’s old saying of “Show up and pay attention, and you might learn something.” When leaders spend time in the contact center, they can better understand their people, including how to support employees and reach customers. 

Customer-centric companies listen to their customers to provide relevant, personalized service. And that happens with contact center agents empowered with streamlined technology, not stressed from outdated systems. When employees have the tools and technology they need to succeed, they can focus on the human element of customer experience and continually build customer-centricity.

*Sponsored by Calabrio

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Mar 1, 2022

Today, companies face countless challenges, including staffing shortages, inflation, supply chain troubles and other sorts of other pandemic-related issues. 

These challenges give brands two choices: make excuses or show transparency. 

Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, is a long-time champion of what she calls radical transparency. For brands to be truly customer-centric, they have to be honest and not hide behind excuses. 

Transparency starts with empathetic customer-centric leaders. Not every customer interaction will be flawless, but leaders need to set the tone to provide an honest and transparent response to customers to make things right. 

Even if the companies can’t fix the problem, they can still make customers feel better. Webb says it requires being honest with customers about what is happening and empowering frontline employees to showcase transparency and empathy. That often requires acknowledging the struggle and clearly stating what the brand is doing to find a solution. 

Transparency has long been a hallmark of Webb’s customer-focused leadership style and often comes through in her communication. Even as CEO, Webb responded to every Yelp review until the company grew too large to do it herself. The team who took over the job received extensive training to develop empathy and transparency and build customer relationships. 

Even when Drybar had to raise its prices, Webb sent an email to customers explaining the change. She acknowledged that no one wanted to increase prices, which built an empathetic bond with customers, and provided honest reasons for the change. What could have been a negative experience for customers turned into a way to understand the brand better and see its values of providing excellent service and fair employee wages at affordable prices. 

Customers don’t expect brands to be perfect, but they do expect honesty. When leaders set the tone with transparency, they can empower their employees and create strong bonds and customer experiences.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Feb 22, 2022

A solid customer experience strategy is based on customer data. But the strategy for clothing and home décor company Anthropologie also includes creativity. 

Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Preis says creativity is the heart and soul of Anthropologie. And while data is often historical and focuses on what happened in the past, a creative focus drives inspiration and interest to the future. 

That’s not to say that customer data isn’t also vital. Preis says data helps the company choose the direction to take and what to prioritize, especially when it comes to tracking data trends. Preis and her team are constantly looking at metrics like NPS and customer and product data to see what is trending up or down. 

The company’s goal is to be inspired by data and use it to fuel its creative strategy that has become a hallmark of the brand. 

Data helps the brand better understand its customers and the industry, including what resonates with customers, how they connect with the brand and what they are looking for. Those metrics guide the products to pursue and the channels to prioritize. 

From there, Anthropologie builds out its creative efforts, both in store and online. The physical stores are known for their stunning window displays, carefully curated items and experiential focus, even down to the candles that are burning. 

Preis says the store wants everyone to feel comfortable in their homes and themselves. Anthropologie’s unique collection of products, ranging from jewelry to large furniture, lets customers be true to their creative selves and celebrate their uniqueness. The creative efforts aim to connect with moments that matter for customers, including milestones like weddings and first homes, as well as smaller magical moments like Sunday brunch or smaller celebrations. 

Data is the foundation, and creativity builds unique and memorable experiences. Both are crucial in building a brand that connects with customers and celebrates uniqueness.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Feb 15, 2022

Walking into a Krispy Kreme store hits all the senses—the smell of fresh donuts, watching the donuts come off the line, and the taste and feel of fresh donuts. 

But modern customers crave convenience, especially during a pandemic. How do you translate that same in-store experience to a digital strategy? 

Dave Skena, Krispy Kreme CMO, said that the move to digital and changing customer expectations show how CX has broadened. He and his team were tasked with bringing the magic to life with digital service. 

Krispy Kreme first rolled out nationwide delivery in February 2020 and expected a small number of sales to come from digital while it worked out the kinks. Little did the company know what was coming the next month. Because Krispy Kreme had already released its digital services when the pandemic hit, it was easier to scale and adjust to meet changing demands.

Understanding customers and their habits is key, Skena says. Most Krispy Kreme customers who use the website or app aren’t browsing—they know exactly what they want and are looking to pick it out quickly and easily. With that in mind, the goal of the digital journey is to provide frictionless service instead of maximizing experiential touchpoints. 

The data showed that many digital customers pre-ordered items for big holidays and events to ensure their stores didn’t run out. That information inspired better functionality to order in advance for pickup or delivery.

Skena’s biggest advice to marketers is to focus on the most loyal customers who are obsessed with your brand. If you lose relevance with the people who love you the most, you’ve lost the brand. In the case of Krispy Kreme, those brand evangelists wanted donuts to be available in more convenient ways. Backing that up with data shows the importance of a digital strategy and gets everyone in the company on board. Skena and other Krispy Kreme executives regularly speed test the digital journey to see things from the customers’ point of view. 

In today’s connected world, all brands can offer a digital experience. Focusing on data, especially from your most loyal customers, and convenience and speed can help all brands deliver an excellent digital experience.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Feb 8, 2022

For decades, Net Promoter Score or NPS has been the gold standard for measuring the success of CX efforts. 

But its creator says the metric has been co-opted and is misused by too many companies. The most successful way to use NPS going forward is to combine with a new metric for CX success.  

Fred Reichheld says the crux of NPS is that every time you touch a life, you either enrich it or diminish it. NPS was designed to measure progress and encourage brands and employees to enrich their customers’ lives so much that they would want to recommend the product or service. But in recent years, NPS has become so tied to frontline compensation that it has ruined the aspirational mindset. It’s led to an overload of surveys that are ineffective for companies and annoying for customers. 

Reichheld created a new metric to push brands towards the aspirational view of helping customers and enriching their lives: earned growth rate. 

In its simplest form, earned growth rate tracks the amount of growth a company has earned through repeat purchases and customers referring the business to family and friends.  

Reichheld says earned growth rate follows the same mentality as NPS but is a more results-driven and accurate view of success. If companies are delivering a great customer experience, customers will want to tell their family and friends, which increases the earned growth. Earned growth rate forms a powerful team with NPS to gauge CX success.  

A major benefit of focusing on earned growth rate is cost savings. Instead of paying for sales and marketing efforts to attract new customers, companies can spend less to retain current customers and get referrals. 

Reichheld points to glasses brand Warby Parker, which uses earned growth rate and found that new customers coming in from referrals are more profitable and have a lower acquisition cost. Because these customers know how the brand works from what their family or friends told them, their average ticket is higher, retention is higher, and they are more likely to turn into promoters themselves and tell their friends about the brand. 

The first step to tracking earned growth rate is to move to customer-based accounting. Monitoring sales and growth by product or service line like many brands do doesn’t provide knowledge of what customers are returning or who is making referrals. Instead, Reichheld says brands need to move to tracking sales by customer, which offers more insights into how much revenue comes from referrals. 

Finding how customers come to your brand is also crucial. Reichheld says even a simple question during customer onboarding about the primary reason they decided to do business with you can show where customers are coming from. 

NPS has long been the go-to metric for many companies. But moving towards earned growth rate can be more accurate and effective. Together, NPS and earned growth rate can take CX efforts to the next level.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Feb 1, 2022

Effective customer experience strategies happen when C-level leaders drive change and create a customer-focused mindset. In most companies, this includes the CEO, CMO, and Chief Experience Officer. 

But there’s also another crucial role to consider: Chief Revenue Officer. 

Frank Boulben, Chief Revenue Officer at Verizon Wireless, views his role as collaborating across the company to set customer experience priorities. It’s more cost-effective for companies to retain existing customers than to find new customers, especially in a subscription model like Verizon. Increasing revenue comes from delivering a great experience and a great product at each touchpoint. 

When Boulben stepped into his role, he took a deep dive researching Verizon’s customers. That foundational understanding helped him create the customer map. First is the network experience and the core of what Verizon provides customers. Verizon aims to be the best network in terms of coverage and reliability and make that the center of its customer experience. The next layer is the value proposition, or assembling the offers and products that customers want and value. And finally is the touchpoint experience, or how customers interact with the brand. Boulben’s goal is for the experience to be seamless across channels and also be personalized and relevant to each customer. 

Boulben works closely with the Chief Experience Officer and always brings his strategy back to those two main points: an experience that is seamless across channels and personalized. 

The entire Verizon C-suite, including Boulben, regularly listens to customer calls to understand the questions and issues customers face. Boulben says those insights help him see if customer concerns represent larger issues that need to be addressed or if they can be solved individually.

 Without a strong customer focus, revenue can’t grow. Chief Revenue Officers and revenue leaders at all levels play a crucial role in driving customer experience and creating value for long-term, loyal customers.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Jan 25, 2022

Today’s customers don’t want to wait. 

We’re in a society where customers expect things right away. Sending an email and waiting days for a response or having to sit on hold for hours is no longer acceptable. Customers want to get the help, service, and products they need without waiting. 

As customers experience instant gratification from some companies, they come to expect it from all companies. 

Here are three examples of instant gratification in CX:

  1. Fridge No More offers 15-minute grocery delivery with no extra fees. The secret to ultra-fast delivery is using small fulfillment centers in one-mile service zones. Fulfillment centers are laid out strategically so that employees can quickly pick orders and hand them off for delivery via motorized scooter. The focus on local and small allows customers to get excellent service fast. Fridge No More operates in New York City, along with a wave of similar companies focused on near-instant grocery delivery.
  2. Disney’s Genie App creates personalized Disneyland itineraries. Visitors to Disneyland can instantly receive a personalized itinerary to maximize their time in the park. Using the app, visitors select their must-do rides, attractions, shows, and restaurants, and the app instantly puts them together in a customized itinerary. Even better, the schedule is updated in real-time based on line conditions and ride closures. The Genie app takes customer experience to the next level to remove much of the planning and frustration from visiting the park.
  3. Zelle instantly sends money between bank accounts. In our ultra-connected world, being able to send money instantly is crucial for many customers. Zelle connects 100 million users across more than 1,000 banks to send money between accounts in minutes with no fees. It’s a massive improvement over traditional transfer methods that require customers to visit a bank branch and even over its competitors that charge high fees and make customers wait. 

Instant gratification will play a huge role in the future of CX. No matter your company or industry, every brand can find a way to quickly deliver some aspect of their service. 

What role does instant gratification play in your CX strategy?

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Jan 18, 2022

With changing customer trends and demands on top of global supply chain disruption and a pandemic, retailers have had to continually pivot over the last few years. One of the best ways to survive the changes is with a mobile, social and digital-first strategy. 

When Alicia Waters stepped into her current role as CMO of Crate & Barrel, she pushed to optimize the brand’s mobile presence and create more digital services. As customers spend more time at home and more time on their phones, they are inundated with digital content. Brands need to have a strong mobile and digital strategy to cut through the noise and stand out from the competition. Alicia says Crate & Barrel’s digital approach comes from a place of empathy and innovation to understand customers and connect with them digitally.  

Much of that empathy comes from being transparent and showing real-world applications for the brand’s products. Pandemic restrictions meant Crate & Barrel couldn’t shoot on a typical photography set. But the company got creative and embraced new ways of shooting products like using CGI and having influencers shoot content at their homes. Alicia says some of the most impactful images came from photographers who shot with their kids in their own homes because it was real life and connected with customers on social media. 

Alicia acknowledges that Crate & Barrel has made great strides in the mobile and digital space, but there is still room to go. The company is on a good path and wants to continue digitizing its stores and revolutionizing parts of the e-commerce experience. Crate & Barrel recently stopped sending stacks of physical catalogs to its stores and now sends a single sign with a QR code that links to a digital catalog. Alicia believes there are many opportunities for content in stores that can be delivered digitally. When customers are shopping in the store, they are doing more than just shopping in the store. They have their phones nearby as a powerful resource, and Crate & Barrel aims to create experiences that complement that behavior. 

A mobile, social and digital-first strategy requires continual evolution. Alicia regularly brings in people from other areas of the company to offer a fresh perspective and create cross-functional teams that can tap into new digital strategies that resonate with customers. 

Ultimately, the best mobile, social and digital-first strategy isn’t just flashy or convenient but rooted in customer need. Being transparent and showing realness helps brands stand out and build strong relationships with customers, even as the world continues to change.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Jan 11, 2022

How do you create a customer-centric company, especially when your job is to help other companies be customer-centric?

According to Pega President of Global Field Operations Hayden Stafford, it’s all about putting the customer at the center of absolutely everything you do. 

Customer-centricity has never been more important, but what customers are looking for is changing. Stafford says the two biggest trends impacting customers are the need for empathy and real-time context. The most successful companies are continually innovating to find new ways to meet customers with empathy in real-time. 

Customer-centricity is putting customers first in every situation, especially during challenging times. Stafford gave the example of a Pega banking client in Australia. When wildfires ravaged the region in early 2020, the bank took a unique approach. Instead of following the typical inbound reactive service and waiting for customers to call with issues, the bank leveraged Pega software to proactively reach out to customers who were close to the fires and delay their loan deadlines. The example shows empathy and connecting with customers with context when they need it most.  

Providing customer-centric service starts with an internal culture that is completely focused on customers. 

Stafford says customer-centricity should be the foundation of every business decision, including how the company is oriented and teams are created. Customer-centric companies don’t just research their customers—they understand the outcomes their clients are trying to achieve. Stafford encourages the sales team at Pega to build meaningful relationships with clients and track how the clients are engaging with the company, how often they engage, and their level of engagement. 

Customer-centricity also requires taking an outside-in perspective. Every month, Stafford invites an external party to a team meeting to share their perspective of Pega. Those regular presentations help employees understand what’s happening in the industry and the world so they don’t have a limited Pega point of view. 

No matter the industry or type of company, customer-centricity comes down to understanding customers’ motivation, walking in their shoes, and putting them at the heart of every decision.

*Sponsored by Pega

Pega delivers innovative software that crushes business complexity - from maximizing Customer Lifetime Value, to streamlining service, to boosting efficiency. They help the world's leading brands solve problems fast and transform for tomorrow. 

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Jan 4, 2022

For decades, companies built brands by interrupting customers. It was the 30-second ads that interrupted a person’s TV watching, the banner ad that interrupted their internet browsing, or the commercial that interrupted their streaming show. 

But those days are over, says Jeff Rosenblum, co-founder of Questus. Companies need to move towards empowering their customers instead of interrupting them. 

Rosenblum admits that interrupting can be effective at building brands, but that doesn’t mean customers appreciate being interrupted. When talking with friends or family, an interruption is one of the most annoying ways to communicate—and that annoyance extends to interrupting brands. Younger customers especially are moving away from interruptions by paying for services to remove ads or simply checking out when a traditional commercial airs.  

Empowering customers means providing them with resources and information and building relationships with them. Rosenblum says the goal should be to create content that is so valuable that people go out of their way to consume it and share it with others. Empowered prospects turn into customers, and empowered customers turn into brand evangelists. 

Instead of relying on emotional messages, brands need to focus on functional messaging. Consumers make purchase decisions the same way as businesses—by focusing on ROI. Although they might not consciously realize they are doing it, consumers consider the best way to use their time and money. They need to know the features and functions of a product to make the best decision. Rosenblum says that brands that can put that functional messaging right in front of potential customers will convert people.

Modern customers are in control and don’t want to be interrupted.They want personalized content and will move on from insufficient information. Instead of simply pushing mass messages at customers, brands need to understand their needs and provide them with the resources to make empowered decisions. 

Empowering customers with functional information and strong relationships helps them make confident buying decisions and creates loyal customers for the long term. 

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Dec 28, 2021

How do customers come to form a sense of who they are? 

Brands often focus on loyalty, but much of that loyalty was thrown out the window during the pandemic as customers reevaluated their priorities and tried new products and services. 

But even with turmoil and change, some customers stayed loyal to their favorite brands. The difference in these levels of loyalty often comes back to identity loyalty. 

Dr. Americus Reed II, best-selling author and marketing professor at The Wharton School, created the concept of identity loyalty to examine the psychological reasons behind why customers are loyal to certain brands or products. 

Identity loyalty goes beyond just looking at the products a customer repeatedly buys to examine the reasons behind them and how those brands contribute to the customer’s overall sense of self. 

As Reed says, a customer can buy the same product over and over and be seen as loyal by the company. But those repeat purchases could be out of habit, convenience or brand neutrality instead of actual loyalty.  

Identity loyalty is born from psychological self-perception that somehow the brand is connected to who the customer wants to be. Loyalty comes from that need to self-express. When customers have identity loyalty, the brand and product makes a statement about who they are and who they want to be. Reed says that the stronger the relationship of identity and self-expression to the brand, the stronger the identity loyalty. 

Brands should build customer identity loyalty by creating a deep connection between their products and the customers’ values. Identity loyalty isn’t created and strengthened by highlighting a product’s features—because at some point, the features are all the same—but by connecting to deeper values. Customers have identity loyalty to brands like Apple, Nike and Peloton because the products are great, but also largely because the brands showcase who customers are and who they want to become. 

Identity loyalty creates strong bonds between customers and brands and is strengthened as brands showcase their values and build personalized relationships. Customers don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. 

Highlighting values and building emotional connections can help all brands strengthen their customer identity loyalty.

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Dec 21, 2021

Today’s customers expect brands to remember their likes and dislikes, which means personalization is table stakes, especially in e-commerce. 

Delivering a solid personalization experience starts by leveraging customer data to understand their needs and preferences and adjust the experience in real-time. 

Julie Penzotti, principal data scientist at Zulily, says the company collects more than 5 billion clickstream events of data every day. That data shows the company what items each customer is interested in, how long they spend shopping, and even what items they see but pass by. That treasure trove of data is used to create millions of versions of the website every day so that almost every Zulily customer has a unique version of the website that showcases products they are interested in. 

Penzotti says that approach works because Zulily knows its customers appreciate the convenience of quickly seeing items they are looking for and the fun of discovering products they might not realize they need. 

Penzotti says all companies can and should leverage data regardless of industry or size. Brands don’t have to jump into collecting billions of pieces of data every day. Penzotti recommends starting small with simple analytics. A deep exploratory data analysis can provide insights into customers' preferences and buying patterns and highlight simple solutions that can impact customer experience. 

Zulily’s deep data analysis found that most of its customers are moms and often young moms with limited time. These customers only have short breaks in their days to shop, which means it takes multiple sessions for them to browse and make a purchase. Armed with that data and customer understanding, Zulily improved its experience to help shoppers browse over multiple sessions and adjust in real-time. Every time a customer comes back to continue shopping, their search results are more tailored and accurate. 

More advanced companies can leverage new technologies like computer vision and natural language processing to automate the data analytics and personalization approach. Zulily is developing systems to attribute style to clothing and home décor pieces and combine its image and language searching to help customers find the right items. 

No matter where a brand is right now, Penzotti says all brands can progressively get more sophisticated with data. 

Personalization has never been more important to customers. But brands have also never had as much access to customer data. Leveraging data and new technologies can help brands deliver amazing experiences that meet and exceed customer expectations.

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Dec 14, 2021

Companies have two choices when it comes to customer pain: hide from it or embrace it. Nate Henderson, CEO of BILT, chooses to feel customer pain and use it as a driving force behind creating an amazing experience. That mindset and customer focus is a large reason BILT has seen consistent triple-digit growth in the last few years. 

BILT was created to address a common customer pain point: assembly. Henderson wondered why companies relied on paper instruction manuals when technology had moved so far past that. BILT is a free app that partners with manufacturers of all types of products, including furniture, appliances, fitness equipment and home items to provide 3D interactive guided instructions for assembly and repair. As Henderson says, BILT turns everyone into an expert and eliminates a major source of friction in many brands’ customer experiences. 

From the beginning, BILT hasn’t shied away from customer pain but has embraced it. In the early days of the app, BILT employees tested all types of products to put themselves in customers’ shoes and discover how they could improve the traditional assembly experience. Instead of avoiding a painful part of the experience, Henderson and his team embraced it and made it their focus.  

The BILT team realized that the most pivotal moment for how a customer views a consumer durable goods brand is 3-12 hours after they finish assembly. A difficult assembly process significantly impacts how customers view a brand and dramatically affects NPS. By changing a typically frustrating assembly experience, BILT takes people who would be detractors in that moment and turn them into brand promoters.     

Aside from NPS, BILT also pays close attention to Earned Growth Rate or the amount of growth that comes from people referring business instead of paying for marketing. Henderson says companies that create great experiences and turn their customers into promoters have the majority of new business come from customer referrals. 

BILT is a great example of the power of Earned Growth Rate. When COVID hit, Henderson wanted to be incredibly lean on spending. Over 20 months, BILT spent less than $1,000 on marketing and grew triple digits. As Henderson says, you can’t sell your way out of a bad experience, but if you create a great experience, people will sell it for you. 

BILT’s entire model is built around embracing customer pain and turning frustrating moments into positive brand interactions, backed by metrics to understand what customers are feeling and the greatest pain points. Empathy helps brands turn customers into promoters and drive long-term business growth.

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

Dec 7, 2021

With its stylish and comfortable shoes and bags made out of recycled plastic water bottles, Rothy’s bridges the gap between fashion and sustainability. But it has also tapped into the holy grail of customer experience: word-of-mouth marketing. 

Rothy’s shoes were originally designed for women on the go who needed comfortable shoes that were still stylish. Many Rothy’s customers share similar stories of trying different types of shoes before finding Rothy’s and jumping into a sustainable brand that helps them look and feel good. 

Rothy’s customers are fiercely loyal to the brand and often become brand advocates as they share their excitement for the products and brand with family and friends. 

Elie Donahue, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Rothy’s, says there are three elements to turning customers into brand advocates. 

First is the product itself. Word-of-mouth marketing doesn’t happen unless there is a product people love and truly want to tell their friends about. Rothy’s innovative and sustainable manufacturing practices are matched with comfort and durability that resonates with customers.  

Second is the customer-to-customer connection. Because Rothy’s customers love the product so much, they automatically feel a connection to other Rothy’s wearers. If a woman sees someone on the street or in an elevator also wearing Rothy’s, Donahue says those customers instantly feel a special bond. Loyal Rothy’s customers have organically created huge online communities, which have expanded to real-life meetups at Rothy’s stores. Customers want to advocate for Rothy’s because of their passion for the brand and what it stands for. 

The last element of creating brand advocates is how the brand connects with its customers. Rothy’s aims to create brand moments people can connect with. That means regularly sharing its founding values via email and social media to create shareable content. Rothy’s also involves customers in many events, such as its Vote It Back program where customers vote to bring back a discontinued style. Donahue points to the recent launch of Rothy’s recycling program when the brand invited customers to bring their old Rothy’s shoes and bags to stores to be recycled into thread. Involving customers in the brand process and showing they are part of something bigger makes customers feel valued and gives them something to tell their family and friends.

By turning its customers into loyal brand advocates, Rothy’s has created a strong community that stands by the company’s values. Delivering a high-quality product and building relationships strengthens all aspects of the customer experience.

 

*This episode is sponsored by Quiq.

Quiq is a leading conversational AI platform that drives two-way conversations to deliver a better experience for people and brands. Quiq enables enterprises to connect and engage in two-way conversations with their customers across varied messaging channels — including Facebook Messenger — in more than 170 languages. Quiq is the future of business-to-consumer messaging; it’s the wingman every brand and CX’er needs.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

 

Nov 30, 2021

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is one of the most widely used customer experience metrics across all industries. But according to its creator, Fred Reichheld, countless companies are doing it wrong and end up abusing the system. 

The Net Promoter System involves asking a simple question to customers, typically after an interaction with a brand—how likely are you to recommend the brand or company to family and friends? 

Best-selling author Reichheld says the core principle of NPS is love and the idea that you should treat others the way you would want a loved one to be treated. Reichheld created the Net Promoter System before cellphones were widely used, and the system has grown with new digital technologies. Even as the digital world grows, the core of NPS is timeless and is just as relevant today as ever. 

The issue with using NPS in our modern world, Reichheld says, is that too many companies are sloppy about how they ask the question, including asking it at inopportune times, asking it too frequently or using it as a relationship question to grade employees. Many companies reach out to customers after a contact center interaction and ask the question with a strong implication that the service rep will get in trouble if they don’t receive a perfect score. 

Instead of a way to discipline or grade employees, NPS is about tracking how well customers are treated and how loved they feel by the company.  

Successfully using NPS starts with a company culture of loving and serving customers. Leaders set the example as they inspire their employees to make customers’ lives easier and better. Reichheld says the customer-first philosophy has to be at the center of every conversation and decision of leaders. When leaders set the example of running their companies as a way to show their love for customers, it comes through in how employees interact with and serve customers and leads to higher Net Promoter Scores.  

With that mindset, companies can focus on asking the NPS question at the best times instead of throwing survey requests out left and right to get a mountain of abstract information. It can also lead to NPS innovation and reaching customers in convenient ways. 

NPS is a powerful tool for all companies, but it has to be rooted in the right mindset: love and service. As leaders and employees aim to love their customers and treat them how they would friends and family, the NPS process is improved and scores will continue to rise.

*This episode is sponsored by Quiq.

Quiq is a leading conversational AI platform that drives two-way conversations to deliver a better experience for people and brands. Quiq enables enterprises to connect and engage in two-way conversations with their customers across varied messaging channels — including Facebook Messenger — in more than 170 languages. Quiq is the future of business-to-consumer messaging; it’s the wingman every brand and CX’er needs.

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Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker, and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  Join the new Customer Experience Community here.

 

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