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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: September, 2020
Sep 29, 2020

What do you do when everything about how you run a business goes out the window? 

Software company Red Hat is regularly recognized as one of the best places to work, in part because of its strong community and culture. But when the COVID-19 pandemic forced employees around the world to work from home, the company had to find new ways to support its employees. 

DeLisa Alexander, Red Hat’s Chief People Officer, is leading efforts to stay connected to remote employees and support them to become their best selves, even in times of stress and uncertainty. 

Here are six ways to support employees during COVID-19 and how Red Hat has turned a crisis situation into an opportunity to continue to build its strong culture. 

  1. Start with yourself. Alexander says that leaders and managers have to breathe before they can help others breathe. If a manager is stressed with their own life, they won’t be able to connect with employees and help them work through their stress. Leaders at all levels need to build their resilience and take time to re-energize themselves so they can best lead others. Alexander regularly reminds herself and other leaders that it isn’t selfish to take time to do what you need to do to generate energy to lead your team.
  2. Let them grieve. Not everyone has lost loved ones, but the seismic changes to everyday life because of the pandemic have caused people to lose other things, including trips, family time and expected experiences. Employees are grieving for missed opportunities and the loss of their normal lives. Leaders need to acknowledge that it is fine to grieve and to work together to overcome those feelings. Red Hat hired a chaplain to create a grief framework to provide its employees with the best emotional outlets to handle these major changes to their lives.
  3. Give them time to recharge. With most people working from home, employees around the world are working more than ever and feel the need to be constantly available. Red Hat realized its employees needed more time to themselves but weren’t actually taking their available paid time off. Red Hat instituted Recharge Days when the company is shut down for one day a quarter and no one is allowed to work. Alexander says the two Recharge Days so far have worked wonders with employees and brought everyone back feeling refreshed and ready to jump back into work without feeling burnt out.  
  4. Allow for flexibility. With so much of the world in flux, leaders and organizations must be flexible to meet their employees’ needs. Managers need to lead teams in a way that people can be open and honest about their challenges. If someone needs to cut back on their work, someone else steps in, no questions asked. Teams work together to get the work done in whatever way that entails. Flexibility allows for employees to feel supported at work and that they can be their whole selves. Instead of feeling they must always be performing at peak levels, even amidst their many trials, employees know they can have an honest conversation with their manager to get help when needed.
  5. Build community. Even though employees aren’t together physically, they still crave human connections and community. Soon after everyone started working from home, a group of Red Hat associates volunteered to curate content for regular newsletters. The weekly employee newsletter provides updates and resources for everything from childcare to remote work. Red Hat also moved the viewing of its internal video program “The Show” online and had thousands of employees from around the world sign on to watch together and chat. Community improves productivity and is a huge boost to employee morale.
  6. Involve employees. Even as employees have settled into some sort of rhythm of working remotely over the last six months, there is still plenty of uncertainty for the future. As Red Hat works to solidify future plans, it regularly updates employees and requests their feedback. A team of employees is looking at the future openly and transparently with employees to think through the best options for the company. Alexander and her team are upfront with people that things have changed and include everyone in creating meaningful experiences that engage employees, no matter where they are working. 

No matter the global situation, Red Hat believes employees should always feel supported and empowered to bring their whole selves to work. COVID-19 has changed how that happens, but staying flexible and finding new ways to support employees has helped the company continue to grow its culture.

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

Sep 22, 2020

The B2B space is often an overlooked area for customer experience. But customer-centric experiences are crucial in the B2B world and come from listening to customers and continually evolving. 

When Kristi Langdon joined Daimler Trucks, she saw the company was incredibly product-focused, but not very customer-focused. The company was successful because of its great products, but Langdon knew B2B was shifting its focus to give more power to customers. She stepped into her current role as Daimler’s Head of Customer Experience and worked with the CEO to lead an effort to put customers at the center of Daimler’s B2B experiences. 

Daimler’s true first effort into customer-centricity came in November 2017 with its Customer Experience Day. All 22,000 Daimler employees around the world paused their normal work and spent the day listening to customers and learning about their experiences of doing business with Daimler. During those sessions, one customer made a comment that has become a driving force in the company: “You have great people and an amazing product, but your processes need work. We’ve got to work together on your processes.” 

Customer Experience Day also introduced employees to design thinking, Daimler’s new approach to customer experience. Employees broke into groups with trained facilitators to practice empathetic listening and creating prototypes to solve problems and improve processes. The entire day showed employees the true customer experience, what can be improved and how their work makes a difference. Daimler’s Customer Experience Day is now an annual occurrence and reminder that everyone in the company has a role to play in customer experience. 

By listening to customers, Langdon and her team learned that customers’ main pain points were a lack of communication and nearly everything about truck service and repairs. From there, the customer experience team looked for ways to automate processes to create smoother customer interactions and more self-service options. 

Leaning in to technology to better serve customers requires removing silos, especially between the business and IT sides of the company. As Langdon says, customer-centric models require partnerships between departments. Daimler is focused on shifting technology investments and increasing skills of the workforce so its people and developers know how to best serve customers and help with automation. 

Creating customer-centric experiences means being vulnerable and willing to listen to feedback that isn’t always pleasant. Langdon and her team discovered that Daimler customers have to contact the company an average of six times to get a problem solved, which was much higher than they thought. Daimler is working to lower the number so that customers only have to contact the company once or even not at all because of proactive service that reaches out to customers before problems arise. Getting regular feedback from customers and being willing to listen and improve the unpleasant aspects of the business helps Daimler stay connected with customers and constantly improve. 

Daimler’s push towards customer-centricity is continual. Building customer relationships, opening feedback channels and leveraging technology help the company deliver strong B2B experiences and create a competitive advantage.

This week’s podcast is sponsored by TTEC.

Imagine an interaction that’s so simple and easy, that you don’t even think about it!

TTEC calls this ‘mastering the effortless experience’… and it’s the future of CX.

When your competition is just a click away, how do you ensure your customers stay loyal? How do you keep your employees engaged and motivated? How do you make sure your brand thrives?

Managing over 3.5 million interactions daily, TTEC are CX experts who know what it takes to deliver amazing and effortless customer experiences. They combine CX strategy with proven-processes, award-winning people engagement and best-of-breed technology to deliver holistic solutions focused on driving real-world results for their clients every day.

Don’t get lost in a sea of competitors. Effortless is not a destination. It’s a journey. And TTEC can be your guide to an effortless future.

To find out more about how TTEC can help you transform your customer experience visit TTECDigital.com

Sep 15, 2020

No one could have ever predicted what would happen in 2020. Aside from the pandemic and its impact on the global economy, unemployment, remote learning and a host of other issues, there are also widespread cries to end systemic racism, fires and natural disasters and a tumultuous presidential election. It’s more than anyone could ever have imagined, and it’s taking a toll on consumers. 

But even with these unique conditions, companies are moving forward and working to grow and provide great service to customers. The question many companies face is how to connect with customers when so much about the world has changed and people are facing so much stress. 

Amelia Dunlop, Chief Experience Officer at Deloitte Digital, refers to it as the emotional toll COVID-19 has taken on people. No matter how it affects each person, the pandemic and other crises have caused stress and exhaustion and changed people.  

Deloitte Digital set out to get a pulse on how customer behavior is changing amidst all of the chaos. A survey of 28,000 Americans introduced numerous stories about the changing human experience and showcased what Americans are going through, where they need help and what companies can do to stay relevant. It comes down to one key area: be human. Consumers want companies that are empathetic and see them as individuals in the middle of a crisis, not just shoppers who are the same as they were six months ago. 

Deloitte Digital’s results found three ways companies can become more human during a crisis:

  1. Build trust. Companies have to balance the natural tension between the safety of the group with each individual customer’s freedom in a way that builds trust with customers and is open and authentic.
  2. Signal safety. Customers are concerned about safety and often don’t know who to trust. Companies need to create a comprehensive safety plan and clearly communicate it to customers. People look for safety signs that they can see, feel, hear and smell.
  3. Redefine connection. Companies must change their approach to physical and virtual interactions to meet the human need to connect while still being safe. Customers still want connection, even if it comes in a different form.  

Being human requires companies to understand their customers and especially how they are reacting to challenges of the current crisis. The Deloitte Survey also found that people fit into three different clusters: 

  • Protectors: These are the people who are more concerned about health risks and tend to only trust themselves or their immediate family in regards to safety. They feel anxious and are acting with concern.
  • Prevailers: This group is skeptical about how long the crisis will last. They are optimistic about reopening the economy and are likely to be the first for in-person experiences. Prevailers feel skeptical and are acting with confidence.
  • Pragmatists: This group falls in between the others and tries to balance health and safety with a push to return to normal. People who fall into this category are feeling calm and acting with balance. 

Although everyone is going through the same crises, Dunlop says each person values different things. For companies to stay relevant and stay human, they have to build empathy and softer experiences for stressed consumers. 

Crises will always be part of doing business, even when they are as unpredictable as 2020 has shown. Keeping a good understanding of customers and staying human can help companies navigate crises and maintain strong relationships.

This week’s podcast is sponsored by TTEC.

Imagine an interaction that’s so simple and easy, that you don’t even think about it!

TTEC calls this ‘mastering the effortless experience’… and it’s the future of CX.

When your competition is just a click away, how do you ensure your customers stay loyal? How do you keep your employees engaged and motivated? How do you make sure your brand thrives?

Managing over 3.5 million interactions daily, TTEC are CX experts who know what it takes to deliver amazing and effortless customer experiences. They combine CX strategy with proven-processes, award-winning people engagement and best-of-breed technology to deliver holistic solutions focused on driving real-world results for their clients every day.

Don’t get lost in a sea of competitors. Effortless is not a destination. It’s a journey. And TTEC can be your guide to an effortless future.

To find out more about how TTEC can help you transform your customer experience visit TTECDigital.com

Sep 8, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic may have upended nearly everything about how we live and work, but it hasn’t stopped innovation. 

While many people and businesses are struggling to stay afloat and work through their day-to-day issues, Lisa Bodell, founder and CEO of FutureThink, says there’s never been a better time to be innovative. She views COVID-19 as the great reset that has paved the way for innovative changes. Innovation is more important now than ever, but it requires a new approach in our new world. 

COVID-19 can act as a catalyst for innovation and allow us to turn changes we were forced into by a global pandemic into productive and long-term changes in our organizations. Here are three ways to stay innovative in the age of COVID-19. 

Question Assumptions

How we innovate is based on our assumptions. The key to strong innovation and being open to new ideas is to question the assumptions we’ve always had or that are part of society. For years, we’ve assumed certain things that are now being challenged. Many companies assumed they couldn’t have their employees work from home. But when they were forced to let go of those assumptions, they realized remote work can be effective for their teams. Questioning that assumption has allowed companies to create innovative remote work practices. 

As you set out to innovate, question the assumptions you hold personally or within your organization. Ask yourself why you think a certain way and why things matter. Innovation comes when people are willing to find creative solutions and re-create norms. 

Simplify

When processes are inefficient or redundant, people can feel burnt out or too busy to innovate. The goal of simplicity isn’t to get more work done, it’s to do the work that matters. Bodell says anything can be simplified, but especially our processes, mindsets and schedules. Start by stripping things away to the essentials and only adding back in the things that matter most. Evaluate every aspect of your schedule or process to ensure it is valuable and not just busy work. Pharmaceutical company Novartis simplified its processes to drive collaboration and innovation. Video is now mandatory for all meetings, and any meeting longer than 30 minutes requires permission. Other companies are only allowing meetings to be scheduled on certain days of the week so that employees can focus on their own work the rest of the week. 

When your mind and schedule is free of pointless or busy tasks, you have more energy to dedicate to innovation and can clear the space for better ways of doing things. 

Know Your Skillset And Pivot

Innovation requires individuals and companies to pivot to something new. Successful innovation is often based on your skills and abilities. Instead of trying something completely new, you can pivot to an area where you know you will be strong. 

Bodell recommends knowing your skillset and pivoting within those boundaries. Start by examining your skills and abilities. Where are areas you excel or that you know you can thrive? Use those skills as a jumping off point for innovation. Bodell shares the example of Dyson, a company that has a well-established production process. When COVID-19 first hit, the company was able to easily pivot from manufacturing vacuums to manufacturing respirators. Because of the company’s expertise in manufacturing and established culture of curiosity, Dyson could pivot to a new product area and innovate. 

COVID-19 has proven to be a catalyst for innovation. To keep innovation moving forward, focus on questioning assumptions and simplifying so you and your organization can become agile and be able to pivot, no matter what is happening in the world.

This week’s podcast is sponsored by TTEC.

Imagine an interaction that’s so simple and easy, that you don’t even think about it!

TTEC calls this ‘mastering the effortless experience’… and it’s the future of CX.

When your competition is just a click away, how do you ensure your customers stay loyal? How do you keep your employees engaged and motivated? How do you make sure your brand thrives?

Managing over 3.5 million interactions daily, TTEC are CX experts who know what it takes to deliver amazing and effortless customer experiences. They combine CX strategy with proven-processes, award-winning people engagement and best-of-breed technology to deliver holistic solutions focused on driving real-world results for their clients every day.

Don’t get lost in a sea of competitors. Effortless is not a destination. It’s a journey. And TTEC can be your guide to an effortless future.

To find out more about how TTEC can help you transform your customer experience visit TTECDigital.com

Sep 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic rocked companies and customers around the world. As businesses struggled to survive, many put focusing on their customers on the backburner. 

But that’s not the case for Workday. The software company is regularly ranked one of the best companies in the world for its customer service and boasts an impressive 97% customer satisfaction score. As the world fell into chaos, Workday stayed close to its customers and used the crisis as a chance to strengthen relationships. 

Emily McEvilly is Workday’s first-ever Chief Customer Officer. She views her role to be the chief customer advocate and ensure that the customers’ voice is present in everything the company does. Never has that been more important than during the global pandemic. McEvilly said Workday was faced with three main waves of COVID-19 response. The first wave was when stay-at-home orders were first issued. As companies tried to wrap their heads around working from home, Workday B2B clients were mainly focused on business continuity and keeping things moving forward. 

The second wave came later as companies and employees found a groove of working from home. They had managed to stay afloat, but now faced the challenges of adapting potentially long term. Workday continued its standard personalized approach to customer service but tailored it to meet the many needs of its clients. Employees known as Customer Success Managers were assigned to groups of customers to develop strong relationships with them. Those employees serve as a point of contact for customers and use their knowledge of each customer to offer personalized service. Instead of customers having to blindly call customer service, they have a single person they can contact directly to meet their needs. 

Workday covers clients in nearly every industry around the globe, and the different needs of those companies became clear during COVID-19. A one-size-fits-all response to the pandemic wouldn’t work with the differing situations. Instead, Workday divided its employees to each serve certain customers. During a crisis, speed is of the essence, and pre-assigning employees cut down on customers having to wade through red tape to find the right person to help them. 

McEvilly shared the example of one large U.S. retailer that wanted to give its front-line workers an hourly increase. Workday’s customer-centric response helped the company quickly make the change to best help its employees. Another much smaller company has a different type of global workforce that wasn’t used to working from home. Workday employees updated the client’s software to allow managers to easily track employee tasks and even provided consulting hours to help them make changes in their apps. Going one step further, Workday shared the experience in its customer portal so that any customer could see how the product could be tailored. 

According to McEvilly, the third phase of COVID-19 response hasn’t yet arrived. That will be when companies get back to working in person or with a long-term remote work strategy. In preparation for that phase, Workday is already building new partnerships to strengthen its products to deliver agile features customers will need. 

Like with many other companies, COVID-19 pushed Workday to implement digital programs earlier than originally planned. Workday accelerated the launch of its Digital Customer Experience, which optimizes all systems related to Workday applications. The applications themselves are powerful and efficient, but the programs that support the applications and educate customers needed to be refined. The digital approach is improving how customers search for information and learn about their Workday products to get the most value. 

Customer-centricity is never more important than during a crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic shows that customers crave connection and want personalized service to keep moving forward. By offering personalized, digital solutions, Workday is able to keep its customers central to everything it does, no matter what is happening in the world.

This week’s podcast is sponsored by TTEC.

Imagine an interaction that’s so simple and easy, that you don’t even think about it!

TTEC calls this ‘mastering the effortless experience’… and it’s the future of CX.

When your competition is just a click away, how do you ensure your customers stay loyal? How do you keep your employees engaged and motivated? How do you make sure your brand thrives?

Managing over 3.5 million interactions daily, TTEC are CX experts who know what it takes to deliver amazing and effortless customer experiences. They combine CX strategy with proven-processes, award-winning people engagement and best-of-breed technology to deliver holistic solutions focused on driving real-world results for their clients every day.

Don’t get lost in a sea of competitors. Effortless is not a destination. It’s a journey. And TTEC can be your guide to an effortless future.

To find out more about how TTEC can help you transform your customer experience visit TTECDigital.com

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