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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: October, 2020
Oct 27, 2020

For years, experts have talked about millennials and looked towards the future of Generation Z, the generation to follow. But Gen Z is now here and already having a massive impact, both as employees and as consumers. Marketers need to understand Gen Z to realize its full impact and to separate the truth from long held myths.  

Generational researcher Jason Dorsey is an expert on all things Gen Z. He studies generational behavior so that leaders, marketers, employers and others can understand the differences between each generation. But he warns against putting generations in boxes. The wide range of ages and life experiences means that within a generation are multiple different groups. However, generations offer powerful clues that can drive trust and help marketers create valuable experiences by bringing them one step closer to understanding their consumers.  

Contrary to what many people think, Gen Z isn’t made up entirely of teenagers. The group is growing up, so that the oldest members are now approaching their mid-20s. Gen Z is the fastest growing generation in the workforce. 

Most people view Gen Z as the next wave of millennials, but Dorsey’s research shows that Gen Z is actually very different. He calls Gen Z a throwback generation that actually has more in common with baby boomers than millennials. Gen Z is one of the most frugal generations. They are more likely to use coupons and find deals than their millennial predecessors. They want to graduate college without debt and tend to care more about their workplace benefits. A large number of Gen Z is even already saving for retirement. Dorsey’s research also found that Gen Z will soon leapfrog some millennials in the workforce, creating a strange combination of generations and ideologies. 

Gen Z is more likely to trust an influencer or someone like them over someone with advanced degrees. And because they’ve grown up with technology and smartphones, Gen Z values social media and the news it provides, but realizes it creates many mental health triggers. 

Gen Z doesn’t remember 9/11, which was the generational defining event for millennials. Gen Z doesn’t know life before 9/11, and their lives aren’t shaped by the changes that happened after the event. Gen Z doesn’t represent change because this is all they’ve ever known. In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic will be the generational defining event for Gen Z and impact their mindset moving forward. 

So what does this mean for marketers? Understanding that Gen Z isn’t simply millennials 2.0 is an important differentiation. Gen Z values different things than millennials and has different priorities. They also aren’t the teenagers many have long considered Gen Z to be. Gen Z will have a tremendous impact on the workforce and the economy going forward as they become the most powerful generation. 

Understanding generations gives marketers clues and tools to know their consumers. With this understanding of generational cues, marketers can create more personalized experiences that best target this influential group.

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.

 

Oct 20, 2020

In the midst of a global pandemic, pharmaceutical companies around the world are rushing to develop a vaccine to COVID-19. In an industry that typically takes years to create, test and market new drugs, the incredible time crunch for the COVID vaccine is pushing companies to their limits. 

But it’s not just pharmaceutical companies that are in the race to create a vaccine. There are also companies helping behind the scenes with digital transformation. NECI and its president Tom Ramundo are working with pharmaceutical companies to create a digital stack so they can bring their product to market much more quickly. 

Digital transformation and industrial automation greatly speed up the testing process by using data and predictive analytics to see how a vaccine performs in trial. Ramundo says that many of the companies working to create a COVID vaccine were born to be digital companies. They are taking the digital fingerprint of the protein that makes up the virus and utilizing it to develop their product. When working on a project that changes the timeline from months and years to days and weeks, companies must be digitally enabled. Without a digital transformation, companies couldn’t come close to creating a COVID vaccine in record time. 

Companies don’t need to be finding the cure to a global pandemic to undergo a digital transformation. Ramundo says it’s critical for every company, no matter the industry, to adopt digital solutions to improve their processes and become more efficient. 

Ramundo’s work on the COVID vaccine has highlighted three digital transformation trends: 

  1. It’s not all about technology. Digital transformation centers around digital tools and capabilities, but the people are equally important. Without passionate people, a digital transformation can fall flat. Ramundo says the COVID team at NECI all volunteered to work on the project because they are passionate about the cause, which helps things move even faster.
  2. Leadership must be engaged. Everyone has to be on board for a successful digital transformation. Starting from the top, leaders and executives must be engaged and lead the cause. Leaders also need to develop a plan for employee buy-in to get everyone on board and show the value of the changes. Digital transformation includes everyone, from IT to HR, finance and beyond.
  3. Don’t take your eye off the ball. Digital transformation is about smart, integrated technology, but at the end of the day, it has to solve problems. A digital solution that is flashy but doesn’t actually improve the company is a waste. What are the problems you are trying to solve? Ramundo recommends starting small, achieving business results and then repeating the process on other problems. 

Digital transformation is paving the way for a COVID vaccine to be introduced in record time. It can have an equally transformative effect on companies that focus on strategy and tie the digital offerings back to their business goals.

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.

Oct 14, 2020

Most companies and consumers know they should fight against climate change and want to make a difference, they just don’t know how. 

With carbon emissions increasing across the globe, it can feel overwhelming to make a difference. Companies don’t know how to start or even if their efforts will pay off and actually have an impact. 

Austin Whitman is founder and CEO of Climate Neutral, a non-profit organization that makes it simple for companies to track and offset their carbon emissions and certifies companies that are actively working to reduce their carbon emissions. The goal is to provide companies a turn-key addition to their sustainability work and to start conversations with consumers about climate change. 

Whitman believes that the fight against carbon emissions is improved when companies involve customers in their eco-friendly initiatives. Not only does it empower customers, but it also creates a powerful partnership for good. Here are three ways to connect with customers on climate change:

  1. Make it simple for customers to make a difference. Modern consumers are overwhelmed by choices. Many consumers want to make responsible choices but simply don’t know how. Climate Neutral makes it easy for customers to purchase the most eco-friendly products. Companies that have gone through the certification process can put a label on their products to show customers their products are fighting against climate change. When customers are faced with options of products to buy, they can simply choose the product with the Climate Neutral symbol and know they are making the best choice. The goal of companies should always be to make customers’ lives easier, especially when it comes to making sustainable choices.
  2. Show customers change is possible. Whitman says it’s powerful when brands engage with their customers on climate change. Brands need to show consumers that fighting against climate change can lead to real results. Show customers that brands can still deliver high-quality items while reducing their carbon emissions. Focus on what’s achievable. Many consumers are hesitant to make eco-friendly purchases because they don’t want to change from their favorite products or dramatically alter their lives. But when brands showcase that progress can happen without taking away products and quality customers enjoy, it can lead to real change.
  3. Offer optimistic solutions. Instead of using scare tactics to engage customers in the fight against climate change, brands should stay hopeful and optimistic. The key is to start a conversation and provide solutions instead of just highlighting the problems. Many consumers feel they’re on their own to make the best decisions to limit their carbon footprints. Show them that it’s a collaboration between brands and customers and that together, we can all make progress. 

Climate change is a real problem for our world, but customers and companies can make a positive difference when they work together. Climate Neutral shows organizations that it’s possible to take a real stand against carbon emissions. When brands involve their customers in the conversation and action, the movement becomes even more powerful.

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.

 

Oct 7, 2020

After months of quarantine and isolation, consumers are slowly starting to adjust to a new life with COVID-19. As stores reopen and re-adjust, they are faced with customers who are drastically different than they were just six month ago. According to Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods, in order to transition and move forward, stores must re-build consumer trust. 

Moving forward in the pandemic starts by understanding what customers are thinking and feeling. Robb’s current company, S2G Ventures, recently published a report about the future of food in the age of COVID and uncovered many changes to customers’ mindsets. Today’s customers are out of their pre-COVID rhythm and are trying to find and settle into new routines while wrapping their heads around all the changes. Customers are adjusting and adapting by doing more things at home, leaning on different experiences and connecting with friends and brands digitally. 

Amidst all these changes, what customers really want is trust. They want the safety, security and transparency of trusting the companies they do business with. That includes things like knowing where their food comes from and understanding the manufacturing process for their clothes and home items. 

According to Robb, today’s retailers are at a tipping point: with a new generation of shoppers and a new world situation, companies have to contribute to solutions—they can’t just sit back. Retailers must actively work to build consumer trust by being transparent and authentic. 

Robb says retailers can re-earn trust and loyalty through three key principles:

  1. Act with integrity in every interaction. Customers interact with brands in a number of ways, from apps to in-store experiences and new digital platforms. Each interaction is a chance for a brand to re-earn trust and loyalty. Lasting trust comes from consistent actions. Customers have to know what to expect and that they will get great service every time they interact with the brand. Building trust doesn’t require huge actions—it’s the simple, everyday interactions that make a difference when they are authentic and consistent.
  2. Be willing to serve customers. Some customers say they want to be served in certain ways, such as grocery customers saying they want to pick up items in store or have certain things delivered. It’s up to brands to develop the capabilities to serve customers how and when they want to be served. Brands earn trust when they listen to customers and are willing to meet their needs.
  3. Use data to understand customers. Most customers are willing to share their personal information with a brand if it leads to more personalized experiences. Modern customers expect companies to know who they are and act according to their individual preferences. Brands can’t build unique experiences and establish trust if they don’t know their customers. 

COVID has changed how customers think and act, and retailers need to respond accordingly. To build trust, brands must understand modern customers and find ways to rebuild trust every day.

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.

 

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