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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: November, 2020
Nov 24, 2020

What has been the biggest shift in customer experience in recent years? 

It’s not the COVID-19 pandemic, though that has certainly played a large role. According to NICE inContact CEO Paul Jarman, the biggest change has been the democratization of opinion. Customers have more of a voice than ever before, which has forced companies to focus on experience. Brands learned that they have to provide an experience that individuals are excited about and will share with family and friends in order to gain customers. As Jarman says, the push towards customer experience has given more power to consumers in voice and choice. 

But what does customer empowerment look like in the midst of a global pandemic? Worldwide shutdowns and restrictions changed how companies do business and interact with their customers. It placed a larger emphasis on digital interactions and mobile service. And even after the pandemic is over, digital will still play a large role in customer experience, especially in the contact center. 

As companies navigate the new world with COVID-19, they need to know how things have changed and how those changes will impact the future. 

NICE inContact’s 2020 Benchmark surveyed contact center leaders across the country to get a sense of how customer experience has changed this year and where it is going in the future. Here are four main takeaways to lead CX into 2021: 

1 . A dramatic move to the cloud.

After years of the technology growing and becoming more reliable, companies are now realizing that it is easier to be agile and innovative in the cloud. Nice InContact’s survey found that 66% of contact center decision-makers plan to accelerate their move to the cloud because of the pandemic. Cloud-based CX technology allows for seamless service and a consistent experience across all channels. 

2 . Significant increase in digital channels.

Customers have gone digital, with 62% of contact centers reporting more digital interactions since COVID started. Even after the pandemic is over, customers will still expect to be able to communicate with companies digitally. Jarman says one of the main difficulties of companies going digital is that they have multiple systems that don’t work together. The push from COVID to interact with customers digitally shows the importance of a single unified system to simplify the digital experience for both contact centers agents and customers.

3 . More mobile apps.

Customers want to communicate with companies through mobile apps. Mobile apps saw the biggest growth in contact centers from 2019, increasing by 8% to 56% of companies using apps to communicate with customers. Mobile apps are especially important for younger consumers and Gen Z, who expect brands to interact with them in private social messaging apps. Effective mobile apps allow customers to contact a brand whenever it’s convenient for them. 

4 . Room for improvement for chatbots.

Chatbots have long been billed as the future of customer service, especially in contact centers, but many customers haven’t found chatbots to be reliable enough to use. Although many customers prefer self-service options like chatbots over other channels like talking to a human on the phone, 90% of CX practitioners believe chatbots need to get smarter before customers will be willing to use them regularly. Even with all of the digital growth in contact centers, the number of companies using chatbots stayed constant from 2019 at 46%. 

Customer experience is more strategic than ever before. Understanding changes helps companies build effective strategies as they allow contact centers to have more creativity and power to get things done. Jarman believes customer experience now needs to be the key focus for every company, but the good news is that the sky's the limit. With creativity and technology, brands can create powerful digital solutions that are boundless. 

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This week's podcast is sponsored by NICE inContact

NICE inContact works with organizations of all sizes to create extraordinary and trustworthy customer experiences that create deeper brand loyalty and relationships that last.

With NICE inContact CXone, the industry’s most complete cloud customer experience platform, the company combines best-in-class Customer Analytics, Omnichannel Routing, Workforce Optimization, Automation and Artificial Intelligence, all on an Open Cloud Foundation to help any company transform every single customer interaction.

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

Nov 17, 2020

How do you create an experience around an all-natural vodka that shows its history and sustainability? Learn to tell a good story. 

Belvedere Vodka has long been known for its great quality and super-premium product, but only recently has the company began to focus on its historic roots and sustainable efforts. Sharing the story adds to the experience and helps customers feel more connected to the brand. 

Shifting To Storytelling

Instead of simply rattling off talking points and qualities of its all-natural vodka, Belvedere turns to the power of storytelling. As customers are transported to the 110-year-old distillery where the vodka is made and learn the process of turning simple ingredients into amazing spirits, they build a connection with the brand that can’t come in any other way. 

Though the shift to storytelling has been in the works for a while, the pandemic has played a role in changing what customers are looking for. According to president and CEO Rodney Williams, luxury products like Belvedere Vodka are now less about exclusivity and more about the values the brand stands for. Customers are now more aware of the power of nature, what they’re eating and where it comes from. The focus on simple, wholesome ingredients is important to them. 

Belvedere’s success comes in turning its ingredients into a story. It’s one thing to list all-natural ingredients and say your brand is simple and wholesome—it’s another to show the power of your ingredients and what they can become.

Highlighting Sustainability

Belvedere’s new campaign, “Made With Nature” showcases the brand’s history of combining simple ingredients from nature into extraordinary vodka.  

Belvedere has been sustainable and all-natural since before it was a major issue for consumers. For the past eight years, Belvedere has hosted the Raw Spirits Summit to bring together scientists and farmers to study cutting-edge techniques around sustainable agriculture. The company has been able to build on its past efforts in a time when sustainability is top of mind for many customers. 

Williams says “Made With Nature” comes at a time where consumers are increasingly ready to listen to brands that embrace a natural philosophy and are working towards meaningful change. The world cares about sustainability now more than ever before. 

Using Stories To Build Experience

To start storytelling, Williams said the company looked at the brand’s DNA and discovered the long commitment to craftsmanship and sustainability. The brand has always been committed to quality and craft, but it hasn’t told the story directly before. Sharing that story resonates with younger consumers, who care about brands that are natural and have solid sustainability credentials. 

But sharing a brand story will land flat if it isn’t rooted into authenticity. Just like with their ingredients, customers also want realness in their stories and connections with brands. 

In today’s world, stories behind brands are what has lasting value to consumers. Customers are looking to build real relationships with brands and understand where they come from and what makes them tick. Focusing on authentic storytelling allows brands to connect with customers on a new level and build an amazing experience. 

Every brand has a story. If told well, that story can create an amazing customer experience. Like Belvedere Vodka shows, communicating your company’s DNA can make for a fascinating story and build a strong experience.

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. 

Nov 10, 2020

The backbone of a strong customer experience is feedback. And it’s never been more important than it is now. 

According to Tom Hale, president of SurveyMonkey, digital surveys and feedback have seen tremendous growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. With companies forced into new ways of doing business and interacting with their customers, feedback has never been more crucial. Surveys allow companies to check their progress and see what needs to be improved, especially at a time when so many things are new and changing. 

New research from SurveyMonkey found that 87% of CX professionals say customer feedback is more important now than it was before COVID. Customer experience and feedback has taken a higher priority because of the pandemic, and Hale doesn’t think it will ever change back. 

The struggle then becomes how to get the most effective and useful feedback. In order to get great feedback, companies must know how to create a great survey.

Here are five tips to creating the perfect customer survey:

  1. Start with NPS. Hales says the gold standard for customer feedback is a question about NPS (Net Promoter Score), which is an accurate way of measuring how likely customers are to recommend the company. A high NPS means customers are generally quite satisfied with the experience. Start the survey by asking, “Would you recommend this product/service to a friend?” and allow customers to rate their response on a scale from 0-10. 
  2. Leave space for open responses. Great surveys combine numerical answers and free responses. When asking about NPS, follow it up with an open text box to encourage customers to elaborate on why they would or wouldn’t recommend the company. Open responses can be used to elaborate on nearly any question and add more depth to the survey responses. 
  3. Think through the entire experience. The perfect customer survey isn’t just about the questions—it’s about the entire experience. Hale shared his own example of when he bought a new treadmill and received the follow-up survey just after it was delivered when he was in the thick of assembling the complicated machine. Too many companies ask for feedback at the wrong time. Hale’s response would have been very different if he had received the survey a few days later after he had time to assemble and try the treadmill instead of receiving it when he was distracted and stressed.
  4. Make it easy for customers to respond. Think through the entire experience of when a customer will receive the survey, how long it will take them to complete and how they will feel when they’re completing the survey. Customers are much less likely to respond to feedback requests that are too complicated or have too much friction, such as when they receive a printed receipt with a long survey link they have to type in themselves. Great, accurate customer feedback comes when it is easy for customers to give responses. As Hale says, much of designing the experience is the communication around the experience, including how you ask the questions.
  5. Give surveys throughout the entire customer lifecycle. Successful customer feedback doesn’t just come after a customer has made a purchase. SurveyMonkey surveys its own customers at all parts of the lifecycle to have metrics and feedback about the entire experience from start to finish. The surveys look slightly different based on where they are given in the customer journey, but the information pinpoints areas for improvement and helps prioritize what needs to be changed first. 

The root of the perfect customer survey is customer-centricity. When a company has a culture of being customer-centric, it comes through in their entire experience, including asking for feedback. When companies truly care for their customers and design experiences around them, it shows in useful feedback that guides the customer experience and improves all aspects of the journey.

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. 

Nov 3, 2020

If you’ve been to one of Shake Shack’s 300-plus locations around the world, chances are you’ve had to wait in line. The restaurant draws a crowd with its fresh ingredients and elevated take on fast food. The entire brand is built around great food and great service, and it’s a hit with customers.  

Shake Shack stands out because of its fine dining-inspired approach to burgers and fries. The restaurant uses real ingredients, fresh flavors, and great chefs to make food to order. The wait might be a little longer, but customers don’t mind standing in line to get amazing food. 

According to CMO Jay Livingston, delivering a strong customer experience has been part of Shake Shack’s brand since the beginning. The company doesn’t just want to use the fine-dining approach in its food, it also wants to use fine dining to inspire its experience. The company aims to provide great hospitality and an elevated guest experience. Employees offer personalized service and customize each meal instead of simply rushing to put food on the plate. 

Employees at all levels give their best to customers, no matter where they work or how busy they are. Every Shake Shack employee spends their first five days at the company working all the stations in a restaurant, including prepping the food, manning the grill, and working the cash register. Livingston says it instills in employees, even those who don’t work in the actual restaurants, the work that goes into delivering fine dining food to customers quickly and hammers home the brand promise. 

Shake Shack uses customer experience to build its brand by being transparent and authentic in every interaction it has with customers. The company is moving to become more data-driven to better understand guests and test ideas more quickly. 

That hasn’t changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Shake Shack has been forced to speed up the buildout of its digital products. Customers can now order online or through the app for pickup and delivery as a way to expand the experience to what customers need most. It even rolled out a DIY burger kit so customers can make their favorite Shake Shack burgers at home and will unveil drive-thrus in 2021—all in the name of delivering great food just how customers want it. 

Shake Shack has a strong online presence and regularly collaborates with top chefs on its social channels to show their process for making food. The collaborations give guests a behind-the-scenes look into how the food is developed and cooked. The goal isn’t to sell hamburgers, it’s to connect with guests on a deeper level and involve them in the many sides of Shake Shack. 

Customer experience is the foundation of Shake Shack’s brand. Continually developing CX and relating it back to the major brand promises of elevated food and service has helped Shake Shack see incredible growth.

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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