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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: December, 2020
Dec 29, 2020

It’s the time of year when everyone is making New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for the coming year. 

What do you hope to achieve in 2021? How do you want to improve yourself and your career? 

For many of us, it’s been a complicated year and we’re looking for some change and improvement. 

But too often we fall into the trap of thinking we have to reinvent the wheel and start completely fresh. If we want to make more money, we have to start a brand new business. If we want to lose weight, we have to go on a crash diet. 

But that’s not true—you don’t have to start completely over to find success and happiness. 

Instead of setting New Year’s resolutions, I follow the 5% rule. Each day, I try to be 5% better than the day before. I’m not starting over from nothing; I’m building on what I already have and trying my best to improve every day. I don’t have to start over to get healthy or build a successful business. I work with what I have and improve it piece by piece. Over time, the 5% rule ends up increasing and accelerating the changes I’m trying to make. 

2020 was a rough year. Instead of beating ourselves up when we don’t achieve our lofty goals, we need to show ourselves grace and kindness. Talk to yourself kindly and do the best you can. Instead of feeling the pressure to create this big, amazing thing over night, the 5% rule lets you try your best every day and make small, incremental improvements. 

We don’t need more rules. Instead, we need to give ourselves love and nourishment. We need to check in with ourselves emotionally to really see how we are doing and how we can grow and improve. 

Make 2021 your year, but don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. Be kind to yourself. Aim to be 5% better each day and simply do your best. Over time, you’ll find you’ve reached where you want to be and become the best version of yourself.

To keep improving yourself and continue your entrepreneurial journey in 2020, be sure to check out the BYOB Podcast and our YouTube Channel for proven tips and useful advice.  

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. 

 

Dec 22, 2020

What’s the word of the year for customer service? 

According to business and CX expert Shep Hyken, it’s empathy. 

Hyken has years of experience in customer service and is a popular speaker and author. Like all of us, he saw the dramatic challenges businesses faced in 2020 and the pivots they had to make. Businesses and customers are adjusting to their new way of interacting and facing constant change, especially as we head into the new year.   

Here are some of Shep Hyken’s predictions for 2021: 

Customers Continue To Get Smarter

Today’s customers know what good customer service is. They experience it every day from companies like Amazon and Zappos and have come to expect and demand it from other businesses. Customers are learning from great companies and want that level of service in all their interactions. 

Customers Are Becoming Impatient

Modern customers want what they want now. They’ve gotten used to getting their shipments within hours or overnight and now want everything right away. Companies need to meet that demand with quick service and delivery. 

Customers Expect Convenience

Today’s busy customers are willing to pay for convenience. A study by Hyken found that more than 67% of consumers are willing to pay more for a convenient experience, and that number jumps to 90% if that experience includes delivery. Convenience matters and goes a long way with customers, and they are willing to pay for that convenience. 

Personalization Is Getting More Personal

Customers want an experience that is unique to them. They want and expect companies to know their preferences and experiences. Some companies are going further with micro-personalization that is tailored to each person’s unique experience with specific product recommendations and preferences, not just general genres. 

Companies Are Getting Automation Happy

Companies need a strong digital system to compete and deliver great experiences, but so many companies fall into the trap of relying too heavily on automation and not enough on the human experience. Hyken believes some companies get enamored with technology and use it to replace the human experience, which is a big mistake. The best companies create digital experiences but can seamlessly transition customers to humans if needed. There needs to be a balance between human and digital. 

Problems Can Be Predicted

In a perfect world, if a problem can be predicted, it can be solved before the customer even knows about it. The most successful companies are continually looking for potential problems big and small and then proactively solving them before customers even realize they have a problem.   

The bottom line of delivering great customer service in 2021 is simply to be nice. Customers expect convenience and personalization, but more than anything they want to interact with individuals and companies who are nice. No matter what happens in the future, kindness will always be on-trend.

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. 

Dec 15, 2020

Every year, I make predictions for what’s to come in the world of customer experience. After doing this for seven years, I’ve gotten pretty good at predicting trends that really do end up influencing businesses and customers.

But in 2020, no one could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic.  

It’s been a tough year. Between the pandemic, shutdowns and economic downturn, we’ve also faced environmental issues, a divisive election in the U.S., racial injustice and much more. 

These events might not seem tied to customer experience, but we don’t live or work in a  bubble—we’re affected by what happens all over the world. And we’ll definitely be feeling the effects of this year for years to come. 

With that in mind, here are my five customer experience predictions for 2021:

1 . How We Live And Work Has Forever Changed Thanks To COVID. Nearly every aspect of life and business this year was upended because of COVID. Although a vaccine is making great progress, we will be seeing the impact of the pandemic for at least the next five to ten years. Although most people want to get back to some semblance of normal life, they are hesitant to go back to how things were. 

2 . 2021: Year Of The Uncomfortable Conversation. 2020 brought about a lot of uncomfortable conversations on topics ranging from health and safety to layoffs, Black Lives Matter and supporting women and essential workers. These conversations will intensify in 2021 as individuals and companies will have to look inwardly to address these major concerns and help support underrepresented groups that have been hit especially hard this year. Customers will expect companies to take a stand and really make a difference.

3 . Putting Employees And Customers Above Profits. Many companies made huge efforts in 2020 to support their employees and customers, even if that meant their profits suffered. They invested in employee relief funds and increased benefits, while also listening to customers and providing great service. That trend will continue, and the companies that focus on people instead of profits will see great success.

4 . Ecommerce Rose Immensely And Touchless CX Makes Unignorable Leap. Companies were forced to pivot this year as stores were shut down and in-person shopping was limited. Companies across all industries have increased their e-commerce offerings. And now that customers have experienced delivery and pickup, they don’t want to go back to how things were. Touchless CX will make huge leaps in 2021 as brands work to build experiences for customers who feel vulnerable. In the coming year, brands will have to adopt digital models and creative touchless solutions.

5 . B2B Pivot. B2B companies struggled in 2020 because they depend on in-person conferences and networking that was cancelled or moved online. A number of B2B companies have already pivoted to new ways to connect with customers, and other companies must follow suit. B2B companies have to double down on customer experience through digital transformation and using thought leadership to generate leads because what worked in the past doesn’t work anymore. 

In many ways, 2020 has set the stage for CX in 2021. As we come out of a difficult year, customers are looking for ease and personalization. They want companies to adapt and make a real difference in society. These trends show just how much 2020 changed us and how we can continue to recover and evolve in 2021.

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. 

Dec 8, 2020

After a wild 2020, many companies are looking forward to 2021 and hoping to proactively engage with customers instead of reactively building or changing programs and services. 

But just because 2021 is a new year doesn’t mean 2020 is gone and forgotten. The global pandemic and unrest of the year will stick with customers for the long term and greatly influence how they interact with companies going forward. With more virtual events and interactions than ever before, customers want human connection. 

The 2021 Deloitte Global Marketing Trends Report highlights seven trends shaping customer experience and business growth in 2021: Purpose, Agility, Trust, Talent, Participation, Fusion and Human Experience. Understanding these trends can help brands drive connection and engagement. 

Although each trend is unique and stands on its own, Deloitte CMO Suzanne Kounkel says the trends also work together to support and influence each other. A company that has built strong trust will also likely have a strong sense of participation, for example, while a company lacking in trust likely won’t have as strong of customer participation or human experience. 

Of the seven trends, Kounkel says the most important may be purpose and agility. If a company or brand isn’t grounded in a purpose, it’s hard to land any of the other trends. Customers want to see the purpose of a brand and feel trust in an organization. It’s no longer just about making a purchase or doing business—it’s about building real connections with a brand, participating and believing in its greater purpose. 

Kounkel says that in a roller coaster year like 2020, it’s important for companies to have purpose as their guiding course. People need to understand why things are being done because how they are being done is changing so quickly. The purpose keeps employees, customers and organizations moving steadily towards a goal or vision, even with the turbulences of chaos and uncertainty. 

An organization’s purpose has to start at the top. Kounkel believes most organizations have a purpose, but many companies fall flat because their purpose isn’t embedded or understood in a way that helps the company move forward. She recommends organizations and leaders perform a soul-searching exercise to determine their purpose. Be pragmatic and dogmatic, but do it quickly, because customers expect companies to have strong purposes that resonate in everything they do. 

Agility is also a powerful trend going into 2021. The year 2020 showed just how crucial agility is as companies were forced to pivot quickly with little warning. COVID has changed customer expectations, and consumers now expect brands to be more agile than ever before. Now, as we work through the pandemic, brands are starting to get back to doing what they want to do. For months we spent time doing what we had to do, but the agility now in place gives brands more freedom to get back to what they and their customers actually want to do. 

A new year brings a new slate. Customers want more connection than ever, and companies that tap into these seven trends can make that happen. Start with a sense of purpose and build those strong connections that will last into the future.

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. 

Dec 1, 2020

2020 has been a strange year. Many people coped with the loneliness and uncertainty of lockdowns and quarantines by adding a furry friend to the family. Pet ownership is way up because of the pandemic and has caused the pet industry to pivot and adapt. 

As the number of customers has greatly increased, the pet industry has also had to deal with pandemic restrictions and changing health regulations. The only way to survive has been to stay close to customers, adopt digital solutions and pivot. 

Brian Garish, president of Banfield Pet Hospital, said that although the way of doing business is now different, the company’s focus is still on building connections with pets and keeping its associates healthy while they continue to give care. 

As an essential business, Banfield Hospitals has stayed open throughout the pandemic, but the store had to create new measures to keep associates, pets and clients safe. One of its major changes was introducing curbside dropoff for pets. Instead of owners walking their pets into the store, they now drop them off at the curb where a Banfield associate takes the pet into the hospital to perform the procedure and then brings them back when they are done. To help customers feel comfortable leaving their pets, Banfield built on its trustworthy reputation and increased its communication so that customers are still involved in every step of the process. 

One of the most crucial aspects of pivoting during COVID has been digital transformation. Banfield was already working on a digital transformation, but it was greatly accelerated by the pandemic. Now, clients can schedule services and access their pet’s records online. Everything can be done through an online portal or app to remove concerns and make clients’ lives easier and simpler. 

The move to digital transformation helps both clients and associates, which then leads to a better experience for the pets. Instead of being weighed down by paperwork, Banfield associates can upload notes digitally to keep owners in the loop. Banfield is also working towards a green initiative to email all paperwork and receipts instead of printing hard copies. 

Garish believes Banfield’s digital transformation has been effective because it is rooted in empathy. In his mind, strategy without empathy is wasted. To create the most effective digital transformation, Banfield encourages and facilitates conversations with its clients and its associates. 

Digital transformation didn’t come about because it was a trend or an idea executives had—it came from listening to customers and having true two-way conversations. Banfield aims to be part of its clients’ lifestyles, even during a pandemic, but that can’t happen without real dialogue. Those conversations have continued during the pandemic as Banfield keeps in continual communication with its clients and associates about what is and isn’t working and how care can be improved. 

Garish doesn’t see the pandemic pivot as temporary. He believes changes made in the last nine months will forever change the company and industry and re-affirm the need to put customers at the center of everything. Instead of a standardized path, customers want individual attention. 

The pandemic won’t last forever, but the lasting effects of increased pet ownership will definitely stick around, and Banfield will be there every step of the way.

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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