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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: January, 2021
Jan 26, 2021

Everyone who has sat through an irrelevant or bloated meeting knows the pain it can cause. Meetings that are too long, have too many people or wander from point to point can be counterproductive and put a drain on creativity.  

And somehow, during the COVID-19 pandemic, people are finding themselves in more meetings than ever before. 

According to Steven Rogelberg, author of The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance, the problem isn’t that there are too many meetings, it’s that there are too many bad meetings. He suggests taking a science-based approach to break free from boring meetings and embrace meetings that encourage innovation and creativity. 

Here are just six of Rogelberg’s tips to running a better meeting. 

  1. Use silence. Research has found that silent brainstorming in meetings generates twice as many ideas as vocal group brainstorming, and the ideas tend to be more creative. Don’t feel like you have to fill every meeting with endless talking. Lean into silence on occasion to build engagement.
  2. Be sensitive to the role as a facilitator. As the person leading a meeting, your job isn’t to dominate, but rather to build inclusion and an environment where people can collaborate and get results.
  3. Create a thoughtful agenda. When structuring your agenda, put the most pressing items first. If the meeting runs long or you don’t have a chance to get to everything, at least you addressed the most important issues. Ask for input from attendees about what agenda items should be addressed.
  4. Build an agenda around questions. Instead of building an agenda around a set of topics to discuss, frame the agenda as a set of questions to be answered. This approach creates different thinking and gives you a better idea of who to invite who can best answer the questions. When the questions have been answered, the meeting is over.
  5. Run a pre-mortem. Many companies use post-mortems to follow up on meetings and what can be improved for next time. But Rogelberg suggests taking a few minutes before a meeting for a pre-mortem. Ask yourself what could go wrong, then make adjustments to prevent those things from happening. This quick thought exercise can completely change a meeting.
  6. Start with positivity. Leaders set the tone for the meeting. When you start with positivity and optimism, it creates the same collective mentality for attendees. Take time at the beginning of the meeting to set collective expectations so everyone knows their role. 

Meetings will forever be part of the business world—especially now, when people are separated and working from home. But they don’t have to be boring! With a few simple adjustments, you can lead meetings that get results and encourage creativity and innovation.

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. 

Jan 19, 2021

It seems nearly every company today has a loyalty program, but the meaning of loyalty itself is often still a mystery. 

Customer loyalty in 2021 looks different than it has in the past and even than how many companies view it. 

According to Bram Hechtkopf, CEO of loyalty marketing and technology company Kobie, loyalty is more than just how a customer behaves. A customer who regularly purchases from the same company can appear loyal, but what matters more than the transaction is their emotional loyalty, or how they feel about a brand. 

Hechtkopf breaks emotional loyalty into three areas: status, habit and reciprocity. Measuring customers in those three areas, combined with behavioral data, provides companies with the best view of loyalty. That data can be used to drive better personalization and engagement. 

Focusing on emotional loyalty goes against how many companies have traditionally viewed loyalty. In the past, loyalty was all about transactions, and the goal of a loyalty program was to get customers to the next purchase. 

In 2021, however, loyalty is more than just transactional. Modern brands have to think about the emotional drivers of loyalty. Instead of focusing on just their most loyal customers, Hechtkopf says the best programs cast a wider net to reach out to all customers and then use tiers and gamification to segment customers. These brands build relationships and foster loyalty through more than just points and perks. 

Like many aspects of customer experience, loyalty programs have faced changes and challenges during the pandemic. With supply chain strain and economic uncertainty, customers are more willing to try new brands instead of their trusted favorites. Hechtkopf says that brands that have established loyalty programs have seen the most success because they have been able to leverage their programs as their businesses have pivoted. Instead of focusing solely on transactions, these brands have been able to embrace pandemic trends and outperform the competition while still delivering a personalized experience that meets customers’ needs. 

The companies that think about loyalty not as a program but as an outcome and enterprise strategy have the most success. Hechtkopf says the companies with the best loyalty programs have executives who realize that loyalty is crucial as more than just a transactional program. To tap into modern customer loyalty, brands need to ensure their loyalty strategy aligns with their brand strategy. 

Customer loyalty programs can be powerful drivers for relationships and revenue. But modern companies have to think about loyalty as a state of mind instead of just a program.

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. 

 

Jan 12, 2021

For many people, the days of going to the bank to make a deposit or cash a check are gone forever. Like in many industries, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a major shift away from in-person banking interactions towards digital services. 

The challenge now becomes how to pivot to best serve contactless customers. 

According to Holly O’Neill, Chief Client Care Executive at Bank of America, the switch to digital solutions was already in play for the company. The pandemic simply moved up the timeline. 

Bank of America’s strategy has always been to deliver world-class service in a way that is convenient and easy both in person and virtually. That high-tech, high-touch approach was tailor-made for the current pandemic. 

Covid increased the need for companies, including Bank of America, to undergo a digital transformation or speed up their timeline. O’Neill defines digital transformation as making things easy for clients by putting everything they need right at their fingertips. The goal is to make the mobile and online experience so intuitive that clients don’t need to go anywhere else because they have all the information they need right in front of them. And the ultimate goal is to have an experience that is so intuitive it answers questions before customers ask them. 

With a banking digital transformation, financial centers serve as a hub for advice and guidance instead of transactions. Everything else, like making deposits and checking balances, can be done virtually. 

Pivoting to reach contactless customers means understanding their needs and what they are really looking for. Bank of America leaned into its robust feedback program, which it rolled out a few years ago and has been crucial to understanding constantly changing customer needs. 

Each year, Bank of America sends out tens of millions of customer surveys. That information is collected in almost real-time and then sent to bank managers and the employees who are interacting with clients every day. Through a dashboard, these employees can daily changes in customer sentiment and feedback and then help customers in the most applicable ways. That feedback data is used to personalize the experience to give each customer exactly what matters to them, not to their neighbor. 

O’Neill says the real winners will be the companies that customize the experience for their clients. That customization comes from leveraging feedback data to pivot and quickly make changes as needed. 

The feedback data represents a wide range of customers, making it reliable and usable. Bank of America made a conscious effort to keep the surveys short and simple and deliver them through the mobile app, which has led to a high response rate. 

Although the pandemic has brought a major pivot to serve contactless customers, the digital transformation is far from over. O’Neill views building out and improving digital solutions as a continued evolution that will forever be a part of Bank of America. And as it continues to listen to feedback, personalize and deliver seamless digital solutions, the bank will be prepared to meet customers’ needs, even long after the pandemic.

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. 

Jan 5, 2021

It’s a common situation for customers: spending time on a company’s app or website and then having to call customer service for help. Even after spending time searching online, the customer still has to wait on hold, log in or prove their identity and then re-explain the situation and wait to get connected to the right person. 

In recent years, many aspects of customer experience have been modernized and streamlined, such as the growth of chatbots and AI. However, even with these advancements, most customer interactions have stayed stagnant and without context. 

But that won’t be able to continue for long. Modern customers realize the potential of their data and are increasingly becoming frustrated with companies that don’t offer intuitive and connected experiences. Especially in industries like banking, healthcare and hospitality, customers can easily take their business elsewhere if they have a bad experience. 

According to Vasili Triant, COO of UJET, customers may start with a brand because of the product or price, but they stay because of the experience. 

He says the future of modern customer interactions involves channel blending or meeting customers where they are within a brand’s app. Instead of pushing customers out of the app or website when they need to contact the brand, this modern approach stays within the app to seamlessly pass information to human agents. How a customer uses an app or how they search online provides rich data about their preferences, but brands are throwing that information away when they essentially make customers start over with each interaction. 

This approach not only saves the customer time by not requiring them to re-authenticate and then re-explain their situation, but it also makes it easier for brands to personalize the experience. If a customer is looking at a website in English, they shouldn’t have to choose a language on the phone, just like a customer who has already authenticated in the app shouldn’t have to do it again on the phone. 

According to Triant, leveraging in-app communication adds a vital aspect that is often missing from customer interactions: context. When a customer calls a company, the agent typically doesn’t have much information about why they could be calling. But by connecting with customers through channels they already use and leveraging that data, agents automatically have context around the interaction and can more easily provide the right solution. Very few brands contextualize their customer experience, but as personalization and the need for convenience grows, customers will come to expect it. 

In the smartphone era, customers do nearly everything on their phones. They want and expect a seamless transition from self-service to being able to contact a brand. The companies that can take the step towards modernizing their experiences and offer context around the interaction will lead the way in personalization and customer loyalty. This approach to customer interactions is the future, and companies need to get on board to deliver strong, modern experiences.

*Sponsored by UJET

UJET is the world’s first and only cloud contact center platform for smartphone era CX. By modernizing digital and in-app experiences, UJET unifies the enterprise brand experience across sales, marketing, and support, eliminating the frustration of channel switching between voice, digital, and self-service for consumers. Offering unsurpassed resiliency and the flexibility to deploy across leading public cloud infrastructures, UJET powers the world’s largest elastic CCaaS tenant at up to 22,000 agents globally and is trusted by innovative, customer-centric enterprises like Instacart, Turo, Wag!, and Atom Tickets to intelligently orchestrate predictive, contextual, conversational customer experiences. 

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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