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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: March, 2022
Mar 29, 2022
Margaret Wishingrad didn’t grow up eating healthy foods. 

But as an adult, she developed healthy habits. She continued those habits when her first child was born, but she couldn’t find a healthy alternative to the sugar-filled cereals that lined the shelves. 

And Three Wishes Cereal was born. 

Wishingrad and her husband, Ian, spent two years testing new methods and ingredients to create a grain-free and dairy-free cereal with high protein and low sugar that actually tastes good. 

Today, Three Wishes is a customer favorite and sells multiple flavors online and in stores across the country. 

Turning her idea into a full-fledged brand took work and a focus on solving a problem. Wishingrad had to start by identifying the real need for her product. She did customer research and talked to countless people and what they were looking for in a cereal. Identifying and solving a real problem made it easier to sell the product to retailers and get coveted shelf space. 

Wishingrad has also built the brand by staying in tune with customers and moving quickly. A challenge of launching a food brand during a pandemic was that customers weren’t shopping in stores and couldn’t experience and taste the product in person. But Wishingrad saw grocery shoppers were moving online and quickly re-launched the website to create a smooth buying funnel. When customers started returning to in-person shopping, they were already familiar with Three Wishes because of its online presence. 

In the busy online world, Wishingrad says marketing comes down to identifying who you are speaking to and speaking to them—simple as that. For Three Wishes, that meant communicating with parents and giving them a quick and healthy breakfast solution for their families. 

Building a customer-centric brand also requires creativity. Without the ability to showcase their products in person, the Wishingrads created a drive-thru taste test right in their driveway. They safely gave neighbors and community members samples of their cereal as they drove through the driveway and then sent photos of the event to the local paper. The heartwarming story of a brand serving its community during the pandemic was picked up by news outlets across the country and led to huge exposure for Three Wishes and the company’s biggest online sales day—all from just a few hand-painted signs and creativity. 

Any idea has the potential to become a successful customer-centric brand. Wishingrad shows it takes dedication and creativity, as well as a push to solve a real problem and communicate it well.

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

Mar 22, 2022

After two years of creative digital marketing and virtual events, in-person experiential marketing is back. And it has the potential to revitalize and transform your customer experience. 

Bridget Hanrahan, Associate Director of Marketing Operations at Subaru of America, Inc, says experiential marketing helps Subaru connect with its customers on a more personal level. 

Subaru’s in-person marketing starts with understanding what customers value, both in their lives and what they want in a car. Subaru performs regular market research and customer surveys. Because it is a purpose-driven brand, the questions center around asking owners about changes in their lives, their passions and topics they care about. Those insights form the customer DNA and drive all CX efforts, including experiential marketing. 

Hanrahan calls Subaru customers experience seekers who care more about collecting memories and possessions than possessions. Those customer insights help the brand create experiential marketing in places that resonate with potential customers, such as ski slopes and local events. Subaru is very involved in communities across the country and uses in-person events to not only showcase its cars but to show people the impact of its community initiatives. 

Experiential marketing gives brands another way to create a strong customer experience and immerse customers in the brand. Hanrahan says the most successful in-person efforts are rooted in data to find the best places to connect with customers. Using experiential marketing to showcase the brand and its products builds strong connections that can lead to loyal and engaged customers. 

And after living virtually for two years, customers are anxious to connect with brands in new ways. Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your CX efforts and find ways to expand in-person experiential marketing.

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

Mar 15, 2022

As CX grows as an industry and continues to show its impact on the bottom line, more marketers are tasked with leading it. But how well do marketers really understand CX? 

Digital marketing expert Jay Baer says that although there is a large overlap between marketing and CX, there are also crucial differences. While marketing is often tasked with bringing in new customers, CX is all about retention and creating loyal customers and strong relationships. 

CX has never been more important than in our post-pandemic world. Across the board, customers are looking for companies that make their lives easier and offer frictionless service. 

What customers value and prioritize has changed, and they increasingly want to interact with brands that reflect their preferences and worldviews. Baer says it’s not about reaching the most potential customers but reaching customers who align with the brand’s mission and goals. 

The key to marketers understanding CX is to understand their customers. When everyone involved in CX understands customers—especially how they have changed—they can offer a more empathetic and relevant experience. 

Baer says that the companies that will succeed over the next few years are the companies that understand their customers the best. Customers have changed so drastically that a company that hasn’t done rich customer research in the last two years is essentially flying blind. Performing a deep dive into first-party customer research augmented by technology is the first step in marketers becoming strong CX professionals. 

Most marketers don’t spend a lot of time with customers, which leads to companies that are surrounded by data but starved for insights. Driving a successful CX strategy requires talking to customers and getting to know them—what makes them tick, what they value in a brand interaction, what they want from your company, and more. Baer’s top advice for marketers is to get on the phone and talk to customers. 

Marketing plays a vital role in every company. But as customers gain more power, CX is increasingly valuable. To participate in and lead CX efforts, marketers must have a strong understanding of customers and turn those insights and relationships into high-quality experiences. 

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

Mar 8, 2022

What’s the first step to offering the human element to service? Investing in your human employees.  

Contact centers play a crucial role in a customer’s experience. Building a customer-centric company starts by empowering agents to provide excellent service, says Tom Goodmanson, President & CEO of Calabrio. 

The past two years of a pandemic have been hard on everyone, but contact center agents especially feel the stress. New research from Calabrio found that 96% of contact center agents feel stressed weekly while also taking more calls than ever before. That work stress, added to adjusting their work schedules and managing the personal stress of the pandemic, dramatically impacts customer service. When companies have the tools to reduce employee stress and improve the agent experience, it helps drive better customer behavior. 

“If the agent is taken care of, the end customer will win,” Goodmanson says. 

He says one way to relieve stress is to consolidate the information agents use. In recent years, companies have moved towards empowering agents with customer data and real-time alerts, but each one of those alerts is on its own screen. Calabrio found that the typical agent has 7 to 10 screens open at any time, which can be overwhelming. It’s difficult for agents to offer personalized, human service to customers when they are distracted by moving between numerous screens. Empowering agents with data is a good step, but consolidating that information to a single screen can significantly lower agent stress and improve the customer experience. 

Leaders have to be aware of what’s happening in the contact center to provide a great experience for agents and customers. Goodmanson follows his dad’s old saying of “Show up and pay attention, and you might learn something.” When leaders spend time in the contact center, they can better understand their people, including how to support employees and reach customers. 

Customer-centric companies listen to their customers to provide relevant, personalized service. And that happens with contact center agents empowered with streamlined technology, not stressed from outdated systems. When employees have the tools and technology they need to succeed, they can focus on the human element of customer experience and continually build customer-centricity.

*Sponsored by Calabrio

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

Mar 1, 2022

Today, companies face countless challenges, including staffing shortages, inflation, supply chain troubles and other sorts of other pandemic-related issues. 

These challenges give brands two choices: make excuses or show transparency. 

Alli Webb, founder of Drybar, is a long-time champion of what she calls radical transparency. For brands to be truly customer-centric, they have to be honest and not hide behind excuses. 

Transparency starts with empathetic customer-centric leaders. Not every customer interaction will be flawless, but leaders need to set the tone to provide an honest and transparent response to customers to make things right. 

Even if the companies can’t fix the problem, they can still make customers feel better. Webb says it requires being honest with customers about what is happening and empowering frontline employees to showcase transparency and empathy. That often requires acknowledging the struggle and clearly stating what the brand is doing to find a solution. 

Transparency has long been a hallmark of Webb’s customer-focused leadership style and often comes through in her communication. Even as CEO, Webb responded to every Yelp review until the company grew too large to do it herself. The team who took over the job received extensive training to develop empathy and transparency and build customer relationships. 

Even when Drybar had to raise its prices, Webb sent an email to customers explaining the change. She acknowledged that no one wanted to increase prices, which built an empathetic bond with customers, and provided honest reasons for the change. What could have been a negative experience for customers turned into a way to understand the brand better and see its values of providing excellent service and fair employee wages at affordable prices. 

Customers don’t expect brands to be perfect, but they do expect honesty. When leaders set the tone with transparency, they can empower their employees and create strong bonds and customer experiences.

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

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