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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: May, 2022
May 31, 2022

Many consumers want to follow a healthy diet, but do they really know what they’re consuming?

That question was the driving force behind Spindrift, a sparkling beverage focused on ingredient simplicity and transparency.

For founder Bill Creelman, the idea was simple: people should know what they’re drinking. That customer-first mindset is at the core of Spindrift, from the products that are created to the messages that are shared.

Here are three ways Bill Creelman practices customer-centric leadership:

1 . He leverages a core group of passionate customers.

When Creelman first started Spindrift, he spent two years running the business from his house and traveling the country talking to customers about drinks. He realized there was a passionate group of people who loved sparkling beverages but weren’t happy with the current options. 

That group turned into Spindrift’s “Drifter” community, which now has more than 800,000 members and serves as a powerful sounding board for the company. Creelman leads the charge to stay in contact with these customers, listen to their ideas and feedback and even have them test new flavors. He set the stage for embracing one-on-one customer relationships and prioritizing listening to each individual. 

2 . He unites employees around the mission of the brand.

Taking on established beverage companies is a tall order. But Creelman unites his 100-plus passionate employees around the mission of using real ingredients and innovating the beverage industry. Every employee sees the value of their work to increase transparency and create a great product. Creelman says the team doesn’t think of what they do as selling sparkling water but about converting people to a better alternative. 

That mission to be transparent and use real ingredients acts as a guiding force for employees and keeps them focused on customers in everything they do. 

3 . He builds trust and transparency.

Creelman’s conversations with customers and employees revealed the importance of trust. Customers want to trust a brand and know what they are drinking, and employees want to trust the company they are working for. Creelman built Spindrift to deliver in both of those areas with transparency. Spindrift puts all of its ingredients right on the front of its cans—no jargon or buzzwords, just the truth about what is in each product. 

Creelman says it feels distrustful to build relationships with customers without really telling them what’s in the product. Being open and honest with customers shows employees the importance of authenticity and encourages them to be their true selves at work as they interact with customers.

Bill Creelman sets the tone for CX and has grown Spindrift into a customer-centric company that delivers great products and strong relationships.

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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

May 24, 2022

Just like every company is unique, so are its customers. 

Lifestyle and tech company Skullcandy’s sweet spot is young adventurers who love great music and extreme activities like skating and snowboarding.

With that target market, a run-of-the-mill marketing approach won’t land.

Skullcandy has created an impressive (and growing) company with its outstanding products and customer-focused marketing strategy. CMO Jessica Klodnicki involves the entire company in creating engaging content that resonates with its unique customer base. 

Here are three lessons for all companies: 

Create Cross-Departmental Teams

A customer-focused marketing strategy involves the entire company. Klodnicki says that marketers have long relied on algorithms to segment their messages. But that approach can't keep up with customers' rapidly evolving demands.  

Instead, Skullcandy takes an all-hands-on-deck approach to put customers first. The company Klodnicki brings together representatives from departments including marketing, product, R&D, social and more to report on their metrics in a regular digital health meeting. By collaborating and sharing information, the team can see patterns and trends to adjust their strategies in real time.  

The cross-departmental digital health team helps Skullcandy address issues quickly to stay relevant while also breaking down silos to ensure the entire company is focused on customers.   

Remind Employees About Customer Focus

A customer-centric culture doesn't do any good if employees don't remember it. At Skullcandy, every meeting starts by talking about the company's customer-focused mission and values. Those values are repeated and considered early in the decision-making process and become central to every product, partnership and campaign. 

Klodnicki says that every Skullcandy employee, no matter their seniority or department, knows the primary consumer and the key targets. Putting those customers front of mind for every decision keeps the entire company customer-focused. 

Listen to Customers

Klodnicki admits that Skullcandy used to make many decisions based on gut feel and instinct instead of leveraging data. But connecting with customers and growing the brand requires a data analytics team that connects the company's culture to data. Every department in the company is trained to read customer data and make decisions accordingly. Empowering employees to understand customers ensures feedback doesn't hit a wall but is instead integrated into the company's products. 

One example of listening to customers comes in Skullcandy's sustainability focus. While talking to customers, the company realized how much they care about giving back. So Skullcandy is making a huge environmental push towards recycled packaging, eliminating e-waste and designing sustainable products. 

Effective marketing requires a true customer focus. Skullcandy shows that the best customer-centric marketing approach involves the entire company creating products and campaigns that resonate with customers.

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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

May 17, 2022

Digital transformation is critical for all businesses today—but it isn’t something brands need to take on alone. 

Especially in the B2B world, involving customers in the transformation and making them valuable partners can lead to long-term success for the company, its B2B clients and their end-user customers.

Transformation Requires Relationships

Didem Cataloglu, President & CEO of DIREXYON Technologies, says companies must realize that customer experience is a journey and that many companies, especially in the utilities and energy industries that DIREXYON serves, are facing lots of changes. 

In a digital transformation, Cataloglu says that technology is just 20% of the solution. The other 80% is about the people. When going through a digital transformation, she recommends looking at it from the perspective of humans and how it impacts and changes their work and processes. Instead of immediately jumping to the newest or fastest new technology, consider the solutions from a human point of view.

As a technology company, DIREXYON provides technology. But Cataloglu says success comes from bridging the gap between technology and people. The brand’s main priority is connecting with customers, understanding their business needs and bringing them the best technology solution.

Success Comes From Providing Value

Involving customers in a digital transformation requires including them in conversations early on. The goal is to understand how the technology will improve their lives, but that’s only possible when companies know their customers and understand their processes and values. Companies can then advise customers on what’s coming and prepare them for the transition. Each journey and transformation is different, but becoming a trusted partner to customers means guiding them through the process and providing individual results. 

Cataloglu says the ultimate goal of a digital transformation is to create value for customers. And that value will change based on the individual needs of each customer and their end-users. Set goals at the beginning of how they will reach that value and check in with that goal throughout the process. Providing value should be the guiding force throughout the entire transformation.  

Digital transformation isn’t a one-time thing. It requires continual adoption and evolution, which means companies and their B2B customers must have dynamic relationships to progress together continually.

Cataloglu’s best advice is to get closer to customers and listen to them. Use those insights in your strategic planning to create personalized digital solutions. Transformation and providing value to customers isn’t easy, but it gets easier with technology.

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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

May 10, 2022

We interact with money all day long—every time we pay for things, get a paycheck, check our bank balance or get a bill.

How do those interactions make you feel? 

For most people, dealing with money brings fear, anxiety and the thought that there will never be enough. 

But Amanda Frances, money guru and best-selling author of Rich as F*ck, says the first step to gaining financial freedom is to get over the idea that we’ll always be playing catchup. When we become aware of how we want to feel about money, we can bring those feelings and that mindset to every interaction. 

Personal wealth is possible, especially with the right mindset and actions to back it up. Frances knows it’s true because she built her multi-million-dollar brand from scratch and now teaches clients around the world the same principles with great success. 

Here are three ways to achieve personal wealth and financial freedom: 

1 . Know it’s possible. The foundation of achieving personal wealth is knowing that it’s possible. Frances says that if she didn’t believe success was possible, she wouldn’t have been able to make any of the moves that made her and her business what it is today. Without knowing that financial freedom is possible, people are more likely to settle instead of pushing themselves and pursuing their goals. But Frances is also clear that you can’t sit around thinking good thoughts and expect to get wealthy. Use the mindset that it’s possible to guide your actions and support your path to personal wealth.

2 . Believe you’re worthy and show up every day. Frances says the best way to get a raise and start earning more money is to believe you’re worthy of it and show up every day with that attitude. Knowing that you’re worthy of personal wealth and being compensated well for your work comes through in everything you do—the projects you take on, your attitude towards your boss and co-workers and the effort you put in. You can’t walk around thinking you’re inferior and then wonder why you’re treated like you’re inferior and aren’t paid well. That’s especially true for women, who often have to fight harder to be paid well. Frances says the attitude we have at our jobs is what we expect in our lives. When people change how they view their job and believe they are worthy of earning more, they show up differently. And that ultimately leads to them earning more money and gaining financial freedom.

3 . Expect to be the exception. Women often have to walk the line between coming across as too bold or being too timid. But Frances believes she can be an exception to the rule and that it doesn’t have to be that way for her. The same principle applies in everything from running a business to interacting with customers and managing your money. Don’t assume you’re going to have a negative situation because that’s how it’s always been for other people. Frances gave the example of her boyfriend, who owns a construction company. Late payments and shady deals are the norm, but she taught him to be the exception. Just because it’s the industry standard doesn’t mean it has to be your situation. Take control and do things on your terms to be the exception to the rule.

 Financial freedom starts with the right mindset. Believing it’s possible can put you on the path to personal wealth.

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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

May 3, 2022

Since its creation, Lyft has been disruptive. 

It initially set out to eliminate the friction of getting a taxi. But over time, Lyft has grown into a transportation powerhouse. One reason for its success is its total focus on customers. 

When faced with the changes and challenges of the pandemic, Lyft took the opportunity to improve its digital services and undergo a digital transformation. 

The result is a frictionless experience that continues to disrupt the industry and shine as an example for all customer-focused digital brands. 

Customer-Centric Mindset

VP of Customer Experience Eric Burdullis says being a customer-centric organization means paying attention to the things that cause problems for your customers. Contact center agents have valuable insights to solve and prevent issues. At Lyft, the technology team regularly shadows customer service to see things from the customers’ perspective. Many employees even drive for Lyft to understand what works with the product and what doesn’t. 

Burdullis says that brands that aren't paying attention to their customers' problems are missing a big chunk of business. 

Pandemic Shift

Like many businesses, Lyft lost almost all its business overnight when the pandemic hit. And as people eventually started leaving home more, customers began contacting Lyft at higher rates about things that had never been issues before, including flexibility and health and safety inside cars. 

With a new customer mindset and a new world for operating, Burdullis led his cross-functional team to re-think all customer entry points from the ground up through a comprehensive digital transformation. The original goal was to eliminate 90% of contacts while improving NPS. 

The team talked to frontline agents and managers about the tasks they did every day that they didn’t feel were adding value to customers—things like refunding cancellation fees or providing the repetitive quick responses. That list grew to include every problem a customer may face. 

From those thousands of ideas, the team prioritized the customer issues and questions into two groups: those that could move to the app and those that could be proactively delivered.  

Lyft’s previous contact form came from the website, but the digital transformation moved almost everything to the app to create easy access points. 

Instead of waiting for customers to contact the company, Lyft shifted to proactively reaching out to customers who may have a specific issue or providing self-service options to answer questions and resolve problems quickly. The transition required strong data analysis efforts to track the entire customer journey.  

Lasting Transformation

Coming out of the pandemic, Burdullis says Lyft offers better service and in-app connected service to chat and human agents. Instead of all customers having to use the old web help form to connect to a human agent, Lyft is thoughtful about every piece of the journey and intentionally designs with customers in mind. 

Although Lyft didn’t get to its goal of eliminating 90% of contacts, Burdullis considers 65% an incredible win. The digital transformation also improved Lyft’s customer effort score by double, making it twice as easy for customers to get resolution. 

Lyft’s digital transformation is continually evolving, just as customers continue to change and adapt. With a goal to make the experience as easy as possible for customers and a mindset that puts customers at the center of every decision, Lyft sets the foundation for long-term customer success.  

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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

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