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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: July, 2022
Jul 26, 2022

What’s Next For Return Logistics

Returns are a part of doing business for retailers, especially as e-commerce grows and shoppers have more options than ever before.

But that doesn’t mean the return process has to be difficult for retailers or consumers.

As e-commerce grows and transforms, so too does return logistics. David Sobie is the co-founder and vice president of Happy Returns, a leader in return logistics. Instead of the old method of customers having to print a label, package their item, and ship it back to the retailer, Happy Returns offers box-free and printer-free returns at its 5,000-plus Return Bars. Items from numerous retailers are collected for instant refunds and then shipped back to a central processing center for sorting. 

Customer experience doesn’t end when a customer makes a purchase. The post-purchase experience includes fast and straightforward returns and significantly impacts a customer’s overall perception of the brand. When returns are easy, customers tend to make more purchases and expand their relationships.

Returns affect both merchants and customers. And with the challenges of traditional returns come opportunities to improve the entire post-purchase experience.

Shoppers don’t want to have to package and send a return and wait for their refund or exchange. Merchants are faced with the expensive and logistically complex returns process. But in the end, Sobie says return logistics is really about giving shoppers the best possible experience to increase lifetime value and loyalty.

Returns aren’t going away, and the future of return logistics helps merchants find the most cost-effective way for shoppers to return their items. But returns can be incredibly expensive for retailers. Shoppers expect returns to be free, which means that merchants cover the cost. However, Sobie says that an increasing number of merchants are moving towards creating options for returns. There should always be a free option for returns, and Sobie suggests subsidizing the least expensive option for retailers.

The future of return logistics includes innovative technology and sustainability. Instead of sending each package individually, companies can combine items to lower the return shipping cost and environmental impacts. The future also requires merchants to think outside the box, such as by offering return kiosks at other stores and providing instant refunds.

As long as there’s e-commerce, there will be returns. Brands that embrace the post-purchase customer experience and innovate return logistics open the door to cost savings and customer loyalty.

 

The data is right in front of you. Leveraging the power of information can take your marketing efforts from a shot in the dark to a home run. 

 


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.

Jul 19, 2022

Do your marketing efforts feel like a shot in the dark? It doesn’t have to be that way. 

With the power of today’s abundance of data, brands can use a measured and data-driven approach to build an agile and compelling customer experience.  

According to Tiffany Perkins-Munn, Head of Data and Analytics at J.P. Morgan Chase, this isn’t the old way of marketing. Data-driven marketing starts with collaboration and cohesion between all areas of the company, including marketing, sales, and operations. Combining these capabilities through the lens of innovation ensures companies deliver the best experiences to their customers. 

Data-driven marketing isn’t just about acquiring new customers but also expanding the relationship with existing customers. For both groups, data creates a holistic view of customer expectations and how they want to engage with the brand, which helps move towards a personalized and relevant customer experience.

In today’s world, brands have access to an incredible amount of data. The question is how to manage and aggregate that data to understand customers’ needs better and get ahead with proactive offers.   

But with so much data, it’s easy for brands to get overwhelmed. Perkins-Munn says to start small. Basic questions, such as identifying your customers, their needs, and their behaviors, can direct companies towards the most relevant data and provide a complete view of their customers. 

With that basic level of understanding, companies can then create automated processes. This streamlined, data-driven decision-making allows marketers to understand customers in a meaningful way and offer products that are personalized to their needs. To get there, start with the data and think through the customer data to make the journey more impactful and meaningful. Perkins-Munn leads her team in a connected customer experience by capturing all interactions along the customer journey, including every contact with an agent, how it was resolved, and what impact it has on the overall experience. Those touchpoints allow marketers to adapt and improve so that the experience is constantly being refined to best connect with customers.  

If data-driven marketing seems too difficult, start small. Pick a group of customers and aim to understand who they are. What data do you need to understand who they are and how you can deliver a better experience to them? Then talk to the people who own that data so you can stitch together helpful information. Eventually, you’ll be able to break down silos, understand customers, and distill the most critical data to streamline and automate marketing. 

Data-driven marketing is a process that requires continual evaluation. Start small and upgrade to more sophisticated insights and programs with time.

The data is right in front of you. Leveraging the power of information can take your marketing efforts from a shot in the dark to a home run. 

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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

Jul 12, 2022

When most people think of customer service artificial intelligence, they think of chatbots. 

But the power and potential of AI in customer service extend far beyond chatbots, which Forethought CEO Deon Nicholas says tend to be very artificial and not very intelligent. 

Truly leveraging the power of AI allows brands to create super-human customer service. 

Reaching that level requires using human-centered AI that augments human employees and contact center agents instead of replacing them. Nicholas compares the new technology to financial spreadsheets. Years ago, people thought spreadsheets would put accountants out of a job. But it’s now the most important tool in finance to get work done. AI in customer service has the same potential. 

In our data-driven world, a company’s contact center is really its intelligence center. AI can connect data more efficiently than humans, leading to stronger insights. An integrated AI and human system listens to customer feedback and questions to help companies know what products to build and refine. This ultimately helps renew and retain customers instead of having to find new ones. 

Instead of information being siloed in various departments or only in the minds of individual agents, AI allows for collaboration and data sharing, which creates a more unified and seamless customer experience. By bringing employees to the problems, AI allows humans to focus on the human areas of the business that require empathy and understanding.   

In a human-centric AI contact center, AI can sort through customer calls and chats to resolve their information faster while providing employees with relevant information and giving them more time to spend on complicated issues. 

Insights from an AI-powered contact center benefit the entire organization, from helping the Product and Development teams know what issues to fix to showing the Marketing department how to best connect with customers. Nicholas firmly believes that customer service should never be an afterthought but is central to creating a scalable and human-centered organization. 

Businesses today have to do a lot more with less. And that includes retaining customers and providing amazing experiences. At the core of a solid customer experience strategy is customer service and creating super-human service with the help of AI.

 

*Sponsored by Forethought

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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

Jul 5, 2022

The B2B buyer journey is changing, and companies that can match changing demands with technology, personalization and flexibility will succeed. 

Plenty of research shows that B2B buyers get 50%-60% down the buying journey before they engage with a salesperson. But Mike Marcellin, Chief Marketing Officer at Juniper Networks, says that the buying journey isn’t linear. Buyers don’t connect with a company as soon as they hit a certain point in the journey. 

Throughout the buying process, buyers get information online and from peers, analysts and other sources. Companies can no longer control the buyer journey. Instead, they need to be ready to engage with the right information through the right channels when the buyer is ready. A customer might reach out early for preliminary research or wait until they are ready to purchase to connect with the brand.  

For Juniper, the new approach looks like transforming the online experience to provide buyers with a variety of content types, such as video or thought leadership sheets depending on where they are in the journey. 

The new buyer journey doesn’t happen exclusively online or in person, but as buyers move back and forth between researching and communicating online and talking with salespeople offline. A seamless journey requires knowing the whole picture of the customer’s experience to keep them moving forward instead of being repetitive or irrelevant as they transition between channels. 

Marcellin says the journey has to be flexible with how customers want to engage with the company at any moment. He says the blended buyer journey relies on two key elements:

  1. Data. Companies today have access to incredible amounts of data, but that data is worthless if you can’t harness it. A blended buyer journey requires getting grounded in data to truly understand buyers and their changing needs.
  2. MarTech. The tech stack a company uses can make or break the buyer journey. Companies must find the tools that work to get a full view of their customers, especially as buyers change direction and move between channels. 

Transforming the B2B buyer journey to create a blended approach means giving up control and letting customers guide their experience. But to be successful, B2B companies must understand their customers deeply and provide the right resources so buyers have options and can connect with the brand seamlessly at any time for a personalized experience.

The changing B2B buyer journey creates amazing opportunities for companies to connect with buyers like never before. But to be ready, companies must invest in the resources and mindset to put customers first. 

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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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