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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: Category: Business
Sep 27, 2022

The traditional approach to banking is transactional. Customers need to make a deposit or move money, so they interact with their bank to get the job done. Once the transaction is complete, the relationship stalls until the next time customers need help.

But in today’s connected world—buoyed by the growth of fintech startups—customers are looking for brands to be strategic advisors. It’s more about building a lasting relationship and providing continual value than checking off a transactional box. And although this trend is evident in the world of finance, the principle applies to every industry.

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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

Sep 20, 2022

Every business, regardless of industry, location, or size, depends on communication to create a fantastic customer experience. You can’t build relationships, get feedback, understand customers, or share information without being a great communicator. But there’s a difference between communication that is brand-focused and communication that is customer-focused. 

Online marketing expert and author Amy Porterfield helps entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes create clear, customer-focused communication. No matter if you’re getting a business off the ground or working with a beloved brand, communicating clearly is crucial.

Sep 13, 2022

The ultimate goal of customer experience is always to make customers’ lives easier and better.

Or, in the words of Getaway Chief Experience Officer Carlos Becil, to give them everything they need and nothing they don’t.

Sep 6, 2022

The goal of customer experience is always to make customers’ lives easier and better. And a huge part of achieving that goal is solving problems for your customers and their communities.

But taking a stance and getting involved in the community to solve problems is challenging for some brands. Kofi Amoo-Gottfried, DoorDash’s first-ever CMO, says the key is to find what is authentic to your brand. You can’t speak out on everything happening in the world, but you can get involved with issues that impact your customers and business. 

Aug 30, 2022

When The Halal Guys started as a New York City food cart in 1990, technology was the furthest thing from the founders’ minds. Today, the growing and thriving restaurant is rapidly expanding, thanks largely to a customer-focused digital approach to dining.

Customers will always seek out great food, but they increasingly want a digital dining experience. Chief Development Officer Margaret Carrera says being open to evolving with new technology demands has allowed The Halal Guys to innovate and offer new digital capabilities. Technology has the power to enhance how people experience the food, from ordering to the in-restaurant dining and delivery experiences.

Aug 23, 2022

Employee experience and customer experience are clearly linked—especially on a large scale at the world’s largest employer. 

According to Donna Morris, Chief People Officer at Walmart, if employees don’t have a great experience, it’s difficult for people who don’t get a paycheck to have a great experience.

A great customer experience starts with a great employee experience, and the line between the two is increasingly blurring. After all, employees are customers of the brand. And with more than 2 million global associates, Walmart’s employees have an incredible impact on the brand and the customer experience.

Aug 16, 2022

How do you move an iconic brand towards the future?

 

That was the question Harry Overly, President and CEO of Sun-Maid, faced when he took over the company in 2017. The brand had vast stores of emotional equity, not to mention the familiarity and fondness for its iconic red raisin boxes. But it didn’t have a coordinated consumer marketing strategy and had missed an entire generation of consumers. Overly relied on data and customer feedback to bring the brand to the present.

Aug 9, 2022

Creating A Customer-Centric Utility Company

Utility companies aren’t typically known for their customer-centricity. 

But Kevin Walker, CEO of Duquesne Light in Pittsburgh, is transforming the industry by making customers a central focus.

Walker admits that the system used to be a one-way flow from facilities to customers. Until recently, most utility companies referred to their customers as “meters” or inanimate objects instead of focusing on them as humans.

But customers are more involved in their utilities than before, and an increasing number of companies like Duquesne Light are transforming to provide personalized, digital service.

 


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.

Aug 2, 2022

Customer Experience Is A Decision

People often refer to customer experience as a discipline. But it’s more than that—customer experience is a decision. No matter where you are in your career, customer experience is a decision to wake up and care about customers, influence change and create a better world.

Customer experience is constantly changing and isn’t something you can check off your list once. You have to decide to show up every day and carry the energy with you to go above and beyond. Customer experience is a decision. You have to work like you have skin in the game and decide daily to care more and do more.


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 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. 

________

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

Jun 28, 2022

It’s not every day you see a CEO dancing on TikTok. But being vulnerable and transparent is one of the reasons Ali Bonar has seen incredible growth and success with her company, Oat Haus. Consumers are moving more towards sharing real experiences and less about hiding behind the perfect filter. Customers crave connection and want to build relationships with transparent leaders—even if that means showing off their dance moves. 

Ali started sharing her journey online long before she ever considered being an entrepreneur. As she recovered from an eating disorder, she shared the ups and downs of her physical and mental health and began to grow a following. 

Ali’s journey led her to create granola butter, and Oat Haus was born. But in her new role as a founder and CEO, it was only natural for Ali to continue sharing a behind-the-scenes view of the business. As Oat Haus grows, Ali shares authentic updates along the way, including everything from dancing in her living room to an inside look at creating new products. 

Ali strongly believes that sharing helps customers feel like part of the journey. It’s refreshing to see a business that isn’t hiding behind a façade or trying to come across like it has everything together. Ali’s goal is to take customers along for the ride and make them feel so involved that no matter when they see her content, they feel like they’ve been there from day one. 

But sharing online doesn’t come easily to everyone. Ali recommends starting where you’re comfortable, even if that means photos without video to start. A good starting point is simply filming what you do throughout the day. Take people through your life as a business leader and show what life is like behind the curtains.

As your comfort level grows, Ali recommends planning content for the entire week to hit different topics, including informational videos about your company, stories about what it’s like to be a leader and fun content. A variety of content builds strong connections and resonates with a variety of customers. 

Even planning and great content don’t lead to overnight social media success. It takes time to grow a following, and a lot of how a post or video performs is based on the Instagram or TikTok algorithms. Even then, it’s hard to see the ROI of social and a direct connection between storytelling and sales. But it’s all about building the brand, showcasing the human side to the business and establishing your company and yourself as a leader who cares about people and wants to share. 

The moments you’re the most scared of sharing are often the most worthwhile things to share that resonate with your people. In the end, Ali says not to overthink it. Just be yourself and feel comfortable bringing your whole self to work and your community. You’ll naturally develop strong customer relationships as you share your authentic self and brand.

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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

Jun 21, 2022

Investing in customer experience is just that—an investment. Being able to prove the return and value of that investment is crucial for all companies, especially startups and those looking to get new customers on board. 

In the early days of CampusLogic, President and COO Chris Chumley used ROI as a tool to gain new customers and establish credibility. Prospective university clients agreed that the student experience was important, but many weren’t willing to spend money on it. By demonstrating the ROI of CX and how it would eliminate pain points and create a better experience for customers, students, and employees, Chumley could connect with potential customers and grow his business. 

Chumley says illustrating ROI starts by identifying the pain point. Where do customers face friction? What areas of the experience could be improved? Where is the frustration for customers and employees? 

The pain point for CampusLogic’s university customers was often paper-heavy financial aid systems. 

Chumley says to work side by side with customers to put a number to that pain using the customer’s metrics. The pain point could be impacting sales, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, or a host of other things. If the company can move that number, CX has value. 

For potential CampusLogic customers, Chumley often tied ROI to reducing costs and increasing financial aid completion rates—two metrics that are crucial for universities. 

Tying ROI to metrics that customers care about makes ROI more impactful. The personalized approach shows the value of CX for each unique customer and becomes more applicable and accessible. 

Chumley says the key to a successful ROI model is to involve customers. Cooperatively building ROI helps customers catch the vision of how CX can solve their pain points. Instead of simply telling customers the ROI, Chumley uses each customer’s numbers to build the solution with them and showcase the value. That means each ROI model is unique to the customer using metrics they already track and are familiar with. 

Numbers don’t lie. Building a strong ROI model for CX creates a compelling case for its value and can be crucial in getting new customers and creating customer-centric companies.

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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

Jun 14, 2022

One bad experience and the click of a mouse.

That’s all it takes for a customer or employee to go somewhere else. As life and work have become digitized in the last two years, the switching cost has decreased to almost zero. It’s never been easier for people to change their company loyalty.  

Experience management has never been more important. 

But creating those great experiences that resonate with customers and employees requires paying attention to customer feedback and insights. 

In times of uncertainty, organizations aim to consolidate the number of ways they listen to understand the cause and drivers of the experience, says Brad Anderson, President of Products & Services at Qualtrics. 

Turning customer feedback into actionable insights requires continuous listening, finding areas to improve and driving those improvements. Those insights direct organizations to the next best step for the individual and the group and can be adjusted in real time. 

Organizations need to pay attention and understand the emotions people feel as they interact with the organization, both as customers and employees. Understanding those emotions helps brands identify what is and isn’t working. 

Anderson says call centers are a gold mine of information that doesn’t even require asking for new feedback. By listening to conversations that are already happening with the help of AI, companies can understand what experiences need to be improved and the next best action for individuals and groups. 

Listening to customers helps pinpoint areas of friction within the experience that can be improved. Anderson recommends paying attention to the emotions behind the experiences. People are often willing to share good and bad experiences, but organizations and leaders need to listen to their feelings to drive improvement. 

As companies listen, experience management programs create memories of every experience a customer or employee has had. As technology advances, brands can recall those experiences in real time to provide personalized insights into the next right step for every person. 

Experience matters now more than ever. And the key to delivering great experiences to customers and employees is listening, finding areas to improve and continually driving improvements.

 

*Sponsored by Qualtrics

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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

Jun 7, 2022

Customer success and customer service may sound similar. But what’s the difference between these two important disciplines? 

Emilia M. D'Anzica, founder of GrowthMolecules and author of Pressing On as a Tech Mom, has consulted companies across numerous industries on customer success. She says one of the core differences is being proactive versus being reactive. 

Customer success is proactively engaging with customers to help them get the most out of their investment. The goal is to help customers find lasting impact and value from the product to drive loyalty and long-term contract renewal. When customers don’t see value, they’ll switch to the competition. 

Customer success requires building relationships with customers to know where they want to be a year from now and proactively helping them reach their goals. CS leaders and CSMs aim to be continual partners with their customers to help them get the most out of the product and stick with the company. And while CS is often connected with B2B software, D'Anzica points out that companies in numerous industries have robust customer success programs. 

Customer success efforts are directly linked to a business’s operations and should be part of the go-to-market strategy. Customer success impacts the entire customer journey because it helps customers reach their goals and get the most out of the product. 

On the other hand, customer service helps customers when they get stuck. This service takes many forms, including in-app support, a knowledge base or a contact center customers can contact when they need help at the moment. 

Customer service exists to answer questions and solve problems and applies to every industry and type of company. While customer success relies on relationships, customer service tends to have more one-off interactions. A customer doesn’t contact the service department unless they have an issue to resolve. But customer service is also crucial to being there when customers need it and has a strong influence on how customers view the company.  

Both customer success and customer service are focused on improving customer loyalty and helping customers find value in the product or service. Companies with a customer success team also likely have a customer service team to address different issues. 

Although their methods and focuses differ, both customer success and customer service are critical to creating the overall customer experience.

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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 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.

________

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

Apr 26, 2022

Customer experience isn’t just about serving today’s customers—it’s about creating a culture and environment that can benefit future generations. 

That’s especially true when it comes to conversation efforts.  

Creating a better world for future customers and growing generations means believing in something better and that the world can grow and change. 

Creating Programs Now to Benefit the Future 

Lisa Diekmann, President & CEO of Yellowstone Forever, is a strong believer in conservation efforts that benefit future generations. She says providing a great experience is all about honoring the history of the past while looking toward future trends and creating a place everyone can enjoy for years to come. After all, nature is the great equalizer—if we protect it. 

Like national parks and natural wonders around the world, Yellowstone saw a huge increase in visitors over the past two years. The park and its non-profit partners responded with a wide variety of programs and experiences for all types of people, from glamping and family-oriented trips to backwoods camping. But Diekmann points out that although every visitor can have their own unique experience at the park, they are all tied together by the need to conserve Yellowstone for future visitors.

Investing in Future Generations 

To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Yellowstone National Park recently began selling Inheritance Passes. The $1,500 donation secures guests an annual pass for 2022 and a pass to use in the year 2172. The goal is to improve the park now and give the pass to future generations to use in another 150 years. The campaign shows the impact current park guests and customers can have on the future. Although they won’t be around to see the park in 150 years, they can still contribute now to make sure it’s around.  

As the world’s first national park, Diekmann says Yellowstone is an example of conservation to organizations worldwide. The park and Yellowstone Forever feel responsible for rallying guests around improving the environment, even through small changes. Current conservation projects include installing low-flow faucets, replacing old light bulbs with energy-efficient models and establishing EV charging stations. On their own, these changes may seem relatively simple, but they can yield major future results. 

Conservation matters for every business, not just those tied to nature. Making small changes and rallying customers to invest in the future can create a better world for those to come.

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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

Apr 19, 2022

Among the industries known for low customer service and satisfaction is utility companies.  

For decades, utility companies have operated in heavily regulated markets where customers can’t choose their provider. As a result, customer experience and customer care are low (or non-existent) priorities for many utilities. 

But as technology changes and more companies enter the utility market, customers have more options for clean energy than ever before. And that means all utility companies have to improve their customer experience to connect with customers and provide convenient, personalized experiences. 

Cosimo Spera, Founder & CEO of Minerva CQ, says that utility companies have a mandate to save the planet. And that path to de-carbonization starts with empowering customers as they request a plan sourced from clean energy. 

A goal of saving the planet for future generations may seem lofty, but it begins with applying the right technology and involving customers. Improving utility company CX requires using technology that turns the perception from being bad at customer service to a company that eliminates customers' problems or solves them with maximum satisfaction.  

As an accomplished mathematician, Spera compares customer care to an equation where the two sides must be equal. In CX, those two sides are customers and contact center agents. Companies looking to improve their experience often invest in providing great customer-facing solutions. But that makes for an unequal equation. A well-rounded customer equation also requires empowering agents and providing them with solid solutions to serve customers. 

As companies invest in technology, they often do so at the risk of removing the human experience. Spera says the best approach is to combine the power of AI with the power of humans for collaborative intelligence. AI algorithms can streamline and speed up operations, but humans are still better at tracking emotion and building connections with customers. Bringing those two elements together in the customer experience creates a convenient and personalized experience while also building relationships and addressing emotions. 

One of the most common problems in utility is a lack of first contact resolution. Customers often have to call multiple times to report a power outage and find answers and an estimate of when the problem will be resolved. Empowering agents with more information and AI-enabled resources and scripts increases their ability to solve problems immediately. 

The utility company needs a CX overhaul. Prioritizing customers and agents and providing the right tools can transform the experience and empower customers on their path to clean energy and improving the planet.

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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.

Apr 12, 2022
Success comes from making customer experience central to your business. And that requires streamlining the experience for both customers and employees.  Steve Harding, Area Vice President of ServiceNow, says customer service starts with an effortless experience. Many companies focus on channels, but channels don’t solve customer problems, especially if they aren’t connected. Too often, customers start with one channel but are bounced around and have to try numerous outlets before they can actually get the help they need. 

But when customer service is central to a business, the entire company and its technology are oriented to put customers first. 

Harding says efficient workflows are crucial to creating effortless experiences for employees and customers. As the number of possible channels grows and customer queries can come from various sources, legacy systems often can’t keep up with increased demand. It’s difficult for agents to respond with the correct information when pulled in multiple directions and use multiple screens and programs. 

Simplified workflows allow employees to work more efficiently, which allows them to do what they want: serve customers. 

The pandemic highlighted the importance of efficient workflows, especially as contact center agents started working from home and managing more calls. Harding says companies need to offer consumer-grade experiences to their agents so that agents can run their whole day from their mobile phones if needed.  

Investing in self-service and knowledge management systems also reduces much of the burden on agents and allows customers to help themselves quickly. Harding notes that self-service is especially important in the B2B space, where customers increasingly demand the same experiences at work that they enjoy as consumers. Smart B2B companies emulate consumer experiences by providing resources and knowledge to empower their customers. Harding cites the example of a medical technology company that created a self-service portal for desktop and mobile uses that gives customers a central place to learn about products, book appointments, and more. 

Self-service changes the workflow for human agents and allows companies to provide great service while also working effectively. Putting customer experience at the center of the company requires changing processes and systems to create great experiences for customers and employees.  

At the end of the day, customer service is a human experience. Instead of focusing solely on technology, companies need to remember the humans behind the technology and use systems to support and help people instead of taking over the experience. Aligning workflows with a customer focus puts CX at the center of the business and creates smooth experiences for everyone involved.

*Sponsored by ServiceNow

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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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