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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
Nov 23, 2021

Every day, we text to communicate and quickly share news and questions with our family and friends. 

Why can’t contacting a brand be that simple? 

That’s the question that caused Mike Myer to create the digital CX company Quiq. As CEO, Myer has a unique view of the future of conversational AI and its power to transform customer experience.

Conversational AI allows customers to chat with human agents or bots through text on a variety of channels and quickly and conveniently get the information they need.  

One channel Quiq’s customers have seen strong success is through Facebook Messenger. Most customers are already using the platform, which makes it convenient for them to also use it to connect with brands. Through Messenger, customers and agents or bots can send images, create a menu of choices and even provide a carousel of options for quick replies. Myer says Messenger provides rich interactions that can greatly improve a customer’s experience with a brand. It’s a huge improvement over calling a contact center on the phone, which has dominated the industry for decades. 

Conversational AI can be tailored to meet the needs of nearly any type of customer and is helpful with reducing churn, increasing return on ad spend and greatly increasing efficiency. Instead of contact center agents talking to customers individually on the phone, companies can do twice the customer volume with only 25% more agents. Quiq customers have also seen a 40x return on ad spend through Facebook Messenger. In most cases, adopting conversational AI actually leads to a decrease in budget, but it requires the courage to reallocate funds away from traditional contact centers to new technology and bots.

Myer says conversational AI is still on the left side of the bell curve of adoption. But as more companies innovate with conversational AI through Messenger and texting and see the financial and service improvements, the practice will continue to grow. 

Conversational AI is growing, and this is just the beginning. Myer predicts that in three to five years, the majority of customer interactions with large brands won’t be over the phone but will instead be through texting. Brands that take the leap of faith and get on the conversational AI train now are creating the next generation of customer engagement and shaping the future of CX.

*This episode is sponsored by Quiq.

Quiq is a leading conversational AI platform that drives two-way conversations to deliver a better experience for people and brands. Quiq enables enterprises to connect and engage in two-way conversations with their customers across varied messaging channels — including Facebook Messenger — in more than 170 languages. Quiq is the future of business-to-consumer messaging; it’s the wingman every brand and CX’er needs.

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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.

Nov 16, 2021

Customer expectations have changed over the past 18 months of a pandemic, leaving brands with the challenge of pivoting and adapting not only to a new way of living and working but also to a new way of interacting with and serving customers. 

Scott Finlow, CMO of PepsiCo Foodservice, has noticed two major trends during the pandemic. First is that people are looking forward to re-entering the world and having meaningful connections. As they do so, they want to try new products and have new experiences. Second, people are looking for more purpose in their lives and in their brand choices. That manifests in a variety of ways, including being more aware of the impact of their decisions on the environment and their health and wellbeing. 

But Finlow says understanding and recognizing those changes is only the first step. Companies need to understand where customer needs are heading so they can focus on re-inventing a better normal. It’s not about going back to how things were but instead moving forward and creating a better future. 

Perhaps nowhere is that more important than in the B2B world, where many companies are adjusting to new ways of doing business. Throughout the pandemic, PepsiCo has focused on forming partnerships to help support its restaurant customers as they pivot. The company is also investing heavily in digital and building out services to help its customers along their own digital journeys. 

As customer expectations change, innovation is crucial. B2B companies need to find new ways to meet customer needs and break out of how things have been done in the past. With an increased focus on health and safety, PepsiCo set out to create contactless fountain drink equipment. Finlow says it required the work of multiple departments to deliver on the new hygiene standard. But it doesn’t stop there—the company is also piloting a drink machine in Europe that allows customers to gesture and pour the drink of their choice. Continual innovation provides B2B customers with the tools they need to best serve their customers.  

Customer experience has always required continual change and evolution, but especially in a post-COVID world. B2B companies that stay in touch with their customers to understand their new needs and expectations, find ways to support their journey and continually innovate will lead the way towards the future.   

 

*This episode is sponsored by Quiq.

Quiq is a leading conversational AI platform that drives two-way conversations to deliver a better experience for people and brands. Quiq enables enterprises to connect and engage in two-way conversations with their customers across varied messaging channels — including Facebook Messenger — in more than 170 languages. Quiq is the future of business-to-consumer messaging; it’s the wingman every brand and CX’er needs.

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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.

Nov 9, 2021

The last nearly two years have been dominated by short-term thinking. With the pandemic and world changing so rapidly, most companies had to abandon long-term plans to focus on what’s right ahead of them. In our personal lives, most of us are more focused on getting through the day than working towards our long-term plans. 

Short-term thinking isn’t bad, but according to Dorie Clark, author of The Long Game, we can’t live our whole lives in emergency mode. When individuals and companies are too focused on short-term thinking, we miss the chance to proactively direct our strategy and outcomes. Long-term thinking helps us take back control and get us where we want to go. 

As the pandemic slowly subsides in many places, long-term thinking is making a comeback. But the adjustment from focusing only on the here and now to the bigger picture can be jarring. 

Clark suggests three steps to becoming a long-term thinker:

  1. Create white space. You have to have mental space to be able to think long term. It is almost impossible to engage in strategic thinking if you are mentally maxed out or overwhelmed.
  2. Focus on the right things. Get clear about what your priorities should be. Each person needs to focus on the right things for themselves.
  3. Keep the faith. Nearly every long-term goal faces setbacks and challenges along the way. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up, but Clark says it’s crucial to understand where you are in the process and persevere. 

Thinking long term can get us out of the rut of monotony and searching for daily balance to instead see things from a different perspective. Clark calls it thinking in waves or the idea that we don’t need to have balance every day or every week as long as we have balance eventually. There are seasons and phases to life, and long-term thinking allows us to recognize those phases and shift so that we continually improve and work towards our goals. 

The pandemic has changed how we think. But even as we adjust to new ways of doing things, the ability to embrace long-term thinking and proactively take control of our lives and careers can lead to tremendous growth.

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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.

Nov 2, 2021

To say the real estate market in 2021 is a wild ride would be an understatement. 

Anyone who has looked at buying or selling a home recently can understand the roller coaster of emotions in this crazy climate. 

But the ups and downs of real estate, especially in the current fast-moving state, require a special focus on relationships and customer experience. 

According to Deanna Haas, SVP of customer experience at SOLD.com, one of the biggest challenges for consumers navigating the real estate world is the abundance of options. Aside from the traditional ways of buying and selling homes, numerous alternatives are popping up that can also be great options. The challenge for people is to discover what option best meets their needs. 

Haas says that above anything else, modern real estate customers are looking for education and an unbiased perspective. Real estate is emotional. And while the numbers are important, Haas says consumers need more than just the data—there must also be a human side to the transaction. 

No matter how people choose to buy or sell their home, they want someone who is as invested in the experience as they are. With properties moving so quickly, it can be easy for sales to become routine for agents and companies. But each sale is unique for its buyers and sellers, who want their real estate professionals to take time to help them understand their options and be invested in the success of the transaction. Consumers want their feelings about real estate—both their fears and excitement—to be heard and acknowledged. 

Personalization is crucial in customer experiences across all industries, and real estate is no different. Consumers want to have a personalized experience, especially as they make such a large and important purchase.  

Ultimately, Haas says consumers are looking for individual and memorable real estate experiences where they are valued and understood. Real estate is emotional and should be treated as more than black and white. 

And the need to deliver a strong experience will only increase--as the real estate industry continues to shift and evolve, understanding modern customers will become even more important.

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here.

Oct 26, 2021

The future of marketing is artificial intelligence. 

But marketers are often faced with technical jargon and code instead of tactical ways to improve their strategies. Author and marketing professor Raj Venkatesan says marketers don’t have to know how to code, but they do need to understand the concepts of AI to build smart strategies and deliver superior customer experiences. 

In his new book, The AI Marketing Canvas, Venkatesan breaks it down to a five-stage road map of how to implement AI in marketing. Before embarking on that roadmap, marketers need to understand the goal of AI in marketing, which is to personalize customer engagement. With that mindset and understanding, marketers can embark on the five-stage AI journey: 

  1. Create a foundation of data. Personalizing customer engagement and delivering great experiences starts by building the algorithms needed to make predictions about consumers.
  2. Experiment. Choose one customer engagement issue, such as customer acquisition or retention, and test what gains you can obtain through AI personalization. Venkatesan recommends running several small experiments to see which area delivers the strongest results for your company because each organization will see different impacts in different areas.
  3. Expand. Use that experiment as a launchpad to look at adjacent data. Take success in one area of customer engagement and expand AI into neighboring areas to grow in all aspects of customer engagement.
  4. Transform. As you expand your AI efforts to all areas of customer engagement, your entire customer experience will be transformed through AI.
  5. Monetize. Create a platform and develop a new revenue source. Companies like Starbucks are creating monetized versions of their AI marketing strategies and programs to help competitors. Sharing a platform speeds the adoption of AI across industries and can create lucrative revenue streams. 

As they go through these five stages, modern marketers need to be able to work with different functions in the organization and be the voice of the customer to bring together AI and marketing and deliver a great customer experience. 

Venkatesan says the fundamentals of marketing and customer experience haven’t changed—what has changed is the ability to serve customers well at scale. AI is an opportunity to serve customers better. When marketers embark on these five steps, they can lead their organizations and their customers to better experiences through AI.  

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here.

Oct 19, 2021

Like nearly everything else in the world, leadership has changed dramatically over the last 18 months. Leaders are now faced with a new set of priorities and challenges as they lead their organizations in a rapidly changing world and lead teams and customers who are facing struggles and changes of their own. 

Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers and Impact Players, says that leaders who want to lead through uncertainty have to lead differently. 

Too often, leaders who are trying to do the right thing slip into the role of having to have all the answers. But today’s leaders can’t possibly have all the answers, especially as they move through uncharted territory. Instead, leaders need everyone’s intelligence and have to use their knowledge and expertise in a way that allows everyone to contribute. 

Wiseman compares it to running special forces—the leader doesn’t know everything or run the entire mission, but instead coordinates intel from their various employees and celebrates success. Often, that comes from asking questions and encouraging learning instead of always supplying an answer or opinion. 

Wiseman also says that in these challenging times, leaders need to extend more grace and understanding to employees and customers than ever before. Many people are facing invisible challenges. That strain can be especially difficult on customer service and contact center employees who are working hard to help customers but can’t deliver what they’ve been able to deliver in the past. That exhaustion can lead to a feeling of languishing. 

Wiseman’s research has shown that employees don’t burn out because of having a heavy workload—they burn out by not having an impact. Leaders can’t take their foot off the accelerator and have employees not do the hard stuff and expect it to fix the problem. Leaders need to give employees as much control as they can handle and soften the edges. The greatest challenge for leaders in the current climate is knowing where to put their foot on the accelerator and where to take it off. 

Customer- and employee-focused leaders are multipliers who expect the best for their people, listen to their feedback and ideas and guide them through challenges. But they also extend grace and facilitate teamwork to help people contribute at their true capability. 

Leadership is changing, but employees and customers will always be central to 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.  Join the waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here.

Oct 12, 2021

Most people don’t associate bridal stores with loyalty programs. 

Especially in the middle of a global pandemic when most weddings were postponed or downsized. 

But the David’s Bridal loyalty program Diamond, launched in December 2020, is defying the odds and has already paid dividends with huge amounts of loyal and satisfied customers. 

The program was created as part of David’s Bridal’s transformation to return customers to the center of the experience. CEO Jim Marcum said the company had lost its way by not focusing on what brides needed to make their wedding planning experiences amazing. 

Because the wedding industry is centered around a singular event, the David’s Bridal loyalty program isn’t like most retailers’ loyalty programs. Marcum calls it a crowd-sourcing program that rewards brides for every David’s Bridal purchase for their wedding, not just the wedding dress. Anything anyone spends for the wedding, including bridesmaids’ dresses, accessories and the mother of the bride's dress, earns loyalty credit for the bride. 

In the first nine months, the loyalty program brought in 700,000 members, an amazing 89% of whom have already transacted. KPIs across the board are staggering—loyalty program members spend more than non-members and have higher return rates. 

Marcum said the amazing success is because the program is centered on brides and looks way beyond the singular purchase of a wedding dress. Brides are embracing the program because it is unique and meets their wedding planning needs. The rewards are also incredibly motivating for brides, with the top prize being a free honeymoon. So far, David’s Bridal has given away 41 free honeymoons to its most loyal customers. 

The loyalty program also helps David’s Bridal improve its overall customer experience by helping the company serve and understand brides at every step of their journey. Employees can see where a bride is in the process, like if she has purchased a wedding dress and gotten alterations, and then can work with the rest of the bridal party to get them outfitted with everything they need. Marcum says the program has become an infectious part of the service journey and a significant portion of the business overnight because customers and employees see the value in it. 

David’s Bridal’s loyalty program proves that there is always a market for a unique experience that meets customer needs. Even in the middle of a global pandemic, the loyalty program filled a gap and improved the entire experience, which has led to an outpouring of loyal 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.  Join the waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here.

Oct 5, 2021
Undergoing a digital transformation is challenging enough, let alone in the wedding industry during a global pandemic.  When Jim Marcum became CEO of David’s Bridal in 2019, he was tasked with turning around the 70-year-old company and creating innovative and personal experiences for modern brides. Much of that change has come in the form of a continued digital transformation. 

Marcum started by looking for friction points and missed opportunities by meeting with teams throughout the company and paying close attention to customer feedback. 

From there, David’s Bridal created a customer-first digital strategy that specifically addressed the friction points. The previous strategy had created different policies and experiences depending on if customers shopped online or in store, but the comprehensive new strategy created a seamless experience across all channels that put customers in the middle of every decision. 

Changing how customers viewed the company also required personal service and a shift in the employee culture and mindset. Marcum and his team dove into thousands of online customer reviews to respond to every one- or two-star review across various platforms by reaching out to customers and listening to their feedback to get to the root of the problems. Constantly communicating with customers changed the company culture. Marcum believes that if you aren’t connecting to the customer, you are failing. The practice of quickly responding to low reviews permeates the company today as leaders and managers quickly remediate customer issues and concerns. Now, more than two years later, the company consistently averages 4.7 star reviews. 

David’s Bridal’s digital transformation also changed how the company views its customer journey. By the time a customer enters David’s Bridal to try on and purchase her wedding dress, she has likely spent lots of time online looking for inspiration and planning her dream wedding. To become a larger part of the entire experience, David’s Bridal transitioned from being there when a bride wants to buy her dress to helping her see her wedding vision from the start. The company’s new array of digital wedding planning tools includes apps with checklists and digital vision boards brides can create and share with family and friends, as well as AI-enabled interactive chat and AR to bring wedding dresses to life at home. 

Now, it’s not just about the dress, but the entire event. When a customer comes into the store to buy her dress, she has already been working with David’s Bridal, which helps consultants know what she is looking for and create a better and more personalized experience. Marcum says the new technology has been crucial as the company helps brides navigate wedding changes and delays due to COVID.  

David’s Bridal shows how digital transformation can modernize a decades-old business and help find new ways to connect with and serve 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.  Join the waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here.

 

Sep 28, 2021
Banking used to be a completely people-oriented business. Customers chose the bank that was closest to their neighborhood and went inside to interact with bankers for every transaction and question they had. 

But now, what customers look for in a bank and how they interact with their money is changing. Customers now bank more digitally and want convenient technology-driven solutions. According to Beth Johnson, CXO of Citizens Bank, delivering a strong banking experience is now about tapping into customer needs holistically by leveraging technology, data and in-person interactions. 

The goal of modern financial institutions is to drive change while still keeping the customer front and center. 

Johnson says the pandemic accelerated the digital path Citizens was already well on by three to five years. Banking was already evolving, but customer preferences have changed drastically over the last 18 months. Understanding those changes and adapting the experience strategy is crucial to banks’ success, especially in these three areas: 

  1. Complex digital interactions. Over the last 18 months, the way customers are willing to interact with banks digitally has gotten more complex. Customers are now more willing to have emotional and complex conversations through digital channels, where in the past they were only willing to discuss things like their financial futures in person. Johnson says the change marks a big switch for the industry and has forced banks like Citizens to expand their digital offerings to make it easier for customers to conveniently have those complex conversations.
  2. AI capability. The ability of AI to impact business is changing rapidly, especially with developments in personalization, cybersecurity and natural language processing. In banking, the biggest innovations are in real-time AI capabilities. Customers have gotten used to instant service in other industries and now want it in banking. Johnson says one of the biggest use cases of these capabilities is in real-time payments to move money seamlessly and instantly.
  3. Role of brands. Just three years ago, the vast majority of customers chose a bank because it had a convenient physical location. Today, the biggest factor in choosing a bank is brand perception for its products, community involvement and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Banks need to develop brands that do more than just offer convenient locations and put their customers and communities first.  

Going forward, banks won’t compete on products because products are too easy to copy. Instead, they will compete on their ability to tap into the rational and emotional sides of money to deliver innovative and convenient solutions to customers. 

Banks must stay on top of changing customer preferences to deliver strong experiences in the ways that matter most.

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here

Sep 21, 2021

When it comes to marketing, word of mouth is considered the Holy Grail. There’s nothing better for companies than customers sharing experiences and talking with family and friends. 

And that often comes from customer experience efforts, not traditional marketing campaigns. Dan Gingiss, author of The Experience Maker and Winning at Social Customer Care, says that CX and marketing are coming closer and closer. In many ways, CX is one of the most powerful tools for marketing. A great customer experience strategy is the best way to get people talking about a brand. 

The key is to create remarkable experiences that customers want to share. Gingiss calls it the WISER method: Witty, immersive, shareable, extraordinary, responsive. 

Great experiences don’t have to use all of the WISER elements, but the letters build on each other so that the best experiences use all of them. Including more elements of the WISER framework creates a stronger connection with customers that they will remember and want to share. 

The first element of the WISER method is what all remarkable experiences have in common--they are witty. Gingiss clarifies that being witty doesn’t mean being hysterical, but rather being clever and creative. Customers will never share or talk about an experience they think is boring. 

Being witty and creating remarkable experiences requires creativity. These days, everything is a potential experience--from a product’s packaging and online presence to its physical display in a store. Something as simple as a witty catchphrase on a package creates a memorable experience that customers want to talk about and share. 

With so many competing voices, customers are most likely to trust people they know. Brands that can create memorable experiences and get customers talking and sharing build unique connections that can transform into loyal customers and growth opportunities.

To create remarkable experiences, think WISER and look for ways to turn everything into an 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.  Join the waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here

Sep 14, 2021

It’s been a long 18 months of pandemic life, and customers are feeling the stress and fatigue of constant uncertainty and chaos. They are yearning for a break and a chance to feel calm and normal. 

But when they try to escape with a night out or a trip, they’re met with disappointing service.  

Companies have to stop using COVID as an excuse for bad service. That’s especially true in industries like hospitality, air travel and restaurants. Yes, there are issues with staffing and turnover, but brands need to figure it out so they can deliver a strong experience. 

Customers are tired and burnt out after 18 months of pandemic living. They are hungry to do things they haven’t done in more than a year, and experience matters now more than ever.  

This is an incredible opportunity for brands to show up for their customers and provide an extra level of ease and personalization. But instead, too many companies let their service slip with COVID and haven’t made any effort to pivot and improve. 

We’ve gotten lost during COVID—both as individuals and as brands. But now is the time to rediscover ourselves and create a sense of purpose. When brands are confident and have a strong culture, they hold themselves to a higher level and rise to the occasion. When everyone else is tired and only doing the bare minimum, it’s the people and brands who believe in themselves and their purpose that run the extra mile for the customers who are counting on them. 

Brands that rise to the occasion now to meet their customers where they are and surpass their expectations will be remembered after the pandemic is over. They are the brands that will have loyal customers and an abundance of goodwill. 

Now is the time to show up for your customers like never before. Put yourself in their shoes to imagine what it would look like to create an amazing experience in our uncertain world. It could be anything from shorter wait times to increased personalized or an easier return policy. And then go one step further to put those plans into action. 

The world is busy and uncertain, but customers are depending on you. Now is the time to rise to the occasion and show up for them like never before.

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here

Sep 7, 2021

If you ask customers if they want to talk to a bot, most people would likely say no. For years, bots have gotten a bad rap for their nonsensical answers and inability to understand.  

But if you ask customers if they want to get correct answers quickly, they would likely all say yes. Modern bots are one of the best and most scalable ways to offer faster, correct service. According to Ben Rigby, VP, Global Head of Product & Engineering, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at Talkdesk, it’s all about reframing how customers think of bots and how companies use them in the contact center. 

The key to a successful machine learning system in a contact center is adaptability. Rigby says most machine learning projects fail because companies can’t figure out how to retrain their bots to match their customers’ current needs. A bot created before COVID wouldn’t know how to answer questions about things like social distancing, safety measures or mask requirements, but those are crucial answers customers need during a pandemic. 

Most companies turn to data scientists to retrain their bots, but Rigby says the best people to update the systems are the call center agents. Agents are familiar with what customers are asking and know how to tailor their answers to meet customers’ needs. They can take that experience and apply it to a bot to make sure the system has the most current and correct information. Rigby says putting contact center agents in the middle of machine learning is the best way to improve and continually update the system. After all, retraining a bot is a lot like talking to customers, something that contact center agents do every day. 

Machine learning in the contact center isn’t one and done. It’s a continuous process that involves launching, observing, retraining, observing, retraining—indefinitely. Companies need to plan for the fact that the world is continually changing and their machine learning system and strategy also require regular updates. 

Modern bots and machine learning systems are scalable, cost-effective and a great way to deliver a fast and accurate customer experience. The key to success is planning for updates and retraining and ensuring the right people complete the task.

*This episode is powered by Talkdesk. Talkdesk's mission is to help organizations around the world build brand love and loyalty by delivering exceptional customer experiences. But how ? Talkdesk is a cloud contact center solution for the customer-obsessed. With enterprise-class performance and consumer simplicity, Talkdesk CX Cloud empowers you to adapt your contact center to the evolving needs of your customers and teams. The results? Increased productivity, higher customer satisfaction, more cost savings, and great customer experience. If you'd like to know more, visit talkdesk.com.

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here

Aug 31, 2021

The past 18 months have brought unthinkable tragedies and uncertainty to the entire world and changed how most people live, work and interact with companies. 

But according to Jon Picoult, author of From Impressed To Obsessed: 12 Principles for Turning Customers and Employees into Lifelong Fans, out of every crisis comes opportunity. Even with the chaos and uncertainty, there are opportunities to strengthen relationships and improve customers’ lives. 

Engaging with customers in an uncertain world starts by really understanding them, including their new and emerging needs and fears. What matters to customers and what they look for in a shopping experience is likely very different now than it was just a few years ago. By listening to customers, companies can capitalize on these changes to mitigate customers’ challenges and improve their experiences. 

Picoult says that more than shaping experiences, companies are shaping memories. Truly engaging with customers involves stirring emotion. Experiences that are laced with emotion are far more memorable than those that aren’t. By connecting on an emotional level, companies can take customers from a place of vulnerability to a position of strength and create a strong, memorable experience. 

Picoult gives the example of the Australian grocery chain Woolworths, which was one of the first companies to offer early morning hours dedicated to elderly and at-risk shoppers during the early days of the pandemic. Woolworths talked to its customers and realized at-risk people were scared to be shopping during busy times when the store was crowded. So it created dedicated early morning hours, and the practice spread to retailers around the world. Woolworths understood customers’ needs and went the extra mile to connect its solution to the emotions behind the challenge. In the process, it endeared itself to customers. 

In these times of chaos and uncertainty, customers want something they can depend on. They want to interact with brands that will listen to them, understand their struggles and then go out of their way to fix them. Engaging with customers during these challenging times doesn’t mean completely changing the customer experience—it means tweaking your current offerings to match what matters most. 

Although these times are challenging, it’s also a chance for brands to strengthen their relationships and turn their customers into lifelong fans.

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here

Aug 24, 2021

Growing a business is all about gaining customers and getting sales. And far easier and less expensive than attracting new customers is turning existing customers into regular, returning customers. 

CX expert Shep Hyken says the key to building return customers is to discover the typical pattern of return customers and then replicate that experience for new customers. All companies should get people into the cadence of doing business with them regularly, but the timeline of that regularity—be it weekly, monthly or annually—changes based on the industry and type of business. 

In his new book, I’ll Be Back: How To Get Customers To Come Back Again and Again, Hyken lays out a six-step process for finding that pattern and building return customers and strong experiences: 

  1. Ask why someone would do business with your company and not with the competition. Figure out what makes your company unique from others and what makes customers interested in your products and services. 
  2. Ask why someone would do business with the competition instead of your company. This requires digging into your competition’s offerings and customer service to discover their competitive advantages.
  3. Keep pace with what the competition is doing. If there is something the competition is doing, bring it into your company and make it your own.
  4. Look outside your industry. Ask all types of people what their favorite companies are to do business with and why. Look at why people are drawn to these companies that are outside your industry and may not be considered direct competition.
  5. Ask what those companies are doing to draw in customers. This step also requires digging deep to understand why certain companies resonate with customers. Think about what you could be doing that works for companies in other industries. 
  6. Come back and ask the original question—Now, why would someone do business with your company and not the competition? 

Hyken recommends going through this process every six months to find little ways to improve. Taking these small steps can create amazing experiences that customers love and help distance you from the competition. 

All companies, no matter their size or industry, can find ways to stand out from the competition. Playing to your strengths creates unique experiences that will make customers return. Hyken says even small companies can compete against e-commerce giants like Amazon by highlighting what makes them unique, such as by offering personalized human experiences and local events. 

By continually improving and playing to your strengths, you can create a company where customers want to come back again and again.

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here

Aug 17, 2021

It’s no secret that modern customers crave personalization. Efforts to tailor experiences to customers’ needs are foundational to a strong CX strategy. 

But the next step of personalization is here: hyper-personalization. 

According to Raj Badarinath, CMO of Algonomy, hyper-personalization has three main characteristics:

  1. It focuses on individuals, not segments. Even if two customers have some similar qualities, they each have a unique experience that meets their exact needs.
  2. It creates experiences in real-time. Hyper-personalization delivers offers right when customers need them most.
  3. It uses AI and machine learning to improve over time. Hyper-personalization efforts get better as the technology and company learn more about each customer. 

Instead of simply providing a certain experience for a customer depending on their demographic or preference segment, hyper-personalization considers the context to choose the right offer and experience in real-time. Hyper-personalization uses technology to look at countless variables and know what a customer is looking for and what they need at that exact moment. 

Badarinath gives the example of a customer shopping in a store, likely while also using the store’s mobile app to look up products and get information. The store knows the customer’s preferences and that they are close by and can use hyper-personalization to send an offer that considers the context and meets their exact needs at that moment, perhaps by recommending a product that is relevant to what they are already buying or a discount on a brand they have bought in the past. 

At the heart of hyper-personalization is strong digital solutions, especially around AI and machine learning. Badarinath says companies have to consider the digital maturity of their systems when making decisions. Some AI solutions only have the maturity of a three-year-old, while others have the maturity of a 30-year-old. That maturity impacts the decisions the technology makes and how it learns and grows. The same hyper-personalization strategy won’t work on all levels of maturity. 

Although AI and technology are important, hyper-personalization is most effective with a human touch. The best companies provide their human employees with tools to access customer data and preferences in real-time to deliver those hyper-personalized offers human-to-human. 

In today’s connected world, companies are no longer just competing against other brands within their industry—they are competing against every company. Hyper-personalization sets the standard and drives a strong customer experience and long-term loyalty to fuel business growth.

*Sponsored by Algonomy 

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here

Aug 10, 2021
The goal of every company should be to make their customers’ lives easier, even if it makes their work harder. 

But that becomes even more important in a company serving customers with chronic health conditions. 

Naama Stauber Breckler is CEO and co-founder of Better Health, a company focused on helping people with chronic conditions manage day-to-day life at home. Through innovative end-to-end solutions that bundle the delivery of medical supplies with education, peer support and telehealth services and an intense customer focus, Breckler and her team make it possible for customers to do hard things easily.

The need for at-home care and supplies delivery was only highlighted during COVID when most people suffering from chronic conditions were left at home to manage their care and treatment.  

Before starting Better Health in late 2019, Breckler spent months talking to countless people to learn about the industry, current challenges and where she could have the biggest impact. She ultimately narrowed her focus to urology and ostomy products. Most of Better Health’s customers have chronic conditions, so although the company can’t reverse the conditions, it can make customers’ lives better.

Talking with customers highlighted two major issues: the selection of medical devices can be overwhelming, and online payments with insurance can be complicated. Both of these issues posed massive roadblocks to customers and made their lives incredibly difficult. Better Health prioritized addressing these issues and now offers personalized consulting and recommendations to find the right products and takes over payment issues from the customer.

Better Health operates in an inverted way to make sure everything the company releases truly solves problems people care about. Breckler and her team interact with customers online and go into their homes to understand the experience so they can then prioritize the biggest pain points to make the largest impact. 

That customer focus continues with each new feature the company releases. Employees pore over data to see where customers are getting stuck and dropping from the process so they know how to improve it. 

Every company, not just those in the medical field, can and should make customers’ lives easier. A central focus on customers that starts from leaders, as well as data and feedback, can help companies improve their products and work to best meet customers’ needs.

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here

Aug 3, 2021
Of the things that were lost because of the COVID pandemic, one of the most impactful was the loss of community. 

Instead of interacting in person and learning and growing together, we were forced to do things by ourselves or be separated by computer screens. 

So much of how we learn in business and our personal lives happens in person. But that was lost during COVID as our opportunities to learn through in-person classes and events were eliminated. 

Without a personal and professional community, the last 18 months have been extremely difficult for most people. We were stuck at home alone, and relationships were tested. In my own life, I had a baby and faced the difficulties of the newborn stage without my community of friends and mothers. We recently moved to be closer to family, and now I find myself having to rebuild my community and make new friends. 

But through the challenges of the pandemic, the importance of community became even more clear. And it reinvigorated my desire to create a business community. 

I have known some of my podcast listeners and CX professionals for longer than I’ve known my husband—some of you for more than 15 years. In that time, you’ve shared your personal and professional struggles with me. 

As a CX advocate, my goal is to make you successful. And much of that comes from real communities where we can connect personally and privately. 

To better meet your needs, I’m launching a brand-new customer experience community at customerexperiencecommunity.com. I know what it’s like to work in CX for a company and get no support or resources. The goal of the community is to give you the tools and resources you need to be supported and lead the best CX change possible. 

By signing up now for early bird pricing, you’ll soon get access to a weekly livestream with me, the chance to interact with special guests and thought leaders, access to modern case studies and trends, a chance to get certified in my Customer of the Future course, meet other CX professionals, share information and more. Every aspect of this community is designed with you in mind to make you as successful as possible. 

The global pandemic took community away from us. But now that we’ve seen how important it is, we can create a community to learn and grow together.

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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 waitlist now for the new Customer Experience Community here

Jul 27, 2021

Women are powerful influencers and consumers, but they are often forgotten or overlooked by brands. 

Even though women control the majority of household spending decisions and contribute to the economy at record levels, they are often stereotyped when it comes to marketing and customer experience. 

Instead of pushing women to the back or creating superficial experiences, brands need to make women front and center in every product they design and experience they create, says Michelle Kennedy, CEO of Peanut, a social network for women. 

Kennedy says the key to creating honest experiences for women is to be authentic and understand what matters in their lives. That comes from having direct conversations with female consumers to understand their priorities, needs and values. Too often, companies assume they know what women want and put all women into patronizing molds. But modern women don’t want to have to fit a mold. Instead, they want to celebrate and be recognized for all the many facets of womanhood and motherhood. The best experiences for women are personalized and tailored to meet their unique needs so that they feel valued and seen as individuals.  

Now more than ever, a brand’s value set matters to women. Women want to understand the value sets of brands and know they fit with their own values and principles. Women want to support brands that stand for something and do good in the world, so companies that are transparent about their processes and share their values and impact can create strong connections with women. 

Women crave connection and want to interact with their peers and with brands that are willing to ask difficult questions and be honest and authentic. Peanut tailors its honest experiences to women by creating a safe and trusting space to have hard conversations. By talking to women and being open about what they want and need, Peanut created a space where women can be uplifted and build connections while talking about important things they don’t discuss in most other places, including topics like pregnancy, menopause and infertility.  

Women are powerful consumers, but more than just that, they are powerful people. Brands can’t overlook the impact of women. To create products and experiences that make a difference and improve the lives of women, brands need to be honest, authentic and bold.

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

Jul 20, 2021

In many companies, the customer experience happens by accident without much strategic thought. 

But a truly customer-centric culture and experience requires a thoughtful strategy and continual adjustments and improvements. And a large part of that is performing a CX audit. 

Jamie Haenggi is Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at ADT, where she is focused on designing the CX journey across the entire company for its 6 million customers.  

One of Haenggi’s recent projects is an in-depth look and audit of the entire customer experience journey. The goal of the CX audit was to have a deep understanding of the current state and then design a comprehensive plan for the future state. 

ADT first performed in-depth research through focus groups, surveys and feedback from employees and customers to map out all the journeys. From there, they held ideation sessions to think about what a future state would look like and use design thinking to build continuity in the customer lifecycle. 

Haenggi’s next step is to partner with IT to put the technology and data in place to bring the new vision to life. The goal is to first create a technical road map and then use that information to create an operational roadmap so that the entire company is using the same data and processes. 

The research process has showcased the highs and lows of the existing customer experience by highlighting areas where ADT excels and gaps that have long been overlooked. Haenggi shared the example of when a customer relocates and has to change or update their service in multiple systems. The current process involves multiple pain points for customers and employees. But by evaluating the process in terms of the entire customer journey, ADT can create a more integrated experience.   

The CX audit also brought to light new opportunities to innovate and enhance the customer experience. Because of the research, ADT started rolling out virtual service appointments that allow customers to get the troubleshooting help they need without having to wait for someone to physically come to their house. The virtual appointments were especially timely and well-received during the pandemic. 

A CX audit involves doing a deep dive on every aspect of the current customer experience and creating a vision and plan for the future. It will likely bring up gaps that need to be improved, but it can also help locate huge opportunities for growth. 

Especially in this post-pandemic world, companies need to be willing to adapt and evolve. That often involves being humble enough to realize what can be improved and bold enough to challenge the status quo. 

Haenggi acknowledges that ADT is still evolving, but it has made huge strides in improving an already strong customer experience by staying close to customers and employees and being willing to reflect and improve. A CX audit is a requirement to create a future-ready and comprehensive 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. Sign up for her new course here. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  

Jul 13, 2021

Over the last few years, more and more companies have created Chief Experience Officer positions, elevating the customer experience to the C-Suite. One person who stepped into this new role in 2019 was Julie Bowerman, Chief Global Digital Customer and Consumer Experience Officer of Kellogg's. The titles and responsibilities of Experience Officers vary depending on the company, but the growth of the role shows the importance of customers in successful organizations. 

Although Bowerman has more than 20 years of experience building household name brands, this is her first role as a Chief Experience Officer. She is also the first person at Kellogg’s to hold the position. Bowerman believes more companies are creating CXO roles because the landscape is changing so quickly. The fast-paced and technology-driven environment is forcing big companies to break down their traditional silos with different areas for finance, marketing, IT and sales to bring people together and focus on the experience. 

To deliver a relevant and personalized experience to modern customers, companies have to break down silos and build a cohesive approach that reaches the top of the company. There isn’t one correct title or structure--what matters most is that companies are thinking of ways to challenge the status quo and break down barriers.  

In Bowerman’s day-to-day responsibilities, she leads four groups to help Kellogg’s regional teams around the world build their digital muscle. Working in e-commerce, digital marketing and media, B2B and DTC, Bowerman’s teams consult global teams to help them build unique digital strategies that resonate with their consumers and objectives. A team in Asia may have different objectives than a team in Europe, and Bowerman’s teams help them meet their unique needs while also delivering a consistent Kellogg experience. Bowerman reports to the Chief Growth Officer, who reports to the CEO.

Bowerman recommends CX professionals try different things and build capabilities so that as they become more senior in their careers, they can tap into their breadth of experience. Instead of being specialized and boxed in, leaders with a variety of experience can focus on general management. Don’t chase titles, but instead aim to grow your skills and make an impact wherever you are.

The increase in CXOs shows the value of experience and the importance of a companywide experience strategy. As the roles continue to grow, their impact will be felt in organizations around the world.

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

Jul 6, 2021

Even with innovations to medicines and treatments, how the pharmaceutical industry interacts with patients and customers has largely stayed the same for decades. 

But one company is breaking through the push and sell method with a large-scale digital transformation to disrupt the industry. 

Davidek Herron, Global Head of Digital at Roche Pharmaceuticals, believes that all companies can—and must—undergo digital transformations to provide value to their customers. Instead of simply doing things how they’ve always been done, companies in all industries must focus on finding gaps and adding value for their customers.

As with everything, customer experience needs to be central to digital transformation. The goal should be to provide seamless experiences and to make it as easy as possible for customers to do business with the company.  

Herron recommends companies start simple by understanding who their customers are and what they need. This requires really talking to customers and being open to their feedback and suggestions. Companies must understand the feedback and data they get from customers, including how they are capturing it and what they will do with it. Herron believes companies have to be able to measure if they want to be effective. 

Once companies understand their customers, they can start to build core digital infrastructures. Knowing their customers allows companies to deliver the right messages at the right time and makes companies and customers partners instead of a one-sided sales relationship. 

Most companies understand the need for digital transformation, but many are overwhelmed at the thought of completely overhauling their organization. Herron recommends simplifying the transformation by first setting a goal and vision. He recommends under-promising and over-delivering. Leaders must set the tone and be clear about where they want the company to go. With that goal and common cause, the company can start with quick digital wins to show the value of the transformation and gain momentum for further changes. 

Herron says one of the most important things for a digital transformation is to have the right people in place. Having employees who are motivated and are willing to go the extra mile to solve problems improves morale and keeps the company moving forward. Even with all that is involved in digital transformation, finding and retaining top talent should be a priority for leaders.

If the pharmaceutical industry can change with digital transformation, all companies can change. Digital transformation doesn’t have to be complicated. Setting a vision, understanding customers and getting the right people in place can put companies on the path to lasting transformation. 

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

Jun 29, 2021

When it comes to creating experiences customers remember, employees are your first line of defense. 

According to Doug Woodard, CCXO of SimpliSafe, culture is transparent to customers. To create a strong customer experience, Woodard first works to create a strong company culture and employee experience. 

How it feels to work at a company is also how it feels to be a customer there. If employees feel empowered and valued at a company, customers will also feel the same way. But if employees feel overworked and frustrated, those same feelings will come through to customers. 

Company culture has to be intentionally designed. As Woodard says, every company has a culture—either by definition or by default. Intentionally defining the culture and the values that matter to the brand gives employees perspective and common traits to exemplify in their daily interactions. Companies that don’t design their cultures run the risk of a culture falling into place, often with traits and values that don’t match where the company wants to go. 

Creating a strong culture starts by identifying the values and purpose of the brand and products. Ask yourself and your employees how you want customers to feel and how the company values can connect to customer experiences. SimpliSafe’s mission centers on helping customers make their homes safe. That feeling of reassurance and safety permeates through the company and is felt in every interaction customers have with the brand, no matter where they are on the customer journey. 

A well-defined company culture creates engaged employees. Woodard says leadership also plays a large role. Engaged leaders create engaged employees who personify the company values. Leaders need to be clear about the traits they expect from employees and set the example themselves. If you want customers to be heard and valued, employees should be treated the same way by their leaders. 

Before he joined the company, Woodard purchased a SimpliSafe system for his house and installed it himself so he could get the same experience as a customer. He called tech support and worked through issues to build empathy with customers. Now, as he interacts with employees and gets their feedback, he has a sense of reference for their role in the experience. 

Company culture is an often overlooked aspect of customer experience. But organizations with a defined mission and purpose and engaged employees not only strengthen their cultures but also create more opportunities to connect with and serve 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. Sign up for her new course here. For regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here.  

Jun 22, 2021

How long has a customer been with the company? Who lives in their household? What future products and services might they enjoy?

The answers to all of these questions are available through master data management.  

Data is central to creating personalized customer experiences. And the future of data analytics is master data management or MDM. 

Master data management creates a centralized place for companies to store and manage customer data. Patrick Terry, SVP, Head of Enterprise Data & Analytics at Heartland Financial, says that companies must be consistent with how they use data if they want data analytics to work. But in a typical company, each department uses different systems to look at various aspects of customer data. The marketing department cares about different data than the finance department, which uses different data than the customer service department. The result is often confusion with everyone working off different sets of truths. 

Master data management analyzes how all the customer data relates to each other and then becomes the central source of truth that the entire company can pull from. Terry points out that it isn’t a single system, but rather a way to centralize and standardize data that can then be used with many different systems, from CRM to account management systems and beyond. 

Within a household, there might be two spouses with their own accounts and a teenager with an account. Master data management rolls that individual information into a household and allows the company to market both to the entire household and each individual as needed. A consistent understanding of each customer, as well as each household and customer grouping, eliminates unnecessary communication and provides a strong understanding of customers. 

Master data management is the foundation of a high-quality, personalized experience. It builds a strong understanding of customers by using accurate and updated information. By creating one source of truth, all the systems that want to reach out to customers can do so in a way that is consistent and trustworthy. 

In Terry’s world of banking, MDM helps banks become customer-centric and not account-centric. There are numerous ways customers can interact with the bank beyond just having an account, and master data management tracks the many relationships and customer preferences instead of organizing people by their accounts. 

Modern customer experiences start with strong data analytics. Going forward, personalization will become even more focused and crucial. Master data management centralizes data and allows companies to work more efficiently internally and deliver amazing personalized experiences to customers.

*Sponsored by Informatica

Companies with a legacy foundation need to see it as a legacy to build on for creating a next-generation CX strategy based with customer data management at its core. 

A customer-centric architecture starts with the business outcomes and what the company is trying to achieve that is unique to every company. 

Master Data Management delivers an opportunity to standardize data domains such as customer, product, supplier, location – and help organizations create consistent relationships across any channel.

Learn more about how Informatica helps organizations deliver great CX with a foundation of intelligent data. Go to informatica.com/cx.

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

Jun 15, 2021

COVID highlighted the need for every company to be digital. But many companies face challenges when undergoing a digital transformation. 

According to Nigel Vaz, CEO of Publicis Sapient, all companies need to challenge the status quo as they adopt new digital strategies and solutions. 

He says the biggest mistakes companies make happen at the start and the end of the digital transformation. 

The first mistake is not being clear on where the digital transformation starts and why. Some companies simply pick an area to transform and set the large-scale transformation in place without thinking through why they are starting in that area. Vaz recommends that companies start with something that is representative of the entire organization so that people can see how that change applies to the entire organization. But you don’t want to choose a starting project that is so big that it never gets off the ground or delivers value. 

The first project of a digital transformation sets the tone for the entire process. Companies need to think strategically and start with a project that will grow momentum and show progress without being overwhelming. 

The other common mistake comes at the end of a digital transformation. The truth is that there is no end to a true digital transformation. It is an ever-evolving journey that involves constant adaptation. Some companies think of digital transformation as a destination instead of a journey. They believe that once they’ve transformed various parts of their company, they can check off the box and move on. But the pace of change is increasing, which means digital transformations need to be continual. 

Embarking on a digital transformation and coming to terms that it is a never-ending journey can be overwhelming. Vaz uses the acronym SPEED to represent the secret sauce of digital transformation: 

S: Strategy. Start by being clear on the strategic objective and the value you’re trying to unlock. 

P: Product. Digital leaders are in constant beta mode and are always evolving their products.

E: Experience. Look for the experiences that will delight customers and employees and allow them to do something dramatically different.

E: Engineering. Don’t lose a great experience because of a lack of engineering power. Involve engineering in the overall experience.

D: Data and AI. Successful digital products and services are constantly fed by data. 

The need for digital transformation has never been greater. All companies need to rethink their digital strategies so they can continually evolve and improve.

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

Jun 8, 2021

10 years ago, people used to email, call, or text their friends and family. Today, the vast majority of conversation happens via messengers. 

Business communication is set to follow the same pattern. 

According to Paul Adams, VP of Product at Intercom, messengers like WhatsApp, WeChat, and Facebook messenger have become the dominant way people communicate. It’s a fundamental change that is impacting the business world. 

Most companies still rely on phone and email to communicate with customers, but Adams believes the future of business communication and customer service is conversational. 

Moving away from traditional communication channels and towards messengers is a win for both companies and customers. Messengers can be scaled much more easily and cost-effectively than phone or email, and customers appreciate the convenience of self-service. 

However, Adams is quick to acknowledge that messengers aren’t the perfect fit for every situation. Messengers can be incredibly effective for simple, repetitive questions, but deeper human assistance can be needed for more complicated issues. 

Adams believes the future of support looks like a funnel with three layers:

  1. Proactive support. This includes outbound messaging to check on customers and their products and address any issues before they arise.
  2. Automated self-service support. Messengers can easily answer simple questions, such as checking on the status of an order or making a basic account change. Self-service options allow customers to get help when needed without having to wait.
  3. Human support. For more complicated issues, customers can be transferred to a human to provide personalized service. 

Although messengers are the future of business communication and customer service, Adams says it’s really about marrying the scenario to the communication channel. A messenger might not always work, just like a human isn’t the best option in every scenario. But leaning into messengers and using human support when needed can deliver seamless customer interactions and lead to strong business insights. 

In the end, successful business communication is all about staying close to customers. Messengers will see huge growth in the coming years as more companies turn to self-service options. And when those interactions help companies stay connected with customers, everyone benefits.

*Sponsored by Intercom

Intercom is a Conversational Relationship Platform that helps businesses build better customer relationships through personalized, messenger-based experiences. The company is bringing a messenger-first experience to all business-to-customer communication, powering 500 million conversations per month and connecting 4 billion end-users worldwide across its more than 30,000 customers, including Facebook, Amazon, and Lyft. 

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

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