Info

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.
RSS Feed
The Modern Customer Podcast
2021
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2019
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2018
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: Page 1
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.

_______________

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.

_______________

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.

_______________

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.

_______________

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 

_______________

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.

_______________

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.

_______________

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.

_______________

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. 

_______________

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.

_______________

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. 

_______________

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.

_______________

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.

_______________

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.

_______________

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. 

_______________

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 1, 2021

The wireless industry may be the most competitive in the world.

To attract more customers, companies are constantly working to improve their services. That means delivering seamless, convenient experiences that modern customers crave. T-Mobile’s goal is to make customers’ lives easier as it connects them to the world.  

Competing on customer experience requires a strong understanding of the effectiveness of products, services and the overall experience. And that comes down to data, says Jon Freier, EVP of Consumer Group at T-Mobile. 

There are numerous metrics to measure customer experience, but Freier looks at three main categories and activities:

  1. What is the experience like for people who aren’t T-Mobile customers and want to join?
  2. What is the experience like for existing customers who want to expand their relationship with T-Mobile?
  3. What is the experience like for existing customers when an issue pops ups? 

Measuring these three areas—joining, expanding and resolving issues—helps the company track the level of effort. Freier says T-Mobile chases and tracks anything that can measure how hard or easy it is to do those things. 

Freier believes companies are moving past traditional metrics like CSAT and NPS and towards measuring the level of effort. T-Mobile considers and tracks the level of efforts for customers to join, expand and resolve issues. That includes tracking if the experience is hard or easy, how long it takes and even how many clicks it takes to join or resolve issues digitally. If the current experience takes 25 clicks to solve an issue, Freier wants his team to get it down to 20 clicks. And then once it’s down to 20 clicks, the goal is to simplify it down to 15 clicks. Simplifying the product and customer experience puts more power in customers’ hands with self-service options. 

The goal of all companies, regardless of industry, should be to make customers’ lives easier. Tracking the level of effort to join, grow and solve problems can help all companies better understand their customers and continually improve the experience.

_______________

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.  

May 25, 2021

When Kate Johnson became president of Microsoft US four years ago, the stock price was at $44. Today, it’s around $260. 

What’s the reason for the immense growth? Continual digital transformation and a commitment to change. At Microsoft, Johnson is a powerful change agent who works with CEO Satya Nadella and other executives to set the company on a fast track to the future. 

Johnson believes that companies can have all of the ingredients for success, including a strong mission and employee experience. But if they don’t have a culture that enables change, their success will be temporary. 

Lasting success comes from a culture that enables and promotes change and that is continually evolving and looking towards the future. 

But change doesn’t just come from culture; it comes from people. Leaders working for change will find that their people fall into three buckets:

  1. The people who adore change and are all in.
  2. The people who hate change and try to block it.
  3. The people who are on the fence and trying to figure out which group to join. 

Johnson says that great change leaders listen to all three groups but specialize in helping the people on the fence join the supporters. When that happens, roughly two-thirds of people will be supportive of change, which helps leaders reach critical mass for the change they are trying to achieve. 

Being a change agent requires a variety of skills, including the courage to muscle through negative feedback and figure out which signals are real and which are just noise. Change agents have to be great listeners and be both real and pragmatic. Even with the challenges, Johnson says it is the most fulfilling job imaginable. 

Johnson’s favorite problems to solve are the complex challenges that are steeped in people. She says that’s where the best and most impactful change occurs. But working with people means working with their egos. One of Johnson’s proven ways of calming egos is simply asking people, “Tell me more.” The simple sentence helps people realize she is listening and allows them to share their viewpoint calmly and without ego. It doesn’t mean she always agrees with the other side, but it helps her better understand people and make progress.

Microsoft’s digital transformation has brought about many changes, but Johnson says the main focus has been changes related to customers. She believes that if the company is going to obsess over one thing, it needs to be customers. 

Customer-centric leaders need to be change agents. By understanding people, cutting through ego and obsessing over customers, leaders can make lasting and impactful change within their organizations.

*Sponsored by Wix Answers

It's been a year of change for businesses. What’s making this period most challenging is the lack of clarity. But, that’s also where there’s an opportunity to stand out by building trust in your relationships with your customers with agile communication.

Wix Answers takes a new approach to customer support by helping you adapt quickly to know exactly what your customer needs and when they need it.

Go and see for yourself today at WixAnswers.com.

_______________

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.  

May 18, 2021

At the height of the COVID pandemic in spring 2020, toilet paper and hand sanitizer were the hottest items on store shelves. The search for these essential items grew to a fever pitch, with customers lining up for hours and scouring the internet to get their hands on these hot commodities. 

As demand skyrocketed and shelves cleared, many states and retailers put price gouging regulations into effect. 

But those efforts to help consumers may have actually led to more COVID cases and deaths. 

Gavin Roberts, assistant professor of economics at Weber State University, studied the impacts of price gouging regulation during the pandemic. 

Typically, price gouging regulation is put in place by state governments during localized public emergencies. Roberts gave the example of a hurricane, which may only affect one or two states. In that case, the affected states may enact price gouging regulation, which says that retailers can’t increase the price for essential items, such as gas, toilet paper and hotel rooms, beyond a certain percentage of increase or what some states call an “exorbitant increase”. 

But the COVID pandemic affected the entire world, leading to widespread price gouging regulations like we’ve never seen. Economists widely believe that price gouging regulations cause shortages, which was definitely the case during COVID. Price gouging regulation limits what companies want to sell. If companies can’t make much money, they aren’t as motivated to sell their products, which leads to a shortage of items. Roberts observed that customers increased their internet searches for items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, which follows the pattern of price gouging regulation. When goods are in shortage, people search for them more. 

But the widespread COVID pandemic took things one step further. When customers couldn’t find what they needed online, they searched in person. Price gouging led to a shortage of products and customers rushing to brick-and-mortar stores, right during the push for virus mitigation efforts and a need to stay at home. Roberts’ research shows the rush of customers to stores to buy toilet paper and hand sanitizer led to a wider spread of COVID cases and deaths. 

Price gouging regulation is often put in place so that low-income individuals don’t get priced out of essential items. But Roberts believes price gouging regulation isn’t an effective measure in supporting low-income families. We need to take the next step to think about if the policy actually helps those in need. Going forward, he wants companies and governments to carefully consider if the policies and regulations they put in place actually help the people they are intended to or if they cause more harm than good. 

The early days of the COVID pandemic were unlike anything we’ve ever seen, largely due to the lack of essential items like toilet paper. The pandemic has caused us to re-evaluate many practices and policies, including price gouging regulation.

*Sponsored by Wix Answers

It's been a year of change for businesses. What’s making this period most challenging is the lack of clarity. But, that’s also where there’s an opportunity to stand out by building trust in your relationships with your customers with agile communication.

Wix Answers takes a new approach to customer support by helping you adapt quickly to know exactly what your customer needs and when they need it.

Go and see for yourself today at WixAnswers.com.

_______________

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.  

May 11, 2021

Of all the industries to break into, the beverage space is among the most difficult. The hyper-competitive market and domination from big brands make it incredibly challenging for entrepreneurs to get their products on shelves. But Jordan Schenck has experience and grit on her side. 

As the former Head of Global Consumer Marketing at Impossible Foods, Schenck knows how to build a plant-based food brand. She spent nearly four years traveling the world and talking to people about their relationship with plants and played a huge role in the growth of the plant-based trend. She used that experience to co-found Sunwink, a wellness company focused on plant-based drinks. 

Schenck says the beverage section is the only area of the grocery store consumers use multiple times daily. It’s a space with hyper-consumption that’s also super high-touch. But Schenck says there’s not much on the shelf that is actually good--it’s dominated by soda and products with ingredients that may claim to be good but actually aren’t that healthy. Schenck and her co-founder started Sunwink because they were excited to be in a high-velocity space and also have the opportunity to make statements and do creative work. 

Building such an innovative brand in a competitive industry starts with knowing customers. The Sunwink founders spent a year sampling its many variations in grocery stores. They had to understand what works with flavors, which audiences organically opted in and who would be their easy-win customers. It took grit and determination to show up at grocery stores and convince them to demo the drinks and maybe sell one product on the shelf. 

That work paid off. When Sunwink launched, Schenck said it was amazing the amount of nascent demand for a product that is not only beautiful on the outside but also beautiful on the inside. 

As the company started to scale online, they did a lot of surveying and constantly asked customers what they wanted to see and what was and wasn’t working. Although Sunwink initially launched primarily in grocery retail, it split soon after the pandemic started and grew in the DTC space. It’s rare to find a DTC beverage company, especially because of the high shipping costs, but Sunwink saw 14x growth on the channel and found creative solutions to lower shipping costs. E-commerce quickly became the primary revenue driver during the pandemic and created a huge community through email and social media. 

As Sunwink grows, Schenck aims to spread the plant-based message and show a wider view of wellness. She defines wellness as having your cake and eating plants too. Sunwink is vocal about the fact that wellness isn’t about perfection and how incredible your yoga backbend is—it’s about your journey as an individual to find wholeness. Yes, you can have the cocktail and the donut and drink plants. Schenck says it’s about the little moments of taking care of yourself. 

Schenck hopes to continue Sunwink’s success and build a brand around plant-powered wellness. Her goal is to create a brand that has cultural resonance about caring for your body and caring for your planet. She’s breaking down barriers as a female entrepreneur and showing the power of plants for total wellness. 

*Sponsored by Wix Answers

It's been a year of change for businesses. What’s making this period most challenging is the lack of clarity. But, that’s also where there’s an opportunity to stand out by building trust in your relationships with your customers with agile communication.

Wix Answers takes a new approach to customer support by helping you adapt quickly to know exactly what your customer needs and when they need it.

Go and see for yourself today at WixAnswers.com.

_______________

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.  

May 4, 2021

It’s something all customers have faced: they have a problem or question, but the only way to resolve it is to wait on hold with the contact center or fill out a contact request form. The process is long and frustrating. 

Modern customers want another approach to solving their problems. Knowledge management is a way to connect the dots and keep communication lines open with customers. Instead of companies holding all the answers, knowledge management shares resources like articles and self-service portals so customers can solve their own issues and provides a platform for communication across all channels.  

Naomi Rozenfeld, VP of Revenue at Wix Answers, says effective knowledge management is all about meeting customers where they are. 

Up until recently, knowledge management was difficult for many companies to talk about. Rozenfeld narrows it down to two main challenges: a lack of executive support within the company and technology limitations with support divided into silos that created a fragmented experience for customers and employees. 

But over the past year, COVID has accelerated the need for self-service knowledge management. As the world was shutting down, companies realized that customers still needed support. Instead of waiting and reacting to customer issues and questions, companies need to proactively answer customer questions and provide resources. 

Customers want to be in control of their service. Rozenfeld says knowledge management is now a need, not a want. She believes that what’s going to win business over for future transactions is how quickly a company can resolve an issue or how easy it is for customers to resolve their own issues. 

Rozenfeld calls it the iceberg effect, or the idea that for every one person who opens a ticket or contacts the care team, there are nine people who don’t. That 90% of customers who don’t get in touch leave frustrated. Effective knowledge management provides resources and helps all customers, especially the vast majority who don’t want to have to spend time reaching out to a company. 

Effective knowledge management starts by addressing the two main challenges. Rozenfeld says companies must have an executive sponsor to understand the impact on revenue and the company. CX managers and change agents need to make sure leaders understand why they need to invest in the tools to enable customers to solve problems on their own. 

The second challenge is around technology. Companies need to stop looking at support through silos. Rozenfeld says silos and unconnected channels create gaps for customers to fall. But when channels are tied together and speaking the same language, the customer only has one entry point. It doesn’t matter where they started or how they communicate with the brand. Customer interactions are simplified and the agent can see the entire path instead of only having a view of one part of the problem.

Knowledge management is on its way to becoming a cornerstone of the modern customer experience. Meeting customers where they are and proactively providing great service creates empowered and satisfied customers. 

*Sponsored by Wix Answers

It's been a year of change for businesses. What’s making this period most challenging is the lack of clarity. But, that’s also where there’s an opportunity to stand out by building trust in your relationships with your customers with agile communication.

Wix Answers takes a new approach to customer support by helping you adapt quickly to know exactly what your customer needs and when they need it.

Go and see for yourself today at WixAnswers.com.

_______________

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.  

Apr 27, 2021

In a sea of celebrity brands, how can a company stand out and attract customers? 

It comes down to being passionate, innovative and empathetic. 

Many celebrities are only involved with their brands as far as simply putting their name on a product, but Bruno Mars’ rum brand SelvaRey is different. He spent three years redesigning the SelvaRey packaging to create a stylish and eye-catching bottle and is passionate about the brand and its products. 

That passion and innovation extends to the entire team and is what attracted CMO Brielle Caruso to the brand. 

Caruso joined the company six months ago, making her the first female Asian American CMO in the U.S. wine and spirits industry. Caruso has helped build numerous brands and knows what it takes to stand out. 

Marketing is really about communicating and building relationships. Caruso believes communication means everything and that brilliant communicators must have strong observational awareness. It’s impossible to be a great marketer without being a great listener. At SelvaRey, that means listening to customers and understanding the context of what they are looking for. In her career, it means actively listening to her team members and building real connections.

Over the past six months, SelvaRey has launched four new products, some of which sold out in days. Part of Caruso’s job has been to educate customers about rum and break down stereotypes and showcase the wide range of products. Listening to customers led the brand to release products at different entry points.  

Marketers are often taught that it’s all about themselves—about sharing their message and pushing their products. But Caruso believes that people who step back and listen, not to respond but to understand and add empathy, become better leaders. 

With that empathy and listening comes humility. Caruso says it’s important to be grounded, which she does by writing down her goals and gratitudes. Especially after a difficult year, she believes it’s important to reach out to people and check in on them instead of assuming everyone is fine. Building those relationships and being humble helps marketers stay focused and grounded, which only adds to their success. In a world full of ego and self-promotion, truly caring about other people can help you stand out. 

Many women in male-dominated industries face the challenge of being the only woman in the room. But Caruso has learned that her unique assets are valuable and important and that she needs to speak up to represent female customers. Women drink alcohol, so companies can’t just have men creating the strategic goals and marketing. They need a woman’s insight and will listen to the women in the room, even if there’s only one. Caruso believes companies need to push for employees and marketers who are representative of the population who is using the product. 

Standing out in the marketing world isn’t always about being the flashiest. It comes down to being passionate, innovative and empathetic. The loudest campaigns may catch customers’ eyes, but lasting success comes to the companies and marketers that know how to build relationships and stay grounded. SelvaRey shows that strong communication can build a winning brand. 

*Sponsored by Pegasystems #PegaWorld 

It’s almost time for PegaWorld iNspire, the annual conference from Pegasystems. Join them online for free on May 4 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time to learn how the world’s most impactful companies are driving digital transformation. They’ll have compelling keynotes, demos, and case studies in a highly interactive virtual format and a few surprises as well. Go to www.pegaworld.com to register for free and check out the full agenda. I’ve attended the last several PegaWorlds in person, and virtual, and I can’t recommend it enough, so go register today! That’s www.pegaworld.com.

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.  

Apr 20, 2021

Saying 2020 was a rocky year may be the ultimate understatement. But after the turmoil and uncertainty, customers, brands and investors want to know what the economy looks like in 2021. 

According to Fox Business Network’s Charles Payne, there’s reason to be extremely optimistic. 

In 2021, consumer savings are near record highs. That, combined with government stimulus money, means that there is a lot of money and the ability to spend it once consumer confidence levels pick up.  

Part of the reason to expect economic growth in 2021 is the concept of revenge shopping or revenge travel as the pandemic starts to subside. After more than a year of shutdowns and quarantines, customers are eager to spend money, have experiences and travel. Payne predicts that customers will want to make up for lost time, which will be great for the economy. 

Although there has been tremendous job loss and countless businesses closing during the pandemic, new business applications have gone through the roof in recent months. The fact that people are confident enough to start businesses is a good sign for the economy, and consumers will likely give a special effort to support small businesses, at least initially. Small businesses are poised for success, and the economy needs them to thrive. But Payne points out that these businesses don’t exist in a vacuum, and uncertainty and actions taken towards big businesses could potentially hurt smaller businesses. For new small businesses to thrive, they need continued customer support.  

The growth of the economy is also tied to the growth of construction and real estate. Over the last year, we’ve seen a growing exodus from expensive cities to less expensive suburbs. Just a few years ago, consumers wanted to rent everything instead of owning, but in today’s world, customers want the control and confidence that comes from owning things, especially homeownership. To rebound after the pandemic exodus, Payne says cities will have to reinvent themselves and become experience hubs. That growth and change could foster new business growth as consumers look to make up for lost experiences. 

The economy is certainly changing in 2021, but overall, things are looking up. With consumers eager to spend, small businesses on the rise and a change and reinvention for cities and suburbs, this year will have a lasting impact on the economy—for the positive.

*Sponsored by Pegasystems #PegaWorld 

It’s almost time for PegaWorld iNspire, the annual conference from Pegasystems. Join them online for free on May 4 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time to learn how the world’s most impactful companies are driving digital transformation. They’ll have compelling keynotes, demos, and case studies in a highly interactive virtual format and a few surprises as well. Go to www.pegaworld.com to register for free and check out the full agenda. I’ve attended the last several PegaWorlds in person, and virtual, and I can’t recommend it enough, so go register today! That’s www.pegaworld.com.

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.  

 

Apr 13, 2021

Technology doesn’t stop during a pandemic. 

Because of that, VMware needs to stay connected to customers and showcase its multi-cloud technology. 

But in the B2B industry, which is traditionally driven by in-person events and marketing, building relationships and growing leads virtually poses a challenge.   

VMware CMO Carol Carpenter stepped into her role in the middle of the COVID pandemic and had to quickly move to virtual marketing. Although there have been challenges, she says B2B marketing during a pandemic has also had some positive impacts. 

The root of Carpenter’s marketing approach is communication and data. She aims to over-communicate, both to her team of more than 700 people and to customers and prospects. Her team also relies heavily on data—especially during the pandemic—to track its progress and tailor experiences and marketing campaigns that resonate with customers. Carpenter says being able to understand a customer’s needs, thoughts and values is crucial. 

As marketing shifted online, Carpenter’s team unleashed its creativity. Using communication and data as a foundation, it moved traditionally in-person events to virtual venues. VMware has hosted events like chocolate tastings, whisky tastings and concerts with famous musicians. As a bonus, customers and prospects are able to include their families, which adds to the relationship-building. 

Moving online has allowed B2B marketers to better engage their prospects and clients. In the physical world, a company can track who attended a dinner and event. But it can be difficult to know if the person was actually engaged or interested in the product. 

When things move online, however, companies can track who participated, what they looked at, who they talked to and what they talked about. It provides a much fuller picture of what each person did at the event and allows marketers to follow up with specific questions and comments. 

Although in-person events have paused, Carpenter says B2B marketers still have incredible opportunities to build relationships when they focus on communication, data and creativity. 

COVID has brought challenges for all industries, especially B2B, but marketers around the industry and at VMware are finding the positive, pivoting and keeping their companies moving forward.

*Sponsored by Pegasystems #PegaWorld 

It’s almost time for PegaWorld iNspire, the annual conference from Pegasystems. Join them online for free on May 4 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time to learn how the world’s most impactful companies are driving digital transformation. They’ll have compelling keynotes, demos, and case studies in a highly interactive virtual format and a few surprises as well. Go to www.pegaworld.com to register for free and check out the full agenda. I’ve attended the last several PegaWorlds in person, and virtual, and I can’t recommend it enough, so go register today! That’s www.pegaworld.com.

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.  

Apr 6, 2021

Loyalty programs are an important part of many brands’ customer engagement strategies, but yesterday’s loyalty programs won’t necessarily be successful today. 

According to Francis Hondal, President of Loyalty & Engagement at Mastercard, the recent growth of tech, digital commerce and data have redefined opportunities for brands to serve their customers in the way they expect to be served. Those opportunities have changed even more over the last year with the global COVID pandemic. 

One of the biggest trends coming out of COVID is the un-calendarized year, meaning that everything has shifted from when it normally occurs. Things like sports seasons, events and travel are now happening on a different schedule than years past. In response, Hondal says brands need to focus on providing flexibility to their customers. The best loyalty programs adapt to meet customers’ current needs and offer them flexibility and choices. 

Hondal gives the example of an airline that changed its rewards program to allow customers to use their airline loyalty points to buy groceries and support local businesses. With fewer people traveling, it was a way for the airline to stay connected to customers and for customers to meet their everyday spending needs with their existing points. 

Customers crave optionality. They don’t want to be boxed into using a loyalty program in one certain way. Customers are hesitant to be stuck with just one way of doing things now that they’ve seen just how much the world and their personal situation can change. When brands are flexible, it drives long-term engagement and continues to make the company relevant, even during uncertain and chaotic times. 

There are different ways of engaging with customers than typical rewards programs. Flexibility and newness are hot right now, and brands that can tap into those trends can build real connections with their customers. 

Hondal says creating an amazing loyalty program starts by understanding consumers, both new and existing. Companies need to use data and have a strong data management system in place so they can stay on top of changing customer demands and trends. She says one of the most important pieces of delivering a seamless customer experience is connecting the dots within the company so that customers have a consistent experience and don’t have to repeat themselves. 

In this COVID and post-COVID world of loyalty programs, brands need to focus on contextual connections with customers and connecting with people when it matters most. By truly understanding customers and knowing what they need and when they need it, brands can stay relevant and offer options and flexibility. 

Loyalty programs aren’t what they used to be, especially after COVID. By leveraging data and focusing on flexibility and optionality, brands can create and strengthen bonds with loyal customers for years to come.

*Sponsored by Pegasystems #PegaWorld 

It’s almost time for PegaWorld iNspire, the annual conference from Pegasystems. Join them online for free on May 4 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time to learn how the world’s most impactful companies are driving digital transformation. They’ll have compelling keynotes, demos, and case studies in a highly interactive virtual format and a few surprises as well. Go to www.pegaworld.com to register for free and check out the full agenda. I’ve attended the last several PegaWorlds in person, and virtual, and I can’t recommend it enough, so go register today! That’s www.pegaworld.com.

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.  

 

Mar 30, 2021

The beauty world is full of customers who love to experiment with new products, watch makeup tutorials and spend time finding the best items. 

But what about customers who care about their skin and beauty but don’t want to spend the time finding and trying new products on their own? 

These are known as casual consumers. They want to try new things but are often overwhelmed or don’t have time for the number of products on the market. 

Most beauty companies market to serious consumers, making casual consumers an unserved market, says Ali Edgerton, Birchbox U.S. President. Birchbox was founded in 2010 as a way to provide casual consumers great products without them having to find and experiment on their own. Birchbox was the first subscription box—an incredible accomplishment when considering the thousands of subscription boxes now on the market. 

The innovative concept is relatively simple: each month, consumers receive a box with five deluxe-sized samples of beauty products picked just for them. The model works well for casual consumers who want to try new things and get the right products for their hair, skincare and makeup routines, but who don’t want to sort through products on their own. Birchbox has grown into a multi-faceted platform that allows consumers to subscribe for monthly products or simply buy products from the online storefront. 

Birchbox meets the modern customer where she is by creating a multi-channel experience that relies heavily on data and personalization. When users first subscribe, they answer a series of questions to set up their profile. Birchbox compares that data to how casual consumers relate to the beauty industry to put personalized items in each box. Customers also have the option to choose a few items on their own. 

Data continues after the box has been delivered with a robust review system that allows customers to give feedback for each item and gives Birchbox a better understanding of what is and isn’t working for each customer. As Birchbox collects more data, it provides an increasingly personalized experience. 

Birchbox also stays on top of trends that appeal to casual beauty consumers and puts together curated packages separate from subscription boxes. These products are designed to help casual consumers tap into new beauty trends and get everything they need in one place. One of the most popular recent discovery kits includes everything consumers need to fight maskne, or acne caused by constant mask-wearing. Casual consumers would likely be overwhelmed trying to find the best products on their own, so Birchbox makes it easy for them to get everything in one click. And the strategy is working—the kits are in constant demand and are flying off the shelves. 

Edgerton says Birchbox uses data to create a picture of what customers want and need. Her greatest satisfaction comes from introducing something to a customer who didn’t know they needed it. 

Relying on data to provide personalized experiences and meet customers where they are is a large part of the reason for Birchbox’s success. It hopes to continue its innovative approach to beauty and retail as it sets the example for other subscription models.  

To try Birchbox for yourself, Edgerton is giving The Modern Customer Podcast listeners a discount with code VIP50.

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.  

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 11