193 episodes

The Modern Customer Podcast is a show that provides surprising and counter-intuitive insights on customer experience, social customer service and content. We will also dive into related leadership topics. The show is hosted by Forbes contributor and customer experience strategist Blake Morgan and features guests that include practitioners, authors, influencers and other tastemakers.

The Modern Customer Podcast Blake Morgan

    • Management

The Modern Customer Podcast is a show that provides surprising and counter-intuitive insights on customer experience, social customer service and content. We will also dive into related leadership topics. The show is hosted by Forbes contributor and customer experience strategist Blake Morgan and features guests that include practitioners, authors, influencers and other tastemakers.

    What COVID Teaches Us About Future-Proofing

    What COVID Teaches Us About Future-Proofing

    Even the most forward-thinking companies couldn’t predict the magnitude and impact of the COVID pandemic. If the future is unpredictable to even the most prepared companies, how can organizations future-proof their businesses? The answers might come from our current situation.
    Change is unpredictable. No one know the next big global catalyst for change expect that it will happen at some point. But to be as prepared as possible for whatever comes next, companies need to learn from the present and look towards the future. According to Tom Libretto, CMO at Pega, future-proofing starts by looking inside at the business architecture. The future will be fast-paced and constantly changing, so a company’s structure needs to be able to move fast and pivot alongside the changes. Libretto says a lot of architectures of the past were too brittle, and those flaws are now being exposed. In the future, an adaptable business architecture will be more important than ever. Companies should focus on being more stable and establishing flexible systems so they aren’t caught off guard again.
    During the COVID-19 pandemic, many customers have been contacting companies about new issues and have had more interaction with brands than before. These interactions have taught companies the importance of responding to the needs of customers in ways that make the company more resilient in the future. Libretto says that companies often respond to customers with a one-and-done mentality and move on to the next issue. To be future-proof, organizations need to respond to customers in a way that makes them stronger and adds to the company’s architecture. Take these opportunities to build relationships, learn from customers and prepare to pivot instead of simply addressing an issue and moving on.
    One of the most crucial qualities of future-proof organizations is empathy. This has been shown in many ways during the current pandemic. Everyone around the world is experiencing the pandemic, but it happens in different ways, and some are devastating, especially for customers who have lost family members or their jobs. Successful companies have models in place to embed empathy at the heart of all their customer interactions. Empathy will always be important and will satisfy current needs and retain relationships for the long run.
    Mixed with the human elements is a need to automate to prepare for the future. Libretto gives the example of using an email bot to sort through the deluge of customer emails and automatically trigger the right response, either back to the customer or in process through the back office. Future-proof organizations embrace technology and look for the best ways to automate.
    The future is uncertain, and it will likely continue to get more uncertain as time goes on. But companies that build agile architectures, show empathy and automate will be on their way to being future-proof and ready to face whatever comes their way.
    This post is sponsored by Pega. About our sponsor:
    Pega is the leader in cloud software for customer engagement and operational excellence. The world’s most recognized and successful brands rely on Pega’s AI-powered software to optimize every customer interaction on any channel while ensuring their brand promises are kept. It’s almost time for PegaWorld iNspire, the annual conference from Pegasystems. Join them online for free on June 2 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time to learn how the world’s most impactful companies are driving digital transformation – which is more important than ever in the COVID-19 age. 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 I can’t recommend it highly eno

    • 31 min
    The Customer Of The Future Wants Connection And Progress

    The Customer Of The Future Wants Connection And Progress

    Every consumer has their go-to brands—the companies they will do business with again and again because of a trusted track record, great product and strong service. Every company wants to be a go-to brand, only about one-third of them reach that status. In order to become the preferred brand of customers of the future, brands need to focus on connection and progress.
    To better understand the ever-changing needs and demands of customers, Lippincott brought together specialists from a number of fields to predict what the world and customers will look like in five years. Those findings help drive brands’ current strategies to prepare to serve customers of the future. According to Dave Mayer, Senior Partner, Brand Strategy at Lippincott, one of the biggest takeaways is the need to prioritize customer experience. That comes from both connection and progress.
    Connection
    Go-to brands like Apple, Samsung and Charles Schwab drive real connections with their customers. They strive to continually improve the experience to make themselves loved by customers. Instead of simply delivering a functional need and being a transactional brand that a customer uses once and leaves, go-to brands create relationships and understand their customers to keep them coming back again and again. One of the best ways to measure connection is through NPS. If a customer says they will recommend a brand to family and friends, they likely feel a strong connection with the company.
    Progress
    But connection alone isn’t enough to create a resilient go-to brand. Brands that drive loyalty also help customers do something they couldn’t do before. Customers of the future want to interact with brands that fill a need they can’t get filled anywhere else. Progress means pushing customers forward, opening doors and introducing them to ideas and services they didn’t even know they needed. 
    Connection and progress work hand in hand. A brand that offers progress without connection runs the risk of deflection. As soon as another brand comes with a better option, customers will abandon ship for the competition. Similarly, connection without progress means that customers will likely eventually leave for other brands that have more forward-thinking options.
    Connection and progress are vital to creating go-to brands now, but they will be even more crucial in coming years. Mayer says that go-to brands grow five times faster than transactional brands and endure themselves to customers and shareholders to become resilient through difficult times. The customer of the future is values-driven and wants to connect with brands they believe in and that do good in the world. That’s progress. But they also want highly personalized experiences, which create connection. Brands must deliver on both sides to deliver a strong customer experience.
    The customer of the future is changing, but they will remain loyal to their go-to brands that continue to offer both connection and progress.

    • 30 min
    Is COVID The Catalyst For Banking Digital Transformations?

    Is COVID The Catalyst For Banking Digital Transformations?

    Like all industries, banking has faced huge disruptions due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. And although the challenges facing banks have led to many negative effects, there could be a silver lining as the pandemic moves companies closer to full digital transformations.
    According to Marc Andrews, VP of Financial Services and Insurance Strategy at Pega, many banks were working towards digital transformations before the pandemic hit, but they weren’t all the way there. Banks were on digital transformation journeys to allow customers access through online channels, but none of the banks had completed those journeys. With new challenges and nearly everyone banking remotely, the gaps are now highlighted.
    Banks are faced with struggles from two sides: internally and externally. Internally, employees are forced to work remotely without protocols in place to scale security and efficiency. Internally, banks see the impacts of economic struggles and high unemployment as they face cash flow issues with many customers out of work and unable to make their loan and bill payments.
    As challenges grow and evolve, banks are having to quickly shift resources. Requests like fee waivers and small business loans are going through the roof, so much that banks are having to bring on new employees and shift things around internally to manage the flow. All while employees are working remotely in an industry that never expected to be able to work from home.
    With incomplete digital transformations, banks simply weren’t prepared to handle the huge number of requests and didn’t have tools in place to enable customers to bank without going into a branch. Andrews says most banks started by trying to manage the crisis with basic websites to capture customer requests. Those basic forms collected information, but the requests often had to be handled manually and created a huge backlog.
    Most banks are now moving to the second phase: business stabilization. By now they’ve largely figured how to have employees work from home and customers bank remotely and they’re turning to partners to create more intelligent forms to capture customer requests and automate the responses.
    In Canada, one bank partnered with Pega to create an intelligent form to automate payment request from the government. Within the first three days, the bank automated more than 60,000 payments and allowed customers to make and track their loan concession requests. The digital system was much faster and more efficient than doing it manually.
    For many banks, the pandemic will act as a catalyst towards full digital transformation. Banks and their customers will see that they can’t live without these technologies. Instead of focusing only on certain aspects of the digital transformation by offering digital tools just in certain areas, banks will realize how much they need to fully transform. They need to deliver end-to-end digital journeys that aren’t specific to a single channel.
    Andrews says that in order to be successful, banks must build from the middle outwards instead of starting from the front end or the back end. A full digital transformation allows people to use any channel on the front end and any system on the back end.
    Digital transformation is the future of banking, perhaps now more than ever before. Our world is constantly changing, and banks that offer full digital journeys will be best set up for long-term success.
    This post is sponsored by Pega. About our sponsor:
    Pega is the leader in cloud software for customer engagement and operational excellence. The world’s most recognized and successful brands rely on Pega’s AI-powered software to optimize every customer interaction on any channel while ensuring their brand promises are kept. It’s almost time for PegaWorld iNspire, the annual conference from Pegasystems. Join them online for free on June 2 fr

    • 34 min
    Former Apple CEO John Sculley On The Importance Of Customer Experience

    Former Apple CEO John Sculley On The Importance Of Customer Experience

    Today, Apple regularly tops lists of companies with the best customer experiences and the most innovative products. But that hasn’t always been the case.
    When Apple was founded, few companies even considered customer experience. As the company was first gaining traction, Steve Jobs brought on people who understood customers to take risks and prioritize experience when few other companies were. One of those early leaders, John Sculley, went on to become CEO of Apple.
    The goal of Apple under Steve Jobs was to create beautiful products and an experience so wonderful that everyone would want a computer, even people who weren’t tech-savvy. Instead of focusing solely on the processing power and technical aspects of the products, Jobs, Sculley and other Apple leaders prioritized the design and experience. They understood far before many other companies that without a great experience, customers wouldn’t be loyal, no matter the quality of the product. When all other tech companies were run by engineers and focused only on harnessing processing power, Apple realized that computers were for everyone and that great technology could also be combined with a strong experience.
    In order for customer experience to permeate through a company, Sculley says it must become a core principle of the organization. Leaders set the example of the importance of experience. This is best done when founders see the value of customer experience and make it a foundational principle of the company.
    Sculley says experience has always been relevant, but how it comes to fruition is different now than it was decades ago.
    As an executive at Pepsi, Sculley was faced with the problem of being heavily outsold by Coca-Cola because Pepsi lacked brand recognition. Sculley created the Pepsi Challenge to immerse customers in the experience and show the quality of the product. Pepsi ran commercials of customers participating in blind taste tests. Without a label on the bottle, customers largely preferred Pepsi. While the commercials ran on TV, Pepsi also hosted the Pepsi Challenge at malls and events around the country, giving customers a chance to let their tastes decide. Putting customers in charge of the experience gave Pepsi a huge boost and helped it compete with Coca-Cola.
    Jobs recruited Sculley to work at Apple because he had helped Pepsi outsell Coca-Cola. They shared a love of design and a desire to do something bold for consumer marketing. Focusing on customers helped create a company that today is beloved by loyal customers around the world and known for creating customer-focused products.
    Sculley’s experiences at Pepsi and Apple show the power of focusing on customers and taking bold actions to put customers at the middle of the company.

    • 34 min
    5 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Data To Drive The Supporter Experience

    5 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Data To Drive The Supporter Experience

    A company striving to grow its revenue and an organization dedicated to finding a cure for type 1 diabetes may have different goals, but one important principle stays the same: they have to connect with their audience. Just like customer experience is crucial in the for-profit world, supporter experience drives the success of non-profit organizations.
    In both industries, data plays a vital role. Sri Mishra, Chief Data and Technology Officer at JDRF International, knows that data holds the answers to staying relevant and connecting with supporters, no matter the type of the organization. Data is often overlooked in the nonprofit world, but it is a vital piece of an organization’s success.
    Here are five ways nonprofits can use data to drive the supporter experience:
    Know supporters. For-profit customers are fairly easy to identify, but non-profit supporters tend to be more unique. Mishra says segmenting supporters is the biggest challenge organizations face, and trying to understand supporters manually can lead to data inaccuracies. Data helps organizations understand their many types of supporters and what matters to each group, as well as segment their approach for personalized experiences. See architecture holistically. Nonprofits need to believe in technology and invest in it. That means looking at the technology holistically and considering entire systems instead of just pieces. Holistic thinking allows organizations to connect pieces of data together for a full view of the organization, its supporters and its progress. When an organization sees things holistically, it can predict the future and plan for long-term success. Partner with tech teams. A digital transformation is an organization-wide endeavor. Business teams can’t do things on their own, and the technology team can’t create an effective data system without involvement from the business side. Data brings together the entire organization to unite every department to a common goal. Break down silos. Many non-profits run into pieces of data done manually in different parts of the organization, which creates inaccuracies and inefficiencies. Instead of the data working together to solve problems, it fights against itself and makes it difficult to understand what is really going on. Data allows organizations to automate their systems, which breaks down silos and unites the organization around a cohesive strategy with shared data. Without silos, the organization can run more efficiently and better serve its purpose. Create partnerships with tech companies. Most non-profit organizations don’t have technology resources to tackle data effectively on their own. Mishra says non-profit organizations have to partner with technology companies that understand the world of data and can apply their products to the organization. Strong partnerships help the non-profit adopt data systems more quickly and effectively. Using data effectively can help non-profit organizations fulfill their purposes and meet their goals. To look towards the future and build lasting and effective relationships with supporters, nonprofits have to use data and find the partnerships that make it possible. 
    This post is sponsored by Informatica. About our sponsor:
    Digital transformation changes customer expectations: better service, faster delivery, with less cost. Businesses must transform to stay relevant and data holds the answers. As the world’s leader in Enterprise Cloud Data Management, Informatica provides the foresight to become more agile, realize new growth opportunities and create new inventions. With 100% focus on everything data, we offer the versatility needed to succeed. Explore all that Informatica has to offer—and unleash the power of data to drive intelligent disruption. Please visit Informatica at www.informatica.com. 

    • 34 min
    How Informatica Leverages The Powerful Combination of AI and Data

    How Informatica Leverages The Powerful Combination of AI and Data

    “AI needs data, and data needs AI. They go hand in hand.”
    Those are the powerful words of Ansa Sekharan, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer at Informatica. Data or AI alone is only part of the equation; true success in customer experience comes when the two sides work together. Informatica leverages the power of data and AI to serve its customers and provide tools for its customers to serve their end-users.
    AI and data are a powerful combination for the future of customer experience. But the biggest challenge for companies is to know how to collect good data and act on it. The recent explosion of data provides both challenges and opportunities, but in order to properly leverage data and use it in tandem with AI, companies must know the best data to use.
    Informatica faced a similar problem in knowing how to provide relevant content to its customers. With so much data and content available, the challenge was to narrow down the data. Informatica created a micro-learning program to get the right information to the right customers at the right time. The company collected data on its customers and on a variety of potential information to share with them. Then, using AI to understand each user and where they were in the product lifecycle, it was able to provide relevant content tailored to each customer and applicable to their current needs. Instead of bombarding customers with huge amounts of content, Informatica combined AI and data to provide a personalized customer experience that not only helped customers but also showcased its products.
    Many of Informatica’s customers use a similar approach to AI and data to reach their own customers, Sekharan said. He shared the example of FedEx using data and AI, along with Informatica products, to optimize its delivery routes and improve shipping times. By taking data of what packages need to be delivered and combining that with AI, FedEx is able to create the best routes to more efficiently get deliveries to customers.
    Data helps companies truly understand their customers, and AI allows them to automate much of the experience to deliver customized interactions at scale. Together, data and AI deliver powerful insights into what customers are looking for and how it can be delivered. Informatica realized this firsthand when it switched to a subscription model and started focusing more on relationships and experiences than products. Its data showed that customers wanted strong relationships to choose a product for life, and AI made it possible to deliver on those experiences in a way that mattered to each customer.
    Data and AI are a powerful combination. When leveraged correctly, they can propel customer experience to the next level and create long-term relationships and strong benefits. To successfully use both sides of the equation, companies need to understand their customers, look at the data and find ways to automate personalized experiences.
    This post is sponsored by Informatica. About our sponsor:
    Digital transformation changes customer expectations: better service, faster delivery, with less cost. Businesses must transform to stay relevant and data holds the answers. As the world’s leader in Enterprise Cloud Data Management, Informatica provides the foresight to become more agile, realize new growth opportunities and create new inventions. With 100% focus on everything data, we offer the versatility needed to succeed. Explore all that Informatica has to offer—and unleash the power of data to drive intelligent disruption. Please visit Informatica at www.informatica.com. 

    • 29 min

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