204 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
    • 4.8, 28 Ratings

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.

    How To Master Customer Experience Leadership

    How To Master Customer Experience Leadership

    A customer focus and strong customer experience starts from the top. In order for companies to be totally customer-centric, they must have strong leaders. 
    However, we’re facing a leadership crisis today where most leaders don’t know how to lead. Jacob Morgan (who just happens to be my husband) is a best-selling author and expert on leadership and the future of work. As he was conducting research for his book, The Future Leader, he came across this startling statistic: most people become leaders in their mid to late 20s, but they don’t receive formal leadership training until their late 30s or early 40s. That means most leaders go more than a decade without any training. No wonder we have such a lack of strong leadership. 
    To be effective, leaders have to take training into their own hands. The first step is to create your own definition of leader and leadership. We are surrounded by leadership, but few of us can actually define it. Establishing a definition allows companies to create filters for who they hire and promote. Those filters ensure that the organization is filled with consistently great leaders instead of a mix of great and sub-par leaders. 
    Jacob’s definition of leadership is being a lighthouse. The purpose of a lighthouse is to shine light on ships in the harbor and guide them to safety and success. Similarly, a leader’s purpose is to guide their people and organization to success. But a leader lighthouse is useless without ships. Leaders can’t just focus on themselves—they must focus on others. 
    From interviews with more than 140 top CEOs, Jacob created the Notable Nine: the skills and mindsets leaders need to adapt to succeed in the future of work. These skills are crucial to becoming a customer-focused leader and creating a culture of customer centricity. 
    Mindsets
    Explorer: Become a perpetual learner, be curious and focus on agility and adaptability. Chef: Balance humanity and technology. Servant: Serve your leaders, your team, your customers and yourself by being humble and vulnerable. Global citizen: Surround yourself with different people and look at the big picture.  Skills
    Futurist: Look towards the future and think through different scenarios. Yoda: Practice emotional intelligence and empathy. Translator: Develop listening and communication skills Coach: Motivate and engage others and create effective teams across geographies and generations. Technology teen: Embrace new technology and be tech-savvy.  A common element for all leaders, especially those leading through the current uncertainty of COVID-19, is to focus on people, not profits. Successful leaders develop their people, set a vision, engage and coach them to be more successful. They are focused more on engaging their employees than hitting their quarterly revenue goals. As Jacob says, putting people first is a philosophy backed by a set of actions. Don’t just believe it—you have to show it. 
    Customer experience leadership impacts the entire organization. In order for a business to succeed, leaders must focus on people and strive to become lighthouses that guide others to success.
    Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist, keynote speaker and the author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. Sign up for her weekly newsletter here.

    • 35 min
    The Secret To Creating A Great Virtual Event

    The Secret To Creating A Great Virtual Event

    For most people around the world, the excitement of attending an in-person event has been replaced by sitting in front of a computer screen. As the coronavirus pandemic cancels in-person events of all sizes around the world, more companies than ever before are taking their events online. But staring at a screen isn’t nearly as engaging as seeing something in person, and many companies and event attendees have struggled with the new format. 
    Abhishek Vanamali, CMO of Zensar Technologies, is a strong believer in virtual events. Although they can’t exactly replicate in-person events, he believes virtual events are the future and have the potential to offer amazing, engaging experiences for organizers and attendees. 
    Vanamali’s advice to create an amazing virtual event comes down to this: stop thinking about limitations and embrace what’s possible. 
    Many organizations focus on what virtual event platforms can’t do—things like not being able to network one-on-one, raise a real toast or test out new products. But to plan a successful virtual event, no matter if it is a huge conference or a small team meeting, organizers must change their thinking to see what’s possible. Vanamali says that everything we thought isn’t possible virtually is actually possible in some form. The first step for event organizers and marketers is to educate themselves and discover the possibilities of virtual events. 
    Virtual event technology has come a long way in recent years, even before the pandemic hit. There are numerous platforms available that offer features like registering attendees, facilitating breakout sessions and allowing attendees to chat with each other during sessions. 
    When looking at the possibilities of virtual events, the sky's the limit. Technology makes it possible to create nearly any kind of event in a unique and memorable way. Vanamali shared the example of a high-end auction house that was forced to take its auction online. Instead of being weighed down by the idea of selling high-end art without customers seeing it in person, the company created a full-blown production. It ran an all-day virtual event complete with green screens, professional lighting, expert auctioneers and interactive content to tell the story of the art. The virtual auction wasn’t simply a recreation of an in-person auction—it was a new type of event that leveraged technology and helped the company sell $420 million of art online. 
    One of the biggest challenges of virtual events is keeping participants engaged. It’s one thing to sit in a room with hundreds of other people and absorb a presentation, but it’s completely different to be alone at home with dozens of distractions. The Zensar Technologies annual sales meeting addressed this challenge when it added a gamification element for its 300 attendees. While the event was happening virtually on one screen, attendees were also using a companion mobile app to scan AR markers on presentation slides. The person who scanned the most markers over the three-day meeting won a grand prize, and participants got competitive as the leaderboard changed. Zensar also used the app for trivia contests and quizzes between sessions. Vanamali says participants were engaged by the unique gamification piece, which led them to pay more attention to the content and have a better experience. 
    The global pandemic has put virtual events at the forefront of business, and they aren’t going away any time soon. Now that companies have seen the potential of virtual event technology, more events will stay virtual or adopt a hybrid model. To create a great virtual event, remember to embrace technology and consider its many possibilities instead of getting weighed down by its limitations.
    This week’s podcast is sponsored by Zendesk.
    Things are a little weird right now. The sudden change in the world

    • 32 min
    How To Use Data To Create Personalized And Scalable Experiences

    How To Use Data To Create Personalized And Scalable Experiences

    With a wealth of customer data available, companies have more opportunities than ever before to deliver personalized customer experiences. But creating a unique experience for each person can take valuable time and resources. Successful companies leverage data to balance personalized experiences with scalable interactions that appeal to everyone. 
    Bryan Flores, Group Vice President, Marketing & Strategy at Frontier Communications, says companies must weigh the tradeoffs between individual experiences and universal truths. The aspects of the experience that apply to everyone are universal truths—things like nobody wants to pay more than they need to or the idea that the service always needs to work. Those universal truths should be table stakes and a built-in part of all experiences. 
    Individual experiences, on the other hand, can change depending on the type of customer. Each person has different needs and preferences, such as a Frontier Communications customer who prefers to stream video on their smartphone versus someone who uses wireless internet to homeschool their children on a laptop. Both customers want the same universal truths—dependable internet at a fair price—but how they receive the service and their interactions with the company will be different. 
    All experiences rely on data to be effective. Flores says his company looks at a huge array of data to truly understand its customers, both on a large scale and an individualized basis. Data shows how customers are using the internet, what devices they use to stream and watch TV and what they are looking for in their own experiences. Data shows consumer trends and individual preferences. 
    Data is also a powerful tool for employees to better know the customers they are serving. Flores says using technology to make employees’ lives easier can greatly impact the customer experience by giving employees the tools they need to provide excellent service. Data powers dashboards that make the most pertinent consumer information available to Frontier Communications representatives. When a customer calls, the employee can quickly see their transaction history and preferences to provide a unique experience, while also understanding the larger data for the entire customer base. The employee may know that the wider customer group in that geographic area uses the internet primarily at certain times a day and can combine that information with what they can see about the customer, such as that they work from home, to recommend the best internet to meet their needs. 
    Leveraging data allows companies to provide individual experiences at scale. Instead of having to sort through data individually or take time to get to know each customer, companies can rely on data to track customer interactions and predict what each customer wants and needs. Data can also pinpoint why customers do certain things to offer a clearer understanding of their lifestyles and habits.
    Modern companies don’t have to choose between individualized experiences and scaled experiences. By leveraging data, they can have both. Taking advantage of data makes employees’ and customers’ lives easier and helps everyone get a customized experience, no matter how many customers there are.
    This week’s podcast is sponsored by Zendesk.
    Things are a little weird right now. The sudden change in the world—and the world of business—has created new challenges. A lot of companies are struggling to keep up with what matters most: their customers. Zendesk is here to help. They put together a six-month complimentary Remote Support Bundle. To learn more visit www.Zendesk.com/modern.

    • 32 min
    How To Overcome The Two Big Challenges SMBs Face As They Reopen

    How To Overcome The Two Big Challenges SMBs Face As They Reopen

    After months of stay-at-home orders and closed doors, small businesses across the globe are starting to reopen. But the world they face today is drastically different from the one they were operating in just a few months ago. To succeed in this new world, small and mid-sized businesses need strong resources and support systems. 
    According to Kim Dixon, COO of FedEx Office, SMBs face two main challenges as they reopen:
    Managing regulations and customer expectations. Businesses need to follow safety guidelines, but it can be confusing to know which regulations are the most accurate and up to date. On top of that, changing customer expectations place a higher emphasis on health and cleanliness. SMBs face the challenge of making sure they have clean environments and clearly communicating their practices and protocols to customers Getting business back. After being closed or partially closed for months, small businesses have to grow awareness with new marketing efforts and clear communication. They also have to adjust how they operate and the marketing materials their customers use in store, such as switching to single-use menus or individual flyers. Overcoming these challenges can be overwhelming to small and mid-sized businesses, especially as they traverse an unknown world and anxious customers. As FedEx Office navigates its own transition in the COVID world, it also creates experiences to help its customers with their reopenings. 
    According to Dixon, the first priority for FedEx Office and other SMBs should be to create a clean and safe environment for customers and employees. In most cases, that means establishing new health and cleaning protocols, switching from reusable to disposable or digital items and adding tools like hand sanitizer and face masks. Once a business has created its cleaning processes internally, it can communicate those practices with customers through direct marketing, mailers and email and social media updates. 
    Within the businesses, many items need to be rearranged or spaced out to accommodate social distancing. Many small businesses use social distancing floor graphics to make sure customers are properly spread out. Customers won’t return to a store if they don’t feel safe and clean. Establishing processes and clearly communicating them with customers is one of the most powerful marketing messages during the COVID pandemic.
    FedEx Office also sets the example to its SMB customers of how to interact with their own customers. FedEx Office created special pricing and promotions to help during tough economic times and made in-demand resources, such as templates for social distancing signs, easily available to customers. Similarly, SMBs can follow the example to make things as seamless as possible for customers.
    FedEx Office also listens to customers and regularly implements their feedback to eliminate pain points and improve the overall experience. Customers weren’t satisfied with the design offerings, so FedEx Office partnered with design leader Canva to make it fast and cost-efficient for brands to create beautifully designed materials. To survive in the current global landscape, SMBs need to listen to their customers and find ways to make their lives easier by eliminating pain points.
    Small and mid-sized businesses face an uphill battle as they reopen in the middle of a global pandemic. But finding strong partners and resources and clearly communicating with customers can help them overcome their biggest challenges.
    This week’s podcast is sponsored by Zendesk.
    Things are a little weird right now. The sudden change in the world—and the world of business—has created new challenges. A lot of companies are struggling to keep up with what matters most: their customers. Zendesk is here to help. They put together a six-month complimentary Remote Support Bundle. To learn more visit w

    • 29 min
    Pinterest and the Future of Shoppable Content

    Pinterest and the Future of Shoppable Content

    People browse Pinterest for inspiration on recipes, fashion, home décor, health and wellness, travel and much more. But in the future, that browsing could easily turn into shopping. Pinterest is leading the charge for smooth, shoppable content—the future of retail and customer experience. 
    According to Dutta Satadip, Chief Customer Officer at Pinterest, the company tries to strike the balance between knowing when to personalize and when to scale. Customers want relevant recommended content, but they also want access to a wide range of ideas. Most customers come to Pinterest to find something, so Pinterest is moving in the direction of not only showing users the content they are looking for, but also making it seamless to instantly purchase that item. The vision of shoppable content is that in the future, every pin is a starting point for shopping. Instead of simply using Pinterest as a way to get inspired, users will be able to seamlessly go from pin to purchase and trust that they will get high-quality products.
    Although it might seem like a relatively simple problem, Satadip says it is actually quite complicated. 
    One of the big obstacles to overcome is when Pinterest users find images on the site but don’t know where to actually buy those items. They may see a great beauty product or piece of furniture, but clicking through the image doesn’t take them to a place where they can buy it. Pinterest and its advertisers are working together to eliminate friction and drive more shoppable content. 
    To do so, Pinterest is making sure its shoppable links are for reputable sites. Satadip says Pinterest doesn’t want to connect customers to vendors that don’t sell high-quality merchandise or don’t portray an accurate representation of their products. If a customer clicks through Pinterest to purchase a clothing item, Pinterest wants to make sure that what the customer ends up getting matches the original image. To that end, Pinterest created its Verified Merchant Program. Once a seller has been verified as trustworthy, they receive a checkbox by their name so that customers know the brand is trusted. The program is a win for both customers and retailers because verified retailers can get wider distribution, and customers can purchase with confidence. Building trust is the first step to making customers feel more comfortable clicking through an image and giving their credit card information.
    The future of shoppable content comes from finding the balance between personalization and scale. High-quality items have to be scaled to be available to everyone across a wide range of topics, but users also want personalized recommendations to purchase things that match their lifestyle. Satadip says Pinterest is working on finding the balance between high-touch services, such as the white glove Verified Merchant Program, and tech-touch services that use data to scale product recommendations. The secret to building strong shoppable content is to combine humans and technology—both sides are needed to give users a frictionless experience.
    As the line between social networks and shopping blurs, shoppable content will appear on many platforms. Pinterest is setting the stage to play a major role in shoppable content that is as smooth as it is beautiful.
    This week’s podcast is sponsored by Zendesk.
    Things are a little weird right now. The sudden change in the world—and the world of business—has created new challenges. A lot of companies are struggling to keep up with what matters most: their customers. Zendesk is here to help. They put together a six-month complimentary Remote Support Bundle. To learn more visit www.Zendesk.com/modern.

    • 34 min
    3 Digital Improvements All Utility Companies Must Make

    3 Digital Improvements All Utility Companies Must Make

    In an age where most consumers interact with companies through websites, apps and other digital channels, the utility industry is constantly lagging behind.
     
    A recent report from JD Power found that customer digital satisfaction in the utility industry is substantially lower than other industries. As companies in nearly every other industry, even notoriously antiquated industries like insurance and banking, prioritize the digital experience and provide innovative and convenient digital solutions for customers, utility companies lag behind with outdated channels and methods. According to Jon Sundberg, Senior Manager of Digital Communication at JD Power, utility companies update their websites an average of once every five years—a lifetime in the digital space—meaning that most websites look and feel outdated and offer a clunky user experience.
     
    By not embarking on a digital transformation, utility companies run the risk of becoming digital laggards. Aside from dissatisfied customers, Sundberg says they are also missing a chance to become more efficient and reduce costs. Without convenient digital tools to find answers, track their energy usage or pay their bills themselves, customers are forced to call the company, which is one of the most expensive customer service methods.
     
    To stay relevant and build a stronger experience, utility companies must prioritize these three digital areas:
     
    Apps. Fewer than half of utility companies across the country have apps, meaning they are missing out on a convenient and cost-effective way for customers to track their account and energy usage. Even companies with apps need to take them one step further. Sundberg says apps need to go beyond the base-level of convenience and move towards offering advice and real-time notifications about how each customer can reduce their energy load to lower their bill and help the environment. Online chat. In most other industries, online chat is standard practice, but 80% of utility companies don’t offer the service. Instead, customers are forced to connect with the company on the phone or in person, which is not only less convenient for customers, but also much more expensive for companies. Mobile website. Because utility companies update their websites so infrequently, most sites aren’t optimized for mobile. Modern customers predominately visit websites on mobile devices, which means utility websites need to be streamlined to help customers find the updated information they need on the go.  
    Digital transformation is crucial for every company, no matter the industry. Because utility companies often don’t face as much competition, they tend to be slow to adopt new digital solutions, which makes life much more difficult for customers. As utility startups gain steam around the country, competition is increasing, which means it’s more important than ever for utility companies to offer a strong digital experience. The best digital experience is built around customers and starts with companies listening to customers to find out what matters to them. Prioritizing feedback and creating convenient digital solutions for customers can set utility companies up for long-term success.
    This week’s podcast is sponsored by Zendesk.
    Things are a little weird right now. The sudden change in the world—and the world of business—has created new challenges. A lot of companies are struggling to keep up with what matters most: their customers. Zendesk is here to help. They put together a six-month complimentary Remote Support Bundle. To learn more visit www.Zendesk.com/modern.
     
     

    • 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
28 Ratings

28 Ratings

pfsprague10 ,

Blake is a CX superstar

Blake does a great job communicating the comprehensive value of a CX program - from development, to marketing, and execution. I look forward to learning and growing alongside this podcast

Swiley1 ,

New Listener

I recently discovered the Modern Customer podcast and have received tremendous benefit from the guests and topics addressed. Recently I listened to the episode featuring Bryan Flores on How to use Data to Create Personalized and Scalable Experiences. A lot of great though provoking- relating to “universal truths” and creating dashboards to help jump start customer relationships.

I find great ideas in each podcast that I can immediately relate to my business and my customers. Totally recommend!

G_rad12 ,

Great Podcast - Relevant and Timely

Found this podcast and Blake via LinkedIn and it is both relevant and timely. How will business adapt and change to continue to be successful. This podcast will charge your creativity, help with insights into customer acquisition, and make you think differently.

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