Words by Sebastian Rumore
Customer Experience is an increasingly important thing for businesses to think about in the 21stcentury. Selling is no longer as simple as having the right product. There are many different new ways to buy and an endless number of businesses to buy from. This means that if businesses can’t succeed unless they offer more to make the path to purchase seamless.
Few people know more about the customer experience that Blake Morgan. In fact, Blake has written two books on customer experience and gives talks about about improving the customer experience (and what these changes mean for businesses).
Blake also writes for Forbes magazine, Harvard Business Review and Hemispheres Magazine and hosts The Modern Consumer Podcast and YouTube video series. Somehow she managed to fit us into her busy schedule so that we could better understand how customer experience is changing.
HE: Customer experience is changing. What have been the biggest changes in recent years?
BM: Technology. We’ve seen amazing advances in technology that allow brands to connect with their customers in new ways and serve them like never before. And the experience economy. People are moving towards less and often prefer experiences over things. They want to make memories and build connections instead of just buying products.
HE: How do these compare to changes that happened in the last century?
BM: Everything moves much faster now. The amount of change we’ve seen in the last decade is equal to the changes that occurred in the century before.
HE: What are some significant pain points which affect the customer, that are yet to be overhauled by more modern customer experience patterns?
BM: We’re still not at a completely seamless experience for many companies. Customers are often frustrated by having to repeat themselves with each person they talk to and getting the runaround with different information depending on who they talk to in the company. Many organizations are working to improve these problems and create a stronger omnichannel experience, but not everyone is there yet.
HE: Do you think changes to customer experience have been positive or negative?
BM: Definitely positive. Customers have more power, and brands have more tools and resources to find creative solutions to meet their needs.
HE: What role has data analytics played in this change to customer experience?
BM: Companies can now have a better understanding of their customers. They can track trends and predict what will happen next and build profiles of each customer to provide a personalised experience.
HE: Which companies and industries offer the best customer experience?
BM: Retail, finance and hospitality tend to deliver amazing customer experiences. These industries are being disrupted by innovative new start-ups, which means both old and new companies are having to adjust their customer experiences to compete and be memorable. These industries connect with their customers, build lasting relationships and go above and beyond to provide customized service and recommendations to each person in quick and convenient ways.
HE: Which companies and industries perform worst in terms of customer experience?
BM: Telecomm, healthcare and insurance are regularly on the bottom on customer experience rankings. These industries are slower to change and innovate, despite
HE: Is there one company that you think is currently transforming the way businesses treat the customer above all others?
BM: Amazon sets the bar incredibly high. Amazon is constantly innovating and finding solutions to better serve customers. It promised one-day shipping to get items to customers quicker, provides a seamless shopping experience between devices and uses technology to create amazing services and experiences.
HE: What is your advice for anyone who feels like they need to transform the way they think about and manage the customer experience?
BM: Talk to your employees and your customers! They have all the answers. A strong customer experience starts with a strong employee experience, so talk to your employees about their challenges and what the company can do to improve. Get to know your customers. Find out what they like about your company, why they do business with you and what can be improved. You can’t deliver and manage a high-quality customer experience if you don’t know the people involved.
HE: What have been your greatest success or proudest achievement since you’ve started working at improving the customer experience?
BM: Helping to create and shape the conversation. When I started writing about customer experience 10 years ago, it wasn’t on most people’s radar. Now, brands it’s a crucial part of doing business and there’s a robust conversation about how it can continually improve. I’m proud that I got to pave the way for this important topic.