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Social Influencer Series | Customer Experience Futurist & Author, Blake Morgan

Social Influencer Series | Customer Experience Futurist & Author, Blake Morgan

I saw a post recently on Linkedin that really captured the essence of what we do here at Lithium Technologies and what I believe to be the most important strategic investment of the modern enterprise - Customer Experience. It turns out that this simple post came from the renowned Customer Experience Futurist, Blake Morgan.  

"Why is it that in the moments that matter most – we spend the least amount of resources and effort to take care of our customers? It’s this lack of self-awareness that will be the demise of the world’s biggest companies. The bigger the company gets, the harder it seems to be to create one experience for all customers. However shouldn’t it be easier for bigger companies to create compelling customer experiences because they have more resources to do so?" - Blake Morgan

I had to meet her and interview her for the Social Influencer. What a great find! Her book More Is More and the work that she is doing around Customer Experience, really captures the essence of how important delivering CX is to the modern enterprise. 

Blake Morgan is a Customer Experience Futurist. Her first book is "More is More: How The Best Companies Work Harder And Go Farther To Create Knock Your Socks Off Customer Experiences." Blake is adjunct faculty at the Rutgers executive education MBA program. Blake contributes to Forbes, the Harvard Business Review and the American Marketing Association. She is the host of The Modern Customer Podcast and a weekly customer experience video series on YouTube. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband, daughter and their two Yorkie rescues.


Here is a snapshot of what Blake had to say: 

More is More is a ground-breaking book on how to deliver the modern Customer Experience. How important do you feel Customer Experience for brands to compete today? 

You know when you've had a powerful customer experience. You're in shock - you can't stop talking about it. Why would a good customer experience make a customer go bananas in a good way? The reason is most customer experiences are largely terrible. Companies make life harder on customers to make it easier on their own company. That's not a great way to build a relationship. When a company actually delivers on their promise - when the company makes a customer's life easier and better - it comes as a surprise to the customer. Customers have learned to not expect much from brands. There isn't much that differentiates one brand from the next. However if your brand delivers stand-out customer experiences customers will come back, they will tell their friends and family. Unmemorable customer experiences should be the one thing keeping your CEO up at night. 

Who do you think is responsible for delivering CX? 

Ultimately I believe it's the CEOs responsibility to have an attitude of customer obsession. That infectious attitude will impact the entire leadership team, and the whole company. The CEO can't be surprised that their employees aren't customer-centric if all they talk about is sales and quarterly profits. I can guarantee you that if the CEO says something is important - and makes decisions based on that attitude - the entire company will follow. People talk about a "say/do" ratio - we need leaders that talk about customer experience, and actually take actions that reflect that attitude. I've recently spoken with author and Altimeter Partner Charlene Li on The Modern Customer, my podcast show, and we talked about Founder/CEOs. Most companies that show explosive innovation, risk-taking, and investment in CX have founders that are also the CEO. Look at Amazon, Apple and Facebook. These are CEOs that don't make decisions based on what wall street will say - but what they believe is the best thing for the customer, and the long-term. If a CEO is afraid, they might make decisions based on looking good that quarter - and that can have a negative impact on the quality of the customer experience. 

What companies are getting right? 

In my book More Is More I talk a lot about companies from the sharing economy, because as far as mobile customer experiences, customer engagement, and making customer's lives easier - they seem to get it. Examples come from Airbnb's digital offering and Uber's wallet-less payments. While we all are a little sick of hearing about Amazon, their self-service and commitment to the customer is unparalleled. Netflix does a great job of serving up in-context customer experiences, where it picks up right where you left off on a show. Every customer experience should be so seamless - just like watching a Netflix series. The technology should move with the customer. Most companies today cannot say that they always know where their customers are in the customer journey, who they even are, or what the customer needs, 

What role do you think social media plays in the modern customer experience? 

Companies today have more feedback than they've had at any time in history. Just because you've set up a twitter account doesn't mean you are using the tools correctly. Social media gives brands the opportunities to listen to customers, and meet customers where they are. Social media allows brands to make customers' lives easier and better. Brands should be listening and solving the customer problem on the channel the customer wants to engage on. Providing a 1-800 number through a twitter direct message is not a positive customer experience. Every time you make the customer repeat themselves, you are chipping away at your brand equity a little bit more. What is the experience you personally would want to have with a brand? That's the experience you should be providing. If the most senior executives at your company do not know what the customer experience is on every dark corner of the web, that's a problem. Customer service IS marketing - and there is no place that is more evident than on social media. 

What advice would you give a brand that is behind the curve in their approach to leveraging social against CX? What is the short to-do-list? 

Get your leadership team together so you can align customer experience with business strategy - across the company. Social is one important piece of your customer experience. Once you have aligned business strategy with customer experience across the company - your customer experiences will improve. It will be easier for your contact center team to get the resources they need to staff up for social media contact center volume. If you're doing it right, this volume - including 1:1 messaging - should be steadily growing. Your added resources should reflect that.

Speed Round:

What is your proudest accomplishment?

Two weeks ago I flew to Melbourne to keynote a tech conference for 600 people. Why? Because I had a baby a year ago - and as a family we are figuring out how my husband (who is also a speaker) and I can both grow our careers. I feel I am challenging myself and I have the support I need at home to be able to do that. Now I know what Sheryl Sandberg meant when she said LeanIn. When you have a baby the last thing you want to do is put yourself out there. But I think having a baby made me stronger. I want to model strength for my daughter. I want to show her how you can be a leader even when it's not always easy. 

What is your celebratory cocktail? 

Coffee with Califia Farms coconut-almond milk creamer. I am a morning person so morning parties are preferred. 

What is your go-to social channel for brands? 

Facebook is pretty unbeatable when it comes to how they are growing all types of media and engagement. I was just there at FB HQ last Thursday to interview their messenger product owner for my podcast show. We are going to see huge growth and exciting new capabilities for brands with messenger.

What is your go-to social channel for you? 

I have to say LinkedIn has been - hands down - the best business and brand building tool for me personally. It's a wonderful professional business networking tool. I post there habitually. I get a lot out of it. I love that I can message anyone. I take it seriously.  

Inspirational #Hashtag? 


About the interviewer:

Mark Keaney is a Husband, Dad, Coach, Mentor and Leader. With over 20 years of experience in the media industry and a wild ride in the world of tech start-up & social - Mark is helping brands deliver world class CX at Lithium Technologies, where he is the Regional Vice President of Sales for the East and Central. His mantra is - Brand Globally. Market Locally. 

e: markkeaney8@gmail.com or t: @markkeaney2pt0

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