"TODAY, CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE HAS NAVIGATED TO THE CENTER OF WHAT BRANDS PROMISE AND WHAT CURRENT AND FUTURE CUSTOMERS EXPECT.”- JASON VANDEBOOM, FOUNDER AND CEO, ACTIVECAMPAIGN
Building and investing in a differentiated customer experience used to be thought of as a nice to have but not a critical item. When it made it into the business plan or the balance sheet it did so as a necessary cost of sale – a cost you’d look to reduce where possible.
Today, customer experience has navigated to the center of what brands promise and what current and future customers expect. It embodies the value that your customers are paying for. It turns out a good product with a bad experience attached isn’t such a good product after all.
The levels of anticipation, connectedness, and individualization that customers get from the best customer experiences becomes their reasonable expectation of every business they deal with. Why shouldn’t a car dealership offer the same options for contactless flexible purchasing as a tech company? Why can’t health or financial consultations be delivered virtually when personal training can? If one business can remember what you’ve bought or chosen in the past, why can’t another?
From now on, innovating for growth will mean innovating ways to deliver meaningful, valuable and individualized customer experiences at scale. Those that embrace this challenge, that see customer experience as a route to growth rather than a drag on it, will be the businesses that thrive in the new commercial landscape. Here’s what the future of customer experience will look like:
1. The Future of Customer Experience will be Automated
Traditional automated customer experiences trigger images of impossible phone trees, but when done right, automation is essential for accessing the services you need in a way that’s safe, convenient and effective. During the pandemic, ActiveCampaign has grown its customer base to over 150,000 growing businesses. That growth has been driven by businesses turning to Customer Experience Automation (CXA) to help keep them connected to customers. They’ve quickly discovered that a flexible, automated platform enables them to do far more. They can dispense with manual tasks, focus on what they can do for their customers, and grow at the same time as innovating new delivery models. Companies like Wonsulting, Happy Families, and Círculo are among those using CXA to grow their run rates, revenues and customer engagement over the last year.
2. The Future of Customer Experience will be Non-Linear
Customers and prospects may stumble across you on Instagram or Facebook, purchase from your business after seeing a case study in a blog, and then re-engage after hearing about you in a podcast. One customer may prefer to deal with you via text – another, equally valuable one may feel more comfortable with email. People choose their own path – and the channels through which they engage with brands. The best customer experiences embrace this, understanding preferences and delivering smartly segmented journeys that work with them. They keep customers in control of how they engage – while keeping data connected so that the choices people make never compromise the value they ultimately get.
3. The Future of Customer Experience will be 1:1
The future of customer experience isn’t personalized in the sense of a name or personal detail being dropped into an otherwise standard piece of communication. They are genuinely individualized, segmented and designed based on the signals that people send a business about what they need, what they value and what would be useful for them. These are the experiences favored by the 91% of consumers who report they are more likely to shop with brands that “recognize, remember and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.
4. The Future of Customer Experience will be Designed for Scale
CXA enables companies of every size to deliver the type of unique and valuable experiences that drive growth – and to do so at every stage of their growth journey. By connecting experiences on different platforms through a common source of data, it empowers them to create the experiences that their business and their customers need now, innovating and adding in new elements as the need and opportunity arises.
That is how ActiveCampaign grew from a small business to an over $3 billion unicorn by developing new automations to meet the needs of each growth stage. That provides a map for any business looking to drive sustainable long-term growth by delivering the customer experiences people now expect. It’s the route to the future, and we’re proud to be helping other businesses take it.