The next time you open Netflix, I want you to try something.
When you see your custom recommendations, when the platform starts the video right from where you left off on iPad, stop and take note of the experience.
How these experiences really make you to feel?
Does handing over the device make you excited and grateful?
Start again. Imagine reopening Netflix.
Your suggestions have been lost and replaced with an unfiltered content list. The list seems random, but you would expect at least a few shows to offer random interest. No it is not. This episode you’ve halfway through on your iPad? You need to scroll back and forth to find your place. After all, you’re probably just watching some episodes of “just for safety”.
If you are like me (sorry if you are), you will react to this moment of friction more than a moment of smooth performance. A smooth experience is largely invisible – it is unknown – while a bad experience is impossible to ignore. Depending on how bad it is, it will haunt you and sometimes make you question your life choices.
It may even take you to Hulu or Disney + or any other platform you trust more.
The same dynamics apply to the digital experience you offer your customers.
2020 and 2021 accelerated the digital transformation across the industry, creating new expectations for your customers’ personal and professional lives.
For them, being happy is not the cornerstone of their customer experience; it is the cornerstone on which your relationship is built. Today’s buyers have more opportunities and infringers can acquire and maintain new business through the experience they offer their customers.
These new expectations offer enormous opportunities for those who are willing to rethink their digital experiences, and enormous risk for those who do not.
Why are so many companies failing to meet these expectations?
Is it because they just don’t care about the customer experience? Sometimes – but not usually. The vast majority of companies would like to offer a pleasant experience.
The reason why they do not do this is mostly because the point solutions assembled with cobblestones cannot give the customer a clear overview.
After all, scaling companies are in a constant state of adjustment. As new needs and opportunities arise, companies are introducing a network of customized solutions that solve discrete problems: CRM for managing customer data, CMS for creating their own website, and automating marketing to expand their efforts.
Over time, as you add more solutions, your business suite will grow as cumbersome as it gets a barrier between you and your customers instead of a bridge. This keeps you from the quick reporting you need and makes automation more complex than it should be. This makes personalization unreliable and messaging fragmented.
Since the dawn of the digital age, the status quo has been to rely on separate CRM, CMS and automation tools. This has been accepted by many marketing executives as a necessary evil – despite the friction it causes to customers.
So how do today’s businesses win?
Providing best-in-class, unified digital user experience that exceeds customer expectations. This requires two main elements.
Any marketing based on assumptions is doomed to failure. Reliable, organized and feasible data is needed for each individual customer to get the right digital experience.
Not just “who are your customers?” but ‘who is that customer? “How and where have they communicated with you digitally? What do they need from you right now and more importantly, what do they need from you next?
We built at HubSpot customer code with this philosophy in mind: use the data you have access to, don’t abuse it. However, in order to use the data collected to create a better digital experience, all of your customer-centric teams need one source for that data — a key component that is outside of the companies that still use the assembled solutions. There comes centralization.
Providing a seamless experience at touch points is actually the transition from ad hoc point solutions to a crafted unified platform that offers the customer a unified view. When the CMS is located in a centralized system alongside key sales, service, and marketing tools, each customer-focused team knows how customers interact with their business and, more importantly, how they can help.
And that’s the key: if you want your marketing, sales, and service teams to provide great experiences, you must give them a chance to fight. You do this so that the systems and data they use are aligned and connected.
For example, consider a repeat visitor to your price list. If this activity is seen by both marketing and sales, the marketing team can send you a discount code or useful resources that contextualize your price, while sales can turn to instructions or offer a product demo.
With this centralized platform and toolkit, you can see and anticipate customer needs and take action right away. You can customize your digital experience individually, across touchpoints, using the most up-to-date knowledge of your customers’ needs, questions, or interests – exactly as they expect.
CRM for today’s customer expectations
Responding to these business challenges is not just about using CRM. You probably already have one of these. If you weren’t really lucky, maybe even two. It probably won’t allow you to just do something I just described, and it probably won’t deliver the smooth experience your customers expect.
Instead, you need a CRM platform designed specifically to meet the expectations of today’s customers to the skies; one that you can adapt to changing customer expectations, align your teams, and deploy without the uphill battle of change management. (And no, downhill there are no change management battles).
To make extensive use of this digital experience, you need to think through the components of that experience itself.
Customer-focused pieces – your website, email content, advertising, member portals – are in the front and center. However, only state-of-the-art CRM touchpoints provide the personalization and timeliness that distinguishes the average digital communication from the elite.
And whether it’s Netflix, HubSpot or your corner café, providing an elite customer experience is the key to moving in uncertain times, thriving in the digital age, and ultimately growing better.