How often do you think about your marketing or sales strategy beyond a campaign?

The campaigns that businesses send out shouldn’t be standalone instances of marketing – they should all be working towards a common goal, which is to make a great customer experience.

ActiveCampaign’s Senior Director of Brand Alex Gammelgard lives and breathes customer experience. As something that’s becoming one of the biggest business differentiators, Alex was ready to go at This Just Works with tips about how to create a good customer experience.

“In some of my last roles, I was seeing how customer experience was becoming such a big differentiator – especially in verticals that are struggling a little bit more like retail. And what we’re seeing is that there’s a clear difference between the winners and the losers – and customer experience makes a difference,” says Alex.

How can brands work to differentiate themselves and do better by customers and make their experience good and compelling enough to become repeat customers?

Alex has you covered.

This session was presented at This Just Works, the digital anti-conference. You can see the full session (and 14 other talks) by registering here with code TJWAG2020.

The soul of ActiveCampaign is the customer experience

“ActiveCampaign sells customer experience automation software. We live and breathe customer experience. Our solution is for small and medium businesses. And we help them automate across all the normal touchpoints – email marketing, marketing automation, CRM, and support. And our goal is to really help companies of any size provide that one to one super personalized customer experience,” says Alex.

ActiveCampaign’s customer experience is automated all around the world at the important touchpoints.

“Customer experience isn’t just about what happens after you buy. It’s infused in the way you market. It’s your sales experience, and then all of your support.”

“Customer experience” is not a buzzword

Of all the marketing buzzwords you see pop up everywhere, you won’t find “customer experience” among them. It’s a pillar of business, not a passing phase.

“Customer experience is not actually an abstract theoretical thing. It’s not just nice commercials and friendly people. There’s actually a science to it. When you think about why Amazon is so successful, or why Netflix is so successful, you see that there are things that these businesses have in common – things that are easily demonstrable that you can use in your own customer experiences,” says Alex.

There are patterns to the way that the best CX companies deliver a better experience. This matters in terms of not just keeping the customers that you have, but also affordably growing your base of customers and bringing new people on who can later become your brand advocates.

Numbers don’t lie. When you deliver a good (or a bad) customer experience, people notice.

“I think if you take away one truth about CX, it’s this – you already have a customer experience and it is impacting your brand. It’s either positive or it’s negative, and there is zero middle ground on this. You’re either killing customer experience or it is killing you,” says Alex.

Sounds harsh, but it’s true.

People are very open to switching brands, and the single biggest differentiator – more important than product or pricing – is experience. People choose new products and new brands based on who gives them the best experience, and customers will move if you don’t pay attention to your own.

“The most important pillar of customer experience is, are you creating a one-to-one feeling personal experience for people? Do they feel like you know them personally and are delivering to their personal needs?” asks Alex.

Marketers have always thought of sales as being a one to one experience and marketing as a one-to-many. But it’s completely possible for marketing to emulate a one-to-one feeling experience. And consumers are starting to expect it.

Customers want to feel noticed and appreciated, and it’s up to your business to make that experience a reality.

But when there are so many places to reach out to customers, how do you reach them all?

Automation!

If you haven’t tried any kind of automation before, give it some thought. Automation can help you reach different groups of people quickly and easily with the right type of messaging. And you can use automation to help with 3 tips to boost your customer experience.

3 customer experience tips that are effective for businesses.

  1. Repackage your content for better usage and value
  2. Learn how to blend digital with a human touch
  3. Make the most of post-purchase engagement

Tip #1: Repackage your content for better usage and value

“I think most of us suffer from content overload. Most of us have a ton of content, and we’re always creating more to show new functionality or whatever the reason. And a lot of times that strategy actually works against providing that personalized experience. You don’t need to show everybody everything that you have,” notes Alex.

Sometimes instead of creating new content that can potentially overwhelm your customers (choice paralysis is real), it’s better to look at the content you probably already have which addresses some of those needs.

Start bucketing all of your content and ask yourself, “are we serving up personalized content? OR are we just throwing the world at everyone we know?”

“A lot of people are good at creating one kind of nurture email path that is personalized, but then their website experience or the way they promote it on social ads doesn’t align to it. And sometimes the marketing will be personalized but then someone comes back to the website and only sees the same generic content right on the web,” shares Alex.

“One way that we’ve solved this ActiveCampaign is with Pages. This is a new feature that we launched very recently, that lets our customers build landing pages that actually map to the segments they’re tracking and show their customers a page with tailored content that changes for different visitors. And you can automate a lot of that,” says Alex.

This type of personalized customer experience kicks off an ultra-personalized nurture flow that makes sure your leads get the best and most relevant content possible while sending them down the right segmented workflow – and you probably don’t need to create a lot of new content to do it.

Tip #2: Learn how to blend digital with a human touch

“Another opportunity a lot of companies don’t take advantage of is your sales team. We do this great marketing and set up these personalized and really engaging pieces of content. And then we keep that divider line between the digital and the real world stuff. A lot of sales teams end up flying blind and are set up for failure,” says Alex.

“They might know a person’s name and what company they work for, or some basic demographics. And they might even know how someone came to your site or became a lead. But are you getting sales?”

Marketing and sales alignment is important — as important is doing it with a blend of human touch and digital reach.

If a person visits a pricing page, that kind of info is as helpful to a marketer as it is to a sales rep.

When a sales rep sees a lead in the queue, they know that the reason this person is here is that they care about ABC. And maybe the sales rep is trying to sell a new product, or maybe this lead just wrote a review about their purchase. The sales rep should read that review before getting on the call with them. That type of detail is highly important if you want the sales interaction to feel like a natural extension of the entire experience.

“I think we all would agree that someone visiting the pricing page is a good indicator of something important. We would assume they’re interested and get that lead on the phone with sales. But that may not always be the right track for them,” says Alex.

“If someone is on the pricing page and they’ve also just filed a bad NPS score or there was a delay with their product, they may be thinking to themselves, ‘why am I paying so much for this solution’? You want your support team reaching out and contacting them, and you want them to have those details. and you really don’t want support reaching out to someone who is thinking to themselves ‘do I still really like this product? Is it providing me value?’”

“On the other hand, if someone is looking at specific functionality, and they go to the pricing page, you absolutely want sales calling them. And maybe even have your sales reps ready and anticipating their needs by sending them some additional information about, let’s say, upgrade options that they’re looking at. Create that ‘reading their mind’ feeling and just be really helpful,” says Alex.

Tip #3: Make the most of post-purchase engagement

“This is something you can do in the moment where providing a good customer experience actually can give you the best bang for your buck. And this is also an area that a lot of people overlook,” says Alex.

“The moment right after somebody buys, that’s the time where a lot of companies think that the job is done and it’s time to back off. And actually, this is the time that you really need to be engaged and following up.”

The right kind of follow-up (at the right time) can make a huge difference in your customer relationships.

If you get your support order in the mail that’s the moment when you’re going to be the most jazzed about support. And if you’re not, that’s probably an indicator that something went wrong. Wouldn’t it be great if someone got in touch with you and kind of figured out what the problem was?

“We have this setup in ActiveCampaign where, after a purchase, we trigger an automation that allows people to reiterate their experience. You can send something as simple as a star rating request via email or social or mobile – however you want to capture that feedback. Based on what they say – if it’s positive, this is absolutely the moment of excitement that you can cash in on where you can ask them for an official review. Don’t be afraid to do that!” says Alex.

This is the moment where they’re going to help you do your marketing because you’ve provided a great experience. Now they want to thank you.

And don’t forget these key takeaways!

  • Repackage your content for your high-opportunity segments
  • Blend digital with a human touch
  • Make the most of your post-purchase engagement

To download the full recorded This Just Works digital event, go here to register with code TJWAG2020!