For 30 years, Chicago Music Exchange has been serving musicians, collectors, and friends who want straight answers, expertise, and first-hand knowledge. They are passionate about what they sell and who they sell to, whether you talk to them on the phone about a vintage Gibson Les Paul gold top, come to the store to check out a new drum kit, or email them about a Marshall amp.

Every team member at Chicago Music Exchange is a musician who pays attention to the details — they’re technicians who have seen and fixed just about everything you can think of, and they love to be challenged on the geeky stuff.

As a premier authority on vintage, new, and used music equipment, Chicago Music Exchange’s goal is to give customers the finest selection of guitars, amps, bass, effects, drums, and percussion in the world — with service to match.

Keep reading to learn how Chicago Music Exchange:

  • Chose a Customer Experience Automation (CXA) platform that lets them get more personal with their customer base
  • Uses segmentation and automation to recommend new guitar strings or drum heads before a customer has to think about it
  • Provides best-in-class customer service and support with ActiveCampaign and Zendesk

Growing out of one platform — and into CXA

The team at Chicago Music Exchange (CME) is always looking to get more granular with their data and get to know their customers better at every touchpoint. As they grew into the size they are today, Mailchimp became unsustainable for the reach and granularity CME wanted.

The CME team wanted to do 2 things:

  1. Get more personal with their customer outreach
  2. Keep communicating with their larger customer base as efficiently as they had before — if not more so

The music gear world is particular — not every guitarist is into the same pedal, and the same goes from drummers interested in different drum heads. It was vital to the CME team that they could provide proactive gear recommendations to everyone on their email list.

That’s why CME chose ActiveCampaign: Customer experience automation (CXA) lets them communicate with their customers at that granular, 1:1 level.

Creating a 1:1 customer experience

“ActiveCampaign gives us a unique look into our customer base. We are able to dive into an audience and then within that audience create more segments. This helps us provide as close to a one on one experience as possible.” –Will Bristol, Brand Manager

By switching to ActiveCampaign, the CME team has been able to communicate with customers at a more granular, personal level. Here’s how CME uses automation to get to know new customers:

  1. A customer visits CME’s website and signs up for their newsletter or promotions
  2. CME uses site tracking and contact scoring to learn more about the new subscriber’s interests
  3. CME’s sales teams gain valuable insights into the customer’s interests, so they know what to talk to the customer about
  4. The customer enters a welcome series automation that shows them the breadth of what CME offers
  5. The beginning of the welcome series is meant to educate and nurture new subscribers, showing off everything from different brands and vintage items to all sorts of music gear
  6. Throughout the welcome series, new subscribers also receive promotions, specials, and information about exclusive CME gear
  7. The last 2 weeks of the welcome series talks about customization options and the benefits of buying from CME
  8. At the end of the welcome series, customers are segmented based on their activity, engagement, and interests

After the welcome series, CME uses segmentation to send customers content based on their purchases, videos they watch, or products they’ve viewed on the CME website.

Providing personal recommendations and customer service at scale

CME’s goal is to provide the best service possible. They want customers to open every email they receive from CME — so they use automation and segmentation to make every email relevant and personal to the customer.

Within 3 months of partnering with ActiveCampaign, CME saw a 15% increase in average open rate.

CXA lets the CME team send different email content to different customers at different times. They can serve customers the content and recommendations they want, when they want them. For example, they’ll check in when it’s time for a customer to change guitar strings or get new drum heads.

They call these moments “lifestyle landmarks” — opportunities to help customers get the most out of their equipment. Each lifestyle landmark has a different automation, which helps the CME team save valuable time. People invest a lot of time and money into music, and the CME team wants each and every one of them to have the best experience possible.

And the 1:1 experience doesn’t stop when a customer makes a purchase; with the Zendesk and ActiveCampaign integration, all communications and assignment of customer support cases are tracked in Zendesk. This keeps the CME support team organized and informed, helping them provide better service throughout the customer journey.