What Netflix Bingeing taught me about digital experiences

The next time you open Netflix, I want you to try something.

When you see your tailored suggestions and the platform starts the video right where you left off on your iPad, stop and make a note of that experience.

How do you actually feel through these experiences?

Does the handover give you a hint of excitement and gratitude?

Probably not.

Start all over. Imagine opening up Netflix again.

Your recommendations are gone and will be replaced with an unfiltered list of contents. The list feels random, but then you’d expect at least a couple of shows to be of random interest. You are not. That episode you played halfway through on your iPad? You have to scroll back and forth to find your place. Ultimately, you will likely only re-watch parts of the “Just to Be Safe” episode.

If you’re like me (I apologize if you are) you will be more responsive to that moment of friction than the moment of seamless performance. The seamless experience is largely invisible – it is imperceptible – while the bad experience is impossible to ignore. Depending on how bad it is, it will haunt you and at times make you question your life choices.

It can even push you to Hulu or Disney + or some other platform you trust more.

The same dynamics play a role in the digital experiences you deliver to your customers.

2020 and 2021 accelerated the digital transformation in all industries and created new expectations in the private and professional life of your customers.

For them, joy is not the keystone of their experience as your customer; it is the cornerstone on which your relationship is built. Today’s buyers have more options, and disruptors acquire – and hold – new business through the experience they offer their customers.

These new expectations present tremendous opportunities for those willing to rethink their digital experiences and great risk for those who don’t.

Why are so many companies failing to meet these expectations?

Is it because they just don’t care about the customer’s experience? Sometimes – but usually not. A large majority of businesses would like to provide a comfortable experience.

The main reason they don’t do this is because cobbled-together point solutions cannot provide a clear view of the customer.

After all, scaling companies are in a constant state of adjustment. When new needs and opportunities arise, companies introduce a network of individual solutions that solve individual problems: a CRM to manage customer data, a CMS to build their website, and marketing automation to scale their efforts.

As you add more solutions over time, your company’s tech stack becomes so unwieldy that it becomes a barrier between you and your customers, rather than a bridge. It keeps you from getting the agile reporting you need and makes automation a lot more complicated than it should be. It makes personalization unreliable and messaging fragmented.

Since the dawn of the digital age, the status quo has been to rely on a separate CRM, CMS and automation tool. It’s what many marketing executives have accepted as a necessary evil – despite the friction it creates for customers.

How do today’s companies win?

By delivering a premium, unified digital experience that exceeds customer expectations. This requires two basic elements.

1. Information

Any marketing based on assumptions is doomed to failure. Getting the digital experience right for each and every customer on a large scale requires reliable, organized, and actionable data.

Not just ‘Who are your customers?’ But ‘Who is this customer?’ How and where did they interact with you digitally? What do they need from you right now, and more importantly, what will they need from you next?

At HubSpot, we created the customer code with this philosophy in mind: use the data you have access to, and don’t misuse it. But in order to use the collected data to create better digital experiences, all of your customer-facing teams need a single source of data for that data – an important ingredient that is out of reach for companies that still use cobbled-together solutions. This is where centralization comes in.

2. centralization

To deliver a seamless experience across touchpoints, you need to move from ad hoc point solutions to a designed, unified platform that offers a single view of the customer. When a CMS sits alongside key sales, service, and marketing tools in a centralized system, every customer-facing team knows how customers interact with their company and, more importantly, how they can help.

And that’s key: if you want your marketing, sales, and service teams to have a great experience, you have to give them a chance. You do this by aligning and unifying the systems and data you use.

For example, consider a repeat visitor to your pricing page. When both marketing and sales can see this activity, the marketing team can send a discount code or helpful resource that contextualizes your pricing, while sales can contact you to offer a tutorial or a product demo.

With this centralized platform and toolset, you can identify and anticipate customer needs and take immediate action. You can customize digital experiences on an individual level and across touchpoints using the latest insights into customer needs, questions, or interests – exactly the way they expect you to.

The CRM for today’s customer expectations

The answer to these business challenges isn’t just using a CRM. You probably already have one of these. If you’re really unlucky, maybe even two. It probably doesn’t allow you to just do everything I’ve just described, and it probably can’t deliver the seamless experiences your customers have come to expect.

Instead, you need a CRM platform specifically designed to meet today’s high customer expectations. one that you can adapt to changing customer expectations, align your teams accordingly, and take over without a tedious battle over change management. (And no, there are no change management battles that go downhill).

To implement this digital experience on a large scale, you need to rethink the underlying components of the experience itself.

The focus is on the customer-facing parts – your website, email content, advertising, member portals. But only touchpoints that are supported by a modern, specially developed CRM offer the personalization and timeliness that distinguish an average digital interaction from an elite interaction.

And whether it’s Netflix, HubSpot, or your corner café, delivering great customer experiences is key to navigating uncertain times, succeeding in the digital age, and ultimately getting better.

digital experience

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