The relationships between customers and brands form the core of business success. How well are brands interacting with customers? Are they listening to customer feedback across various engagement channels to improve experiences? Sure, product matters, but today’s experience economy with a high degree of product parity, customers are starting to value the brand experience more than other factors.
“We live in an experience-scarce environment, not a product-scarce environment,” said Kristi Knight, CMO at InMoment. “Why would I choose to do business with you if you’re not giving me a great experience?”
In fact, Knight says she actually drives past two grocery stores to get to the one she “just likes more.” It’s why brands are starting to invest heavily in Customer Experience (CX) and trying to better understand customer behavior trends and the factors that contribute to increased – and reduced – spending.
In an era of digital transformation, however, measuring and understanding customer experience is more difficult than ever. Engagements are taking place across multiple channels and touchpoints, at any time, across geographies, and for many reasons. As a result, understanding customer needs – and then meeting them – is a challenge.
It’s one of the reasons the Customer Experience Management market is expected to grow significantly over the next six years, reaching nearly $24 billion by 2026, as businesses invest in technology to measure customer experience and feedback. But, it’s not just about the measurement and feedback technology – it’s what you do with the information the technology delivers and your ability to affect organizational change create differentiation in a constantly evolving market, according to Knight.
“One of the challenges is the experiences themselves are evolving more rapidly than the programs trying to measure them, creating a vacuum, and that’s what we’re trying to solve,” she told me. “Companies have been investing in CX, but the tech alone isn’t enough, and services alone aren’t enough.”
InMoment is changing that paradigm for its customers by bringing the two elements of CX management together when it acquired MaritzCX. The combination of the two firms creates a formidable presence in the CX market by combining two pioneers in the Voice of the Customer space – both featured among Leaders (InMoment) and Strong Performers (MaritzCX) in the recently released Forrester Wave Q1 2020 report for Customer Feedback Management.
It’s not often you see two companies with this much market power come together, but there are strong synergies between the two product portfolios and relatively little customer overlap, providing an instant revenue opportunity for both sides.
“The opportunity for two companies of this size to come together is a little unusual, but what’s really exciting is the complementary nature of the two companies from a philosophical, technological and culture perspective,” said Knight. “I’ve been in tech for over 20 years and part of more acquisitions and mergers than I care to count, and to have one of this size and scale be as complementary as it is a happy consequence of what we’re doing.”
Because of the modern architecture underlying the solutions, there is going to be very little forced migration where customers will have to choose one platform over the other. One of the things Knight is excited about is the combined brand’s ability to offer the best of both solutions to customers. Customers will be able to benefit from the collection component of the MaritzCX system and have it interact seamlessly with the analytics and recommendation engines from InMoment. Of course, there will be some integration required to make it work, but Knight says that will be non-disruptive and transparent to customers and she looks forward to bringing an exciting new set of CX capabilities to its customers.
That includes an increased use of artificial intelligence, which Knight says intimidates a lot of people. Even from a customer survey standpoint, she explains that AI can be fairly simple, but impactful. For instance, the ability to create a dynamic survey mechanism that adjusts and personalizes surveys based on customer responses is much more engaging and relevant for customers, making them more likely to provide meaningful feedback. That’s something the company is already doing – but what about the next level of AI?
“I would love to eventually see the same technology in voice and video,” said Knight. “It’s difficult today from a technology perspective to have that kind of branching and logic, but I see a future where we can do it.”
While the brand will continue to use the InMoment name, Knight says when the transition has been completed, the result will be a bigger, better version of InMoment that represents the heritage of both companies. That includes the leadership team, which will be led by InMoment CEO Andrew Joiner and includes representatives from both companies.
The emergence of AI as a business tool, including customer experience management, is key to businesses as they undergo digital transformation projects. The disruptive potential AI brings to communications and operations – including customer engagement and experience strategy – will be the focus of the Future of Work Expo, the next edition of which will take place in Miami, Florida, February 9-12, 2021 at the brand new Miami Beach Convention Center as part of the TechSuperShow.
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