This past week I was in New York to work with some of our clients, but while there, I also attended an Acquia* Customer event at Hearst Tower. It was a chance to reconnect with my analyst past. Rather than just walking down memory lane and a chance to take in NY from the 44th floor. I was there with my EX (Employee Experience) and KM (Knowledge Management) hats on. Ever since a speaking engagement in Delhi in 2019, Deep Analysis has been pushing the idea that EX can learn much from CX . Hence this was a chance to listen to and hopefully speak with customers and marketing firms at the cutting edge of CX. And to see what the EX world could learn from their lessons of the past two years of chaos. I walked away (overpriced Uber, actually) with a couple of thoughts lingering in my head.
1: No Patience
A key theme was that customers’ patience levels had fallen over the past couple of years. They want even quicker responses to questions and ready answers online, or they will jump ship quickly if they don’t get this. Fair enough, but as we all know, that requires a change in the back office as much, if not more than it does in the front. Counterbalancing this in some respects was the consensus that long-form content is back in fashion. Customers are increasingly prepared to read and, in fact, expect thorough descriptions and answers to complex questions. Again that’s one thing to fix if we are talking about a product description, but another challenge entirely if we are talking about customer support inquiries.
2: Millenials don’t rule
Another key takeaway was the recognition that pre-Covid was all about digital-native millennials, not so much in June 2022. A great anecdote from one of the panelists illustrated this. His 80-year-old father had never ordered online in his life pre-Covid. Now he is a regular on Grubhub and has even started spotting and buying bargains on Alibaba. That’s something we should maybe all give some thought to; the status quo shifted during the pandemic. The reluctant had a crash course on going digital, and there is no going back for many. Although 80-year-olds will always be a niche target market, those from Gen X typically have more money to spend.
It was wonderful to spend time with clients this week, as Zoom calls don’t come close to the value gained in meeting face to face around a conference table. A place where arguments and disagreements are wrangled to a positive outcome, business relationships forged, and friendships made. And from those conversations, I can say with certainty that both amongst long-established tech vendors and startups alike, there is an understanding, and much discussion, of the critical need to prioritize EX and back-office processes, particularly in stormy economic environments. Those who have been around a while in this industry know that sales often grow fastest in the toughest of times, as efficiencies need to be made and costs saved. Even so, there is always an on-ramp and readjustment to remind and educate both buyers and investors alike that to save money, you also need to invest in the right places to make the necessary changes.
*In full disclosure Acquia is a Deep Analysis client; we researched and published a paper for the firm on the topic of EX in 2021. (Moving from Intranets to Employee Experience Platforms)