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Only 12% of Consumers Say Big-Box Retailers Exceed Their CX Expectations, Leaving Opportunity for SMBs in 2023

New data from ActiveCampaign reveals SMBs need to focus on problem solving and response times to compete in the new year

ActiveCampaign, the leader in marketing automation, revealed through its latest survey that consumers’ loyalties aren’t etched in stone as we approach the new year. In fact, only 12% of respondents said big-box retailers exceed their overall customer experience expectations, signaling ample opportunity for SMBs to swoop in and gain their loyalty. And yet while there is opportunity this holiday season and beyond, a few challenges still remain. 76% of consumers said big-box retailers are better than SMBs at solving their customer experience problems and 71% said big-box retailers are better at responding to them in a timely manner. While many growing businesses are trying their hand at TikTok virality, NFTs and the metaverse, this data proves flashy tactics aren’t the answer to improving the customer experience at scale. As small businesses prepare for 2023, their top customer experience priorities should be problem-solving and response times. 

ActiveCampaign 2023 Readiness

Using ActiveCampaign, businesses are able to make that happen. In fact, one of ActiveCampaign’s major product initiatives this quarter includes platform speed enhancements, helping companies more effectively communicate with their customers

Additionally, ActiveCampaign has orchestrated over 200 billion customer experiences so far this year, allowing SMBs to respond to and help customers faster. If SMBs fail to provide fast customer service in 2023, they are going to fall behind.

Top 3 Small Business Tips to Improve Customer Experience and Beat Large Retailers in 2023 

  • Automate your CRM: When businesses incorporate ActiveCampaign CRM’s personalized automation into their sales process, they will close far more deals, without any extra effort or manually managing time-consuming processes. One key reason their automation will be so much more effective is because the CRM is so personalized, using each prospect’s behavior to trigger the right next message — all the way to closing the deal. ActiveCampaign’s CRM enables businesses to scale without spending any additional time or energy, or hiring more staff.
  • Save time and focus more on customers: Nearly half of businesses using ActiveCampaign report that they now spend more time talking to customers because of time saved using automations. Small businesses, especially, rely on automation to combat the tight bandwidth of a small team and limited resources. That’s why the general population shouldn’t be fearful of automation taking over jobs, but optimistic about the better experiences and balance it provides.
  • Get more out of your transactional message: Through ActiveCampaign, businesses can send transactional emails such as confirmation orders, password resets and shipping notifications that are branded and provide information that goes beyond that one automated message. Additionally, transactional communication through ActiveCampaign allows consumers to respond to the brand’s messages, whereas most of the time they are sent from [email protected]. All of these features enable businesses to solve customer problems and get back to them faster.

2023 Small Business Customer Experience Tips From Experts 

“Every small business has its own unique products and services. Therefore, every small business should have its own unique customer experience as well,” said Jason VandeBoom, founder and CEO of ActiveCampaign. “Loyal customers are going to expect fast response times and 1:1 customer service. As businesses scale, it gets harder to maintain those 1:1 experiences. To do so, they will need to automate routine tasks, including their CRM and email marketing. By implementing automation where this technology shines, humans can focus on talking and listening to their customers.”

“Since redesigning our sales pipelines with ActiveCampaign’s CRM automation, we’ve improved in three main areas,” said Jessica Manca, founder of Managing Mindspaces Coaching. “First, transparency between sales and marketing qualification efforts for every customer and lead. Second, flexible automations better align with real-life customer timing and readiness, saving time on repetitive sales tasks and follow-up. Finally, improved visibility to the customer journey with a pipeline that automates onboarding and monthly accountability for current and repeat customers.” 

“Through our integration with ActiveCampaign, we know our joint customers are always going to receive the solutions they need to grow their businesses. Saving them time to focus on their own customers’ needs is priceless.” said Hilary Yeganegi, Partner Marketing Manager at Calendly. “We look forward to continuing to innovate and iterate alongside ActiveCampaign to help our thousands of customers succeed in 2023.”


About ActiveCampaign 
ActiveCampaign’s category-defining Customer Experience Automation Platform (CXA) helps over 185,000 businesses in 170 countries meaningfully engage with their customers. The platform gives businesses of all sizes access to 850+ pre-built automations that combine transactional email and email marketing, marketing automation, ecommerce marketing, and CRM for powerful segmentation and personalization across social, email, messaging, chat and text. Over 70% of ActiveCampaign’s customers use its 900+ integrations, including Microsoft, Shopify, Square, Facebook and Salesforce. ActiveCampaign is one of only 17 products with over 10,000 positive customer reviews on, scoring higher in customer satisfaction than any other solution in Marketing Automation, CRM and E-Commerce Personalization and is the Top Rated Email Marketing Software on TrustRadius. Start a free trial at