I’m writing today to talk about how things change, and about how they don’t.
When we first launched JRNI in 2008, it was as a solution for appointment scheduling. Now, twelve years later, appointment scheduling is still a core part of who we are - but after working with some of the most recognized global brands in both the retail and financial services industries, we’ve become much more than that, too. Because, at the end of the day, JRNI doesn’t exist to schedule appointments - we exist to serve the needs of our customers.
What we’ve observed over the last twelve years is that customer expectations are evolving - and as 2020 began, we saw a sea change coming. It became clear: Appointments were no longer just about appointments. Consumers didn’t want to simply buy a product or a service anymore. At the core, a product or service might fulfill their basic need - but it wasn’t what would keep them coming back for more. Turning a customer into a loyal customer isn’t about selling them something - it’s about giving them something they can’t get anywhere else. It’s about providing an experience.
As we looked back at the evolution of our platform over time, and at the plans we had made for the future, we made sure our product strategy reflected what the market was telling us: That what our customers needed wasn’t to schedule appointments - what they needed was to deliver personalized experiences. And they needed a platform that would be able to support that goal at scale.
It was a change, but it was a change that had been coming. It made sense. And at JRNI, we were ready to embrace it.
Then COVID happened.
In March of 2020, everything changed. At JRNI, we had to take quick action to shift our focus and product strategy to reflect the current circumstance. We had to recognize that brands needed different solutions than what anyone could have anticipated - like immediate and simple tools for allowing them to continue to conduct business while keeping their customers safe - and that their customers’ needs had changed too. We knew that this change would be long-lasting. And we wondered how experiences would continue to play a role. We knew the journey forward would be different from what we’d expected, but we didn’t yet know exactly how.
As 2020 unfolded, we learned. We watched our customers respond, we watched their customers respond, we listened to what both groups had to say. And what we heard, believe it or not, was unanimous: We, as consumers - as humans! - need experiences more now than we ever have. As we Zoom into our work, as we Zoom into our school, as we Zoom into weddings, and birthdays, and baby showers - we crave human connection more than we crave any product or service. It was already happening, but COVID made it happen faster. A world where experiences are more important than things was already coming - and now it is here.
We built JRNI as a solution for appointment scheduling - and it still is. But in the last twelve years, we’ve made ourselves into something much more than that. We’ve made ourselves into a platform that doesn’t just help our customers schedule appointments - we’ve made ourselves into a platform that helps our customers deliver exceptional experiences. We call it experiential relationship management - XRM, for short - and we’re looking forward to showing our customers what it can do for them.
At JRNI, we wondered how COVID would change things. And, of course, it did change things. But also: It didn’t.
What was true at the beginning of 2020 turns out, after all, to still be true - to be, perhaps, truer. The brands that were thriving before were the ones that knew they had to do more than sell something, and the brands that will continue to thrive are the ones who embrace that idea not as a temporary strategy, but as a real and permanent change.
I’m proud to be part of a company that can help lead that transition. And I look forward to showing our customers, their customers, and the rest of the world what it means to change an appointment into an experience.