Here’s A Common Customer Experience Problem - And How To Avoid It

Posted: Updated:
Ali Cudby is the founder of Your Iconic Brand. Ali Cudby is the founder of Your Iconic Brand.

When responsibility for customer retention is dispersed throughout a company, you can end up with some unexpected – and negative – consequences. Not only can it impact revenue and relationships with existing customers, but it can also hurt sales efforts with new customers. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to combat these problems.

As I chatted with someone at a recent event, they shared a story that crystallized the risk. The person, we’ll call her Morgan, told me about a customer experience with a product she was thinking about buying to solve a problem for her company. Here’s her story:

A couple weeks ago, I saw a visually compelling ad online, which drove me to click through and sign up for a free trial with a project management tool. 

Immediately afterwards, I received the standard welcome email. About 10 minutes later, I got another email that explained what my next steps should be. Less than three hours after than, a third email arrived. Two hours later, yet another email pinged, inviting me to attend a live webinar.

With all of that inbox action, in one afternoon's time, I was driven to unsubscribe.

I played in the tool for about 15-minutes but never took the time to dig in. Given my poor experience getting too many emails, I was afraid I would be bombarded if I continued using the platform.

Maybe the company intended to send Morgan four emails within a few hours, but it’s unlikely. What’s more probable is that the solution provider had different departments within the company reaching out to Morgan.

The welcome came from marketing. The webinar invitation was from customer success. Another email seemed to come from the sales team. In all of those cases, the intent was positive. Everybody was trying to provide a positive process to introduce her to the product. However, the effort didn’t seem coordinated. Who was monitoring the overall experience from the customer’s perspective?

The initial barrage of emails caused Morgan to unsubscribe, which cut off future communication. When a company can’t email a prospect, it creates a serious block to relationship building. Worse, the emails soured her interest in the tool itself by undermining her trust.

The company ultimately turned off a potential customer. This pattern is all too common, and it’s deadly.

When companies fail in one area of the customer experience, it bleeds into customers’ feelings about the company overall. Companies often think that customers are won or lost based on the quality of their solutions, but in reality, customers buy when they feel confident their needs will be met. Not just with the product, but by the relationship. In this case, the emails meant Morgan didn’t feel like it was a relationship at all.

As Morgan said, "It came across like a prime example of departments not communicating or considering the customer experience."

Because of their messy emails, Morgan no longer felt confident about the company. A problem that originated with the company’s communication meant Morgan no longer believed they would become the solution to her problem. As she shared, if they weren’t paying attention to the customer’s experience with their initial emails, what else would they overlook?

In this scenario, everyone lost. The company lost a potential customer and Morgan lost the chance to solve a business problem she genuinely needed to solve. “Had I gradually been introduced to the company’s solution and walked through the steps, I wouldn't have disengaged,” she said.

Companies can assume the customer experience falls to customer success or customer service departments, but customer success teams can end up competing with sales and/or marketing to engage with prospects and customers. In Morgan’s case, communication from too many departments undermined her experience.

Fortunately, there is a simple solution to help you avoid undermining relationships with prospects and customers.

It begins with an objective audit of your customers’ experience.

•  What are all the touchpoints a customer receives from your company?

•  Are touchpoints coordinated in both tone and strategy?

•  Are they optimized for the company’s overall objectives?

•  Does the experience make prospects and customers feel barraged, ignored, or valued?

Mapping out the answers to these questions with customers in mind can help your company avoid the pitfalls Morgan experienced. When your communication is delivered thoughtfully and strategically it will inspire new and existing customers to believe that your services will be equally targeted.

  • Perspectives

    • Richardson is a practice lead with Centric Consulting.

      How to Create Consistent and Positive Customer Experiences with Your Brand

      Everyone knows that keeping the consumer happy is the first priority. The importance of considering the customer’s experience in all areas of engaging with your business, not just customer service is becoming even more clear. I’m seeing an increasing number of my peers in the marketing world take ownership of the customer experience with their brands. As a result, we’re all learning how to borrow and...



Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • (image courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      U.S. Steel Updates Layoff Notice to State

      Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE: X) has updated the State of Indiana regarding its previously announced layoffs at the East Chicago Tin Mill. The company says 314, rather than 307, workers will be displaced when the mill is idled this fall. 

    • Red Star announced plans to expand and add 18 jobs.

      Larwill Medical Device Maker to Expand, Add Jobs

      A Whitley County-based medical device maker has announced plans to expand its facility in Larwill which should mean new jobs. Red Star Contract Manufacturing Inc. says it will invest $1.6 million in real estate improvements and additional equipment and will create 18 new jobs by 2022. 

    • Regal Beloit is closing in Valparaiso. (photo courtesy; The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Valpo Bearings Plant to Close, Eliminating 160+ Jobs

      Wisconsin-based Regal Beloit Corp. and the union representing workers have reached an agreement about the closing of a helicopter bearing factory in Valparaiso. According to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana, the decision will cost between 160 to 170 workers their jobs. 

    • (WISH-TV Photo)

      Clif Bar Expands Indy Bakery

      California-based Clif Bar & Co. has completed a $10 million expansion of its commercial bakery in Indianapolis. The company says the project involved a more sustainable redesign of the facility for its employee-owners with a greater focus on energy efficiency.

    • AM General & Fiat Chrysler announce plans to build military grade Jeep Gladiator pickup trucks.

      AM General, FCA Collaborate on New Military Grade Jeep

      Nearly 80 years since the first jeep rolled off the assembly line, and helped support American soldiers throughout World War II, it appears the trusted four-wheel-drive machine may be making a comeback in the U.S. military. South Bend-based AM General LLC has teamed up with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to build military-grade versions of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator pickup truck.