A CX reality check: When good intentions meet clunky execution

Explore the disconnects behind this brand’s customer experience initiative, and how martech and MOps teams can provide viable solutions.

Recently, I had a personal martech experience that prompted me to think about what might be occurring behind the scenes.

I came home to find a flier hanging from my doorknob from Xfinity, my internet provider. My contract is ending soon, and the flier invited me to set up an appointment to speak with a sales representative over the phone to find a new package to switch to before my promotional pricing ends.

A CX reality check: When good intentions meet clunky execution

Xfinity likely wanted to prevent me from visiting one of its stores or attempting to call or initiate a chat conversation at a random time. One of those options would require me to wait in line, which rarely leads to a positive customer experience — let alone waiting for me to wonder why my monthly bill increased by $ 30 or so.

While I’m still wondering why Xfinity sent someone to my home, I began speculating about what potentially is happening here.

Removing friction from the renewal process

I reckon that a group at Xfinity responsible for renewing customer contracts was challenged to find a way to remove friction from the renewal process. A significant source of friction is a customer going to a store or reaching out via a call or chat to speak with a representative. Since this interaction is likely unscheduled, the customer likely will need to sit and wait to speak with someone.

In this case, by providing this flier, the customer could scan the QR code to schedule a call so that there would be less wait time and frustration for both the customer and the representative.  

A red flag

However, when I scanned the QR code, I was taken to a Microsoft Office 365 Forms page with a URL and UX that weren’t Xfinity-branded. It even asked me to trust getting a call from a random “1-800” number on top of that.

A CX reality check: When good intentions meet clunky execution

Xfinity is big enough to have the resources to build branded forms, right? However, while its size grants it the ability to produce branded forms, it also leads to a bureaucracy that complicates creating such a branded experience.

In my case, this instantly threw red flags. Was this an elaborate phishing scam? So, I went into a store anyway, waited far longer than I should have and patiently worked with a representative on my renewal, knowing full well that the front-line representative was just doing their job and wasn’t responsible for the long wait and confusion.


An uneven effort

This made me wonder why I had such an uneven experience. The attempt to smooth out an undesirable experience is sophisticated, but the unbranded form is not.

My guess is that the group charged with smoothing out the renewal process is simply trying to move at the speed of business, which the technical and operations folks could not match. Perhaps they were told “no,” or that a branded experience would take a while to develop, so they decided to proceed with a workable short-term solution, which in many cases seems reasonable.

However, in my particular case, it only caused confusion. I’m far from the only person whose fraud detection is always on alert. While the flier seemed legitimate, the unbranded form linked to the flier was suspicious.

Equipped to help

Martech and MOps practitioners are well-suited to help stakeholders understand the potential concerns regarding a course of action. While a branded form is certainly desired, many other needs compete for finite resources.

For instance, how comfortable are customers with unbranded experiences? While I admit that having that QR code link to a page linking to an unbranded form that requires an Xfinity customer to log in to their account would be clunky, that would have at least made me far more comfortable filling it out.

Since I was uncomfortable enough about divulging personal information through an unbranded form, I endured the in-store wait that everyone was trying to avoid. Further, I doubt I would write about a clunky customer experience, but I’m far more likely to use a suspicious experience as fodder for my MarTech article.

Another way that martech practitioners can help during such situations is to advocate for acquiring tools that are far easier to brand or otherwise customize. Perhaps the company can procure and maintain a form builder for situations like this that can quickly provide a better customer-facing experience while a longer-term solution is in the works.

This is an example of what Integration Platform as a Service (IPaaS) vendors are trying to serve. Such low-code/no-code integration tools are helpful when things need to move at the speed of business, but there are some barriers to accomplishing them quickly.  

Further, Workato’s “The Automation Mindset” book and podcast show how business and technical stakeholders can speed things up sustainably. iPaaS tools are worth considering for martech stacks, but make sure to evaluate such shiny things thoroughly.

This means martech practitioners need to think ahead by involving multiple stakeholders, establishing robust requirements and accommodating both legal and data security concerns. Martech is a team sport, after all.

That’s why practitioners must remain alert and prepared to offer solutions when such scenarios arise. This will help individuals, teams and the broad field prove value.


Finding viable solutions

To be fair to Xfinity, I appreciate its desire to improve the customer experience. Personally, I feel that making an imperfect attempt is far better than ignoring a problem.  

When martech and MOps practitioners are proactively looking for such situations, they can help business and technical stakeholders take the full picture into account when workarounds are required to meet needs at the speed of business.


The post A CX reality check: When good intentions meet clunky execution appeared first on MarTech.


About the author

Steve Petersen


Steve Petersen is a B2B and B2C marketing technologist. He currently is a member of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ Digital Product Team and has also worked in marketing technology roles at revenue management platform provider Zuora and before that at Western Governors University. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He’s also a Certified ScrumMaster and lives in the Salt Lake City, UT area. Petersen represents his own views, not those of his current or former employers.