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When it comes to customer engagement, a lot of brands miss the full picture. Once a given user is engaged with your app or website, the experience you give them there is the central factor to whether they grow into a loyal customer To explore how to make that experience happen, we’ve put together another installment of our Broken Vs. Brilliant video series.

When it comes to customer engagement, a lot of brands miss the full picture. Too many companies go all in on customer acquisition without a clear plan for how to retain the new users they manage to pull in. Even when brands DO prioritize their audience’s experience after that first session or first web visit, there’s a tendency to focus on lapsing users and ways that they can be re-engaged. Now, both these efforts are key parts of a thoughtful, full-lifecycle customer engagement strategy, but marketing, growth, and engagement teams are making a lot of unnecessary work for themselves if they emphasize acquisition and re-engagement without taking a close look at the middle leg of that journey: the actual day-to-day experience of active customers.

Once a given user is engaged with your app or website, the experience you give them there is the central factor to whether they grow into a deeply loyal customer (and possible brand evangelist) or slowly drift away. Having a great in-app or website experience is essential, but making that experience all it can be doesn’t just fall on your engineering or website team—customer outreach plays a key role in educating customers about those platforms, highlighting the value of specific tools and functionalities, and creating an experience that feels cohesive, responsive, and seamless.

What does it look like when a brand does that—or fails to? (Like, really, really fails to.) To dig into these questions, we’ve put together another installment of our Broken Vs. Brilliant video series, where we explore the line between broken and brilliant brand experiences with a little help from a (fictional) brand and one of its (equally fictional) customers.

Last Time On… Broken Vs. Brilliant

Sara Hightower-Kellerman — Age 27 — Software Engineer II at Yachtr
UponVoyage Inc. — Travel & Hospitality Bookings

We saw software engineer Sara Hightower-Kellerman gear up for a work conference. Watched her put her faith in travel and hospitality app UponVoyage to get her from Austin, where she lives, to Kansas City, her home-away-from-home for the week. And as the sessions and happy hours and team outings wound down, began steeling ourselves for her trip back to Texas...

When the customer experience goes bad, it can go REALLY bad. Wasted time. Wasted money. Interactions that leave customers feeling unappreciated, neglected, or even insulted. But while no company wants that, the truth is that avoiding these kinds of situation takes more than talented people with good intentions—you can write the greatest push notification known to man, but if it’s pulling in outdated information or contradicting elements of the app or website that the recipients are engaging with, it’s only going to make things worse. To stay out of this danger zone, you need a thoughtful, coordinated approach to the customer experience that takes full aim at entrenched silos within your company, whether organizational or regarding the flow of data between systems.

When a brand experience works, it’s magical. But because so much of the coordination and moving parts operate behind the scenes, the experience that actual customers receive is usually defined by its smooth, effective simplicity. That’s okay. The point isn’t to wow your audience will all the work your doing or the cool technologies you’re leveraging; it’s to make their lives better, their experiences of your brand easier and more valuable, and to set the stage for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. This brilliant flow did just that with a little help from:

Next Time On... “Broken Vs. Brilliant”

Swoon as Sara and Ayesha are reunited. Seethe as UponVoyage reaches out for feedback on Sara’s trip… without resolving her customer service ticket. Thrill as she decides whether to delete the app—or take her usage to a whole new level. Stay tuned for all this and more on the next installment of...Broken vs. Brilliant!

Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan is a New York-based writer and editor. When he's not writing about mobile marketing, customer retention and emerging technologies for Braze (formerly Appboy), you can find him trying to read his way through every Wikipedia article related to World War II.