Customer Engagement

The (Avoidable) End of a Customer Relationship

Myles Kleeger By Myles Kleeger Sep 18, 2019

To help marketing, growth, and engagement teams see their work from a new perspective, Braze has partnered with Tom Fishburne, CEO and founder of Marketoonist, for a 10-part series of marketing-themed comics.

Each week, we’ll share a Marketoon exploring a different aspect of the customer engagement landscape—and hear a thoughtful response from a Braze employee based on their own experiences and insights.

This week, we hear from Braze President and Chief Customer Officer Myles Kleeger on the (avoidable) end of a customer relationship.

Would you keep reaching out to a friend who hadn’t replied to your calls or texts for years? I didn’t think so. Even if you weren’t quite sure of the details, you’d instinctively understand that something had changed, and that the relationship was dead and gone—like our friend John Doe here.

The folks standing graveside clearly haven’t gotten the message. And that’s a shame, because there is no more important job for marketers than listening closely to each customer in order to understand where they are in the moment. If different teams within your organization pick up conflicting information due to siloed technology and less than agile data processing, the customer relationship is unlikely to thrive. In fact, you could inadvertently be driving your customer relationships to an early grave (to stretch the metaphor).

That’s what happened to me some years ago with a cable provider. The company’s fees were steep, its service was poor, and the customer service was even worse. The painful process of switching, however, kept me holding my nose and paying the bills year after year, even after moving to a new home (normally the perfect moment to make a change).

Then one day, a good three years after the move, I received an expensive, highly produced direct mailer from the provider congratulating me on my “new” home and extending a low-cost introductory offer. At this point, keep in mind, I had been their customer for more than seven years.

Seriously?? The marketing professional in me couldn’t believe that with all the information available to them from my years as a customer, they would include me in this ill-timed acquisition campaign. As a consumer, I fumed over how they valued my loyalty so little that this attractively priced offer went to new customers rather than me.

In an effort to secure a new loyalist, the carrier “killed” a long-time customer and unleashed the polar opposite of brand advocacy. I called a competitor and started the (still painful) process of changing providers that same day. I also photographed the mailer and vented my frustration in a post to my social network, which prompted some friends to drop the company, too.

If you don’t understand where your customer is in the moment, your messaging efforts may do more harm than good. In other words, if your customers are ghosting you, they’ve got their reasons—and it’s up to you to uncover those reasons right away so you can keep them satisfied.

Otherwise, it could be your business that will be pushing up daisies.

Myles Kleeger

Myles Kleeger

Myles Kleeger is the President and Chief Commercial Officer of Braze. He brings 20+ years of experience in the marketing services and marketing technology industries. He focuses on developing and executing the company’s go-to-market strategy as well as managing and scaling a number of departments including Sales, Marketing, Customer Success, Technical Support, Professional Services, and Strategic Partnerships.

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