Why One Bad Customer Interaction Could Haunt Your Brand

by Anne Reuss

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The micromoment of the Month contest has come to a close.

A bad customer interaction claimed victory.

An email. But there’s a good lesson.

When you evaluate customer interaction and touchpoints, the potential impact of each one on the total customer experience should be considered. Reality is, the little things like that one, just ONE impersonal email, cripples the customer experience. We might not always hear about it, because they’re sneaky. They come in the form you know we obsess over: micromoments (the balance between love and hate as our friend Marti says).

Our contest winner Genene Murphy shared a customer service email with us. Her final comment was,

“God, I really love bad customer service. Plus, Continental just makes {name} look bad.”

It only took one email to create this impression on her. What happened? Genene and her husband Mike went to a dealership to trade in their Volvo to buy a used car. After their visit, an email was sent to Genene addressing Mike:


A few things to note:

  • Mike never disclosed his email address.
  • The trade in was never mentioned.
  • Genene and Mike were not interested in any “new {insert product/service}” sender forgot to add in what looks like a template email.
  • It lacks personalization.

Customers are not to be treated like an assembly line.

As a consequence, like Genene said, the sender looks bad. Unfortunately. It feels as if the person went on autopilot and filled out a bland template. It makes you wonder why this ugly customer interaction happened. Who is in charge of the email templates and do they have to be used every time? Isn’t there room for personalization? Who else within the company needs to understand this because it’s also very likely that the sender didn’t create this template and the business doesn’t advocate customer experience enough.

According to Bain & Company, a customer is four times more likely to defect to a competitor if the problem is service-related than price or product-related!

Become proactive and highlight potential opportunities to to minimize risk of losing a lead or creating a bad customer interaction (and experience) when you map out your customer touchpoints. You don’t want it to haunt you.

Genene, many thanks to you for bringing this educational piece to our attention!

Now, how about some quick fun ones?

Honorable Mentions

These submissions made us cringe, laugh and nod our heads in approval. The following are from Casudi, Bruce Wenger & Paula Kieger.

Mannequin Doll Slows Down Speeders on Lopez Island (AKA The Friendly Isle)


Epic 365 Day Return Policy


Ring Bell Dampens Fun in State Office Worker Cafeteria (as if it wasn’t dull enough or are they trying to be funny?)


For previous micromoments of the Month, dive into our listly list:

[listly id=”6YA” layout=”full”]

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