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Can You Please Review the Product You Never Received?

Here's the story of how our product marketing manager purchased a yoga mat from lululemon, and got herself into a broken customer journey. And how it could have been avoided

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“Personalized marketing” is no longer an innovative marketing strategy, but a must.

There is growing anticipation by customers that all communication with them will be aligned. Regardless of whether it comes from a marketing channel, from support, or the product itself, customers see the brand as one entity and expect the brand to do the same.

This is not just a matter of customer expectancy. Great marketers strive to keep their messages and automation as harmonious as possible, to provide one holistic experience to their customers.

However, there are situations that we call a “Broken Journey,” in which customers are forced to engage in simultaneous, non-synchronized conversations with a single brand. These happen when the brand’s communication channels fail to transfer crucial information or when marketers fail in campaign orchestration leading to contradictive messages.

These experiences can have a detrimental impact on the customer experience, leading to dissatisfaction and possibly churn.

Here we will go over such a case of a broken journey that I recently witnessed – one that involves cross-departmental data and synchronization. Mis-sync – to be exact – brought to you by lululemon and its campaign orchestration post-purchase.

Please review the product that you never received

Lululemon, a leading athletic apparel retailer, is my favorite activewear brand. They are considered a favorable brand with a cult following, praised for their high-quality products, free consultation service, and superb in-store and online shopping experience.

But, as my personal story shows, even a brand of that stature can turn a loyal customer into a frustrated one when facing bad orchestration.

Back in mid-July, I ordered a new yoga mat and received an email notifying me that my new mat has been shipped and on its way. So far, so good.

When it comes to shipping outside of the US, it usually takes approximately a week for lululemon’s shipment to arrive. After about a week and a half without any further communication from the brand, and since I did not receive a tracking number, I decided to reach out to their customer support.

Their support team investigated and exchanged emails with me for about a week – they checked internally, I checked with my local post office, and this has been going on for a while with both sides updating each other every day or two.

While I was waiting for my mattress, I suddenly received this email:

Well, I wish I could fill out this form, but as lululemon should have known by now, I never received the product.

After replying to this email by sharing my frustration, lululemon decided to refund the order. That is, of course, the best move they could make given the circumstances.

This could have been avoided with smart orchestration and a unified customer view.

Lululemon’s orchestration went wrong because they did not take customer support data into account when orchestrating their campaigns.

Cross-departmental data management is a big issue, especially for large brands that are traditionally built on siloed teams and data management systems. Regardless, there’s no excuse for not having a unified customer view in 2020.

This orchestration blooper could have been solved by synchronizing customer support data with marketing data. For example, Optimove has a simple integration with Zendesk, allowing brands to avoid such mistakes easily.

By integrating customer support data into the marketing communication platform, the marketing team could have quickly excluded me from the campaign by excluding customers with open tickets.

While lululemon’s decision to refund me was the right thing to do, the bad experience remained. Furthermore, lululemon could possibly avoid the refund if they never sent this email.

Broken Journeys are something that we can and should avoid in today’s marketing. And this can only be achieved with the right tools. The art of orchestration and its vitality in today’s marketing strategies is not questionable. More specifically, integrating customer support data into marketing campaigns is an essential building block in having a 360 view of your customers.

Lululemon can avoid such broken journeys in the future by unifying their data and improving their orchestration.

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Dani Amitay

As a Product Marketing Manager at Optimove, Dani's focus is on product adoption and retention among existing customers. She has a rich background at the intersection of product and marketing, leveraging both to create sustainable growth. And if you’re ever traveling to Tel Aviv and need any advice on the trendiest yummy spots, send her a message on Instagram.