Poor Integration and Sales Bombardment Equals Bad Customer Experience

It’s hard to create good customer experience when sales teams are not aligned and compete against themselves.

Credit: iStock

When customer-facing personnel from the same organization, including across different divisions, are not integrated, customer experience is likely to suffer. It may go unrecognized, but eventually the ultimate one suffering is the company itself, with lost sales.

Poor integration, combined with lax management, can cause the classic “left hand, right hand what the heck is going on syndrome.” And the terrible question: Who’s managing the customer touchpoints?

Thanks to Cision and PR Newswire, I’m such a victim. Good news, though. It’s a mild case and I’ll be fine.

I use PR Newswire on behalf of a major client. It’s been a positive experience. The product works well, and their service and account teams are strong.

Last year, Cision finalized its purchase of PR Newswire. Now, Cision is aggressively pushing expanded services to its customer base. It feels like a “first one to the customer wins” contest!

2017 began with a good communication, though. In February, I received a nice introductory note from my new account executive, with her contact details. I responded with a quick update about my client’s plans.

Unfortunately, the communications went downhill fast.

Later in February, a form email under the account executive’s name was zapped to the CEO of my client. Of course, he sent it to me.

“As your Account Executive I would like to review your communications strategy to better understand the tactics and solutions you can incorporate that will enable you to meet your 2017 marketing and PR goals. Click the “CONTACT ME” button to connect with me for a complimentary strategy consultation.”

In fairness, the CEO is also listed on the company’s account profile for access and continuity purposes. But the previous account executive knew I was managing the business and was the primary contact.

The new account executive should have known, especially after our email exchange. She didn’t or her CRM system let her down. Either way, a bad customer experience for me. To her credit, she handled it well, appreciating my alerting her to take the CEO off the direct marketing list.

Then, the Cision “left hand, right hand” follies kicked in.

Credit: iStock

• March 21st. Email from Sales Executive, Major Accounts. He reached me via an email address on my client’s website, even though he said he knew I was a customer of PR Newswire.

• April 11th. Email from Business Development Associate.

• April 25th. Telephone call from Business Development Manager, followed by an immediate email. In fairness, his outreach rationale was that his marketing team told him I’d attended a recent Cision webinar (I did on March 29th). Did they tell him I was a PR Newswire customer?

Enough already!

Why can’t Cision and PR Newswire get their act together? How about one account leader managing and coordinating the suite of services?

I know Cision, the parent company, is trying to “educate” and upsell me. That’s fine. I’m interested to learn about new capabilities. But, it’s not a fit for my client right now. How many times do I have to tell them?

Look, I’ve worked extensively on the corporate side and understand what’s going on with the challenges of the merger and different parts of the sales organization being fed leads and not being in sync. It happens. But it shouldn’t.

The cumulative effect is that I’m getting annoyed. And it’s starting to, in a very tiny way, change my positive experience and brand perception of PR Newswire.

Attention, Cision. Please get organized and stop having different team members ping me. I’m on your email distribution list for news and webinars. That’s fine for now. I know where you are and will reach you when needed. Thanks.

P.S. As I was finishing this post, I received a phone message from PR Newswire. Really. The account executive said she received a notification that the CEO requested a call, but she knew to speak to me first. She’d go ahead and call him next. OY!!

Harvey Chimoff is a versatile marketing and business team leader who believes good marketing sells. Contact him at StratGo Marketing, a plug-in marketing department resource for company leaders.

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