Opening Up: Have You Been Scared Away by a Bad Customer Experience?

Is your digital experience sending customers running? Acquians share how bad customer experiences have caused them to sever brand relationships.

bad customer experiences fear

Is your digital experience sending customers running for the hills? Whether it’s a mobile layout that looks like it was designed in the dark, a swarm of irrelevant email promotions or a creepy attempt at personalization that goes over the line, a poor customer experience can frighten customers away for good. 

Acquia CMO Lynne Capozzi recently revealed the results of our Global Customer Experience Trends Report. The research showed that today’s consumers have more options available to choose from than during any other time in history, and they won’t hesitate to leave a brand for the next best thing after a bad digital experience. According to the report, “75% of global consumers have tried out a new store, brand or way of shopping in the past year.” Today, the customer holds the power. So if the first impression of a brand is impersonal or inconvenient, shoppers will quickly leave it behind in search of a better experience. 

To help brands learn from other businesses’ past blunders, we asked fellow Acquians to share their tales of terror and describe a time they were scared off by a poor customer experience. Here’s what they said. 


“A simple case of a broken payment mechanism on a website, coupled with an impossible-to-reach customer services team led me from two botched purchase attempts with one company to a single purchase with a more established (and unfortunately, more expensive) competitor.”

-Mark Silvester, Marketing Operations Senior Manager


“I was an early subscriber to satellite radio. I think I subscribed in 2005. I LOVE radio. So I was a loyal customer even when podcasting and streaming became dominant technologies. When we bought a new car that came with satellite radio, I wanted to consolidate our accounts and also enable my satellite radio app for use on my phone and Amazon Alexa. 

When I attempted to do this, I ended up so frustrated that I cancelled our subscription. I needed two different logins for the car subscription and online subscription. The user experience was completely disjointed, the online subscription didn't recognize that I was already a subscriber and I couldn't get any useful help. It was so ridiculous that I totally lost confidence in the company. I decided that if they didn't care enough to create a better experience, I didn't care enough to keep paying for their service when there were many easier platforms with seamless user experiences.” 

-Meagen Williams, VP, Professional Services


“I order a lot of a certain team's memorabilia from a sports website. After over 12 orders for a certain team, I bought someone a rival team's jersey as a gift. I now only receive offers for specials on that team's gear — a team I hate — instead of for the team I had purchased 12x more gear for. 

I now hate that site and shop elsewhere. I have unsubscribed from all communications with them. I hate the Jets.”

-Dan Coletta, Senior Inside Sales Manager


“I'm in the middle of a switch of mobile phone/home internet service providers because of the horrible customer experience that I have received with the incumbent. Some things I dealt with from them included long hold times, constant transfers between the phone service staff, inconsistent messaging around policies and being asked to call back during non-international offices hours because the current office rep doesn't have access to basic account data under a different service line. By the way, this was my experience updating my billing address. I don't want to imagine a more cumbersome task with [that company].”

-Waleed Rashid, Enterprise Partner Manager, (West, USA) 


“I had an internet and TV company that I only bought internet from. I called them to add TV service, and since the business units were so disconnected internally, they couldn't get the TV services added, even after several calls and emails. Not only did they end up losing the TV business, they lost the internet business a couple months later as a result of the poor customer service.”

-Dan Ashcom, Senior Manager, Technical Account Management


“I placed an order with a local restaurant — not necessarily a favorite, but one that I frequented —  and received a 30-minute pickup notification alert. Upon arriving 30 minutes later, I was informed they ‘would not fill my order as [they were] too busy that night.’ I completely understand the dilemma, but the failure to notify me prior to showing up and expecting my food was unacceptable to me.”

-Corey Heady, Senior Manager, Business Finance 


“There is a specific airline that I will avoid flying with after their customer experience dropped dramatically following a change in administration.”

-John Takousis, Support Engineer


“The brand delivered an ad campaign that illustrated significant price savings, but when you clicked through, the retail price was still listed without any discounts. Clickbait tactics caused me to lose trust.”

-Beth Boisvert, Senior Director, Demand Generation

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