Come on Adobe. On Customer Experience, you can do better than that. #CEM

Café Grumpy
Creative Commons License photo credit: sleepinyourhat

Today’s post may be a bit of a rant and for that I apologise, in advance.

Now, onto the issue at hand.

A few weeks ago I received the following email:

Adobe Customer Engagement Survey Email

There were a few of things that occurred to me when I saw this email:

  • One, I recently bought one of their products (InDesign) to do some editing;
  • Two, I thought, Aha! Feedback request…well done, I thought, and should be routine for all businesses post-transaction;
  • But, then I noticed…… and I thought……who is Is this spam?….Who is this really from?

Overall, I was disappointed, particularly after I recently interviewed Adobe in Adobe, Customer Experience Management (CEM) and fear in the boardroom – Interview with Rob Pinkerton and they told me about their commitment to customer experience.

Are not named emails one of the first things that email marketers, marketers in general and customer service folks teach us that it’s important to use?

If I’m going to the trouble to buy some stuff from you and give you my name, email address and financial information then surely you can do me the courtesy of using my name in return. Right?

Come on, Adobe, I may be a small customer in your scheme of things but, surely, you can do better than that!

Even if the people are a 3rd party that you have outsourced your feedback process to then a few things could have happened:

1 You’ve not given the right amount of data to your service provider; OR

2 Your third party service provider is letting you down; OR

3 The customer experience experts have not thought through the delivery of their own customer experience.

That last one may be harsh but I think that a customer experience leader like Adobe should be doing better.

What do you think?

14 comments On Come on Adobe. On Customer Experience, you can do better than that. #CEM

  • Come on Adobe. On Customer Experience, you can do better than that. #CEM

  • Come on Adobe. On Customer Experience, you can do better than that. #CEM RT: @adrianswinscoe

  • Come on Adobe. On Customer Experience, you can do better than that. #CEM cc: @adrianswinscoe

  • Adrian, thank you for your feedback, and for your business! Customer experience is a strategy for Adobe and a journey, as well, and we welcome your challenge to constantly improve. On the specific points you made, I thought you and your readers would appreciate some details. You asked who is, this is a partner we use to manage and audit our results. We believe using an objective third party ensures better customer insights and that our customers appreciate knowing what entity is specifically collecting the results. We do authenticate the third party’s identity by linking back to With regards to named correspondence, I’ll offer my opinion. Yes, it is ideal to use personalization – particularly for rich individualized correspondence. But there is a risk if personalization is misconstrued. For example, my credit card reads ‘Robert’ but everyone calls me Rob. When I get a piece of correspondence that reads ‘Robert’ I know it’s not personal. 🙂 This problem compounds for broad-based, intentionally anonymous correspondence like the one you received when extended to multiple nations, cultures, dialects. So we decided for this type of communication it was better to be generic and not misrepresent someone’s name. Your POV is appreciated, and we are going to look at reevaluating the approach, but thought I would share our underlying reasons.
    Thanks again for your comments.
    Rob Pinkerton Sr. Dir Product Marketing, Adobe

    • Hi Rob,
      Thanks for weighing in with Adobe’s perspective that’s gracious of you. I understand the challenges that you face and appreciate the decision that you have taken. I can’t say that I agree but it’s great to hear that you are reevaluating your approach.

      Thanks again,


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  • I couldn’t agree more, small things matter and attention to detail is everything.


  • Hello Adrian

    Are some folks at Adobe dead serious and into Customer Experience? Most likely answer is Yes. Is the whole company (including its partners/suppliers) bought into Customer Experience? Highly unlikely.

    Personally I am always suspicious of any kind of instant conversion like the kind Paul had. One instant sinner and the next saint. Yes, we can do that as individuals and yet it is highly unlikely as a group. If you read Gerstner’s book you get an idea of what a struggle that is and how much effort it takes and for many years.

    I am of the view that you and are seeing a repeat of the CRM phenomenon. I remember that when CRM became hot every company (no matter what it actually did) rebadged itself as a CRM company. And companies that did this rebadging the best? The software companies. So are we seeing a repeat with Customer Experience? I let you decide.


    • Hi Maz,
      I’m not sure if we are seeing a repeat of the CRM issues that you mentioned. I hope not. However, I am heartened by the fact that Rob @ Adobe commented directly to the post so, at least, they are talking about it. More and better than I can say about other companies. What do you think of Rob’s comments and their underlying reasons?


  • Hi Adrian
    ON the CRM/CEM issue – lets wait and see, time will tell and our opinions matter not a jot.

    On what I think about the Adobe response, here it is:

    I was on chat session last week and the chap on the other end asked me “How would like to be addressed?” If companies are going to communicate with me then it seems like that is a good question to ask.

    Adopting a convention whether it is first name (Adrian) or last name (Mr Swinscoe) to me occurs as being more personal (and reflecting that the companies knows my name at least) than “Dear Customer”. So I do not buy into the argument.

    Incidentally, I am human and thus imperfect so I make many mistakes. My point of view on this topic could be one of these mistakes.


    • Hi Maz,
      I agree with you that adopting the conventions that suggest would seem more personal and more in tune with building a more personal customer experience. Therefore, I, like you, struggle, with the explanation about misconstrued perceptions.

      Reading Rob’s comment again, he implies that although that they recognise language and cultural differences etc they have made a general assumption as to the appropriateness of how best to address their customers in their engagement survey approach. Whilst I appreciate that there may be differences across geographies, cultures, languages etc but not segmenting your customers is just poor and needs to be looked at. Or, maybe it’s just me getting cranky as I my hair gets more grey 😉

      By the way, your opinion about your own preferences will never be and can never be wrong.


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