A thoughtful UX Teardown on my work

Calm was the subject of a email UX teardown recently which was well-written and had several interesting insights. The obvious first reaction to this post was “oh no, we’re horrible” but the reality is she articulates several weaknesses that the team has been aware of.

We missed an opportunity for personalization

Complaint – She was a happy user churning out of the product. When she churned we hit her with a generic urgent messaging that others recognized not to be soothing. Why are we talking to her like a beginner?

What is the root of the complaint? We don’t distinguish “happy churn” from other types of churn. (Note to self: what are the other types of churn?) Our churned-user experience is certainly under-appreciated.

This user has multiple email addresses: a paid subscription email and a trial churned email. Presumably she used the trial churn email to conduct her research.

The paid subscription email address was unsubscribed from marketing emails. She received transactional emails only. This underlines that we should sneak in some more light marketing into our transactional emails.

What technology do we need to solve this? Lots of people have multiple email addresses. It’s not a technical issue. However we could benefit from having consistent time-based email cadence (use as a default) augmented by an event-based cadence when users are well engaged.

Is there a barrier to fixing it? No barriers. We have the capability to look at the user’s engagement within the last several months or weeks to separate out an engaged user from unengaged users — at all times!

Inconsistent email cadence

Complaint – she experienced an email dead zone where she didn’t see anything messaging from us for weeks (months?)

What is the root of the complaint? There was a dead zone for several weeks after churn from trial. She eventually got enrolled into a monthly email but monthly may not be enough frequency to maintain engagement.

What technology do we need to solve this? Increase production

Is there a barrier to fixing it? Emails are too difficult to specify right now.

Off-brand copywriting

Complaint – The author and several LinkedIn commenters perceived the emails to be aggressive and ironically not “calming”

What is the root of the complaint? She received several sale-oriented headlines during a large revenue-producing campaign.

What technology do we need to solve this? No new technology necessary to write copy. Slow down and work cross-functionally to capture critique from marketing & content teams to get on the same page for user-facing communication.

Is there a barrier to fixing it? We are not trained copywriters. However, we can learn to write in an on-brand voice. That is a marketable skill that can be augmented with AI.

Referring back to the personalization problem, we could come up with alternate subject lines for well-engaged users who do not need urgency-oriented messaging.