If You Want to Offend Customers, This is Foolproof


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Our Microinteraction of the Month comes from Stan Phelps of 9INCH Marketing who captured a rather unfortunate microinteraction (the little thing that sets the tone for the whole experience) that might offend customers. He posted on Instagram:

offend customers

Seems a bit discriminating to me. Here are a few other reactions:

  • Sandra L. said on Facebook, “Sad they feel the need.”
  • Our Jon D. quipped, “What if I have a great big shiner and I want my dark glasses, of if I just had eye surgery? Or I just had chemo and want to wear a hood?”
  • My accomplice remarked, “Way to assume I might be a criminal before I even step in the door.”
  • What’s your reaction?? Tell us!

While their intent for putting up this sign is not clear, it sends mixed signals. But what they’re implying is clear:

“We don’t really trust you.”

Did this place experience so many holdups they felt it was necessary to put up a sign? Are they neurotic? Is the area dangerous that they’re taking preventive measures? Did one of the employees find themselves in a bad situation once and they’re forever tainted? Questions, questions.

But there is a lesson to be learned in this. We made it Microinteraction of the Month to show stereotyping can be harmful for business. If the business is leery of people coming in, then why wouldn’t the patrons be dubious? If people are coming in the door without a hood or shades it doesn’t mean they won’t be offended. They might even be the shady ones. But that’s not my point…

Customers do appreciate security. Customers aren’t just not going to be fans of being monitored based on appearance. So there are nicer ways to have their back. Hey, how about a better microinteraction? Like a sign that says “Hey! We know how much you value your money/moolah/gravy (as we do), so we have a security guard inside.” (OK, maybe not for a credit union, but that will sure get an Instagram out of it…for the better!)

Take the time to plan out and/or examine your microinteractions – they really are a source of delight. Every sign you put up, each subject line you craft for your team, any tweaks you make on your website (especially 404s – this slideshare is full of funny ones) affect the experience for customers. Evaluate the touchpoints from an outside in view and be biased towards the customers. But a foolproof way to get honest feedback is to get an outside-in perspective. Ask somebody you’re not too close with for their honest opinion.

You never know if someone’s taking a good or bad Instagram of your business.

Do you want to risk it?

A Good, Important Announcement!

We’ve decided to extend the Microinteraction of the Month contest until end of September. The prize remains the same: a featured blog and Jay Baer’s book Youtility: Why Smart Marketing is About Help Not Hype! We’ve decided we need to provide more examples (check out our list.ly list of featured microinteractions so far) to inspire you.

Trust me on this one: once you start realizing what microinteractions surround you….you never stop noticing. But isn’t it the little things that count?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannie Walters, CCXP
Jeannie Walters is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a globally recognized speaker, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a Tedx speaker. She’s a very active writer and blogger, contributing to leading publications from Forbes to Pearson college textbooks. Her mission is “To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.”


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