UX designers will likely know of a popular (infuriating) browser-based game called User Inyerface. The challenge is simply to fill in the online form as quickly as possible. In an affront to UX best practice everywhere, the game tries its hardest to make routine task as mind-meltingly annoying as possible. You’d be pleased to complete it within 10 minutes!

Unhappy paths, unhelpfully greyed-out links and anger-inducing CAPTCHAs aside, the game is a memorable lesson in how you could make your website as disengaging as possible.

So, for all the talk of customer experience best practice, let’s look at the opposite. What would you need to do to offer the worst example of customer experience (CX). And most importantly, how many of these CX no-nos do your customers have to abide by every day?

1. Always make your customer wait

By far, the most frustrating customer experiences come from people having their time wasted. Customers’ biggest CX pet peeve is being put on hold for too long. Just over half (51%) of people surveyed by OnePoll said it was the biggest factor in a negative customer experience.

There’s no way around it, customers LOATHE being put on hold. Brutally, 30% of them say they would quite literally rather watch paint dry!

More positively, a good customer experience can be drawn from a concerted effort not to waste customers’ time. The reality is, some customers will have to be “put on hold” whether literally on the phone, or by waiting for responses via email, in a store or on live chat.

The same OnePoll study suggests brands can still salvage their customer experience by being transparent, empathetic and showing humanity in those frustrating situations.

Some of the most positive customer experiences come from employees who are honest and clear when communicating with customers, and acknowledge their frustrations. But for the purposes of offering a terrible customer experience, don’t do any of that!

2. Make it really hard to for customers to deal with you in real time

The past couple of decades have made us comfortable with getting whatever we want in as short a time as possible.

Need a new pair of jeans? Same-day delivery. Want to watch a film? Here are thousands of them on-demand. Have a question for a business? You better believe people want answers as close to real time as humanly possible.

A study by Salesforce found that 80% of B2B customers expect immediate customer service responses. Among B2C customers, nearly two-thirds (64%) expect brands to give them real-time interactions.

But traditionally, that’s not been humanly possible. People are finite; they don’t scale with demand. So asking real people to handle all customer service requests is like asking your Blockbuster clerk to manage every Netflix streaming request in the local area. Today, people alone aren’t going to cut it.

Offering real-time interactions is becoming more possible in the digitally enabled world. We looked at it recently in our eBook on building a digital workforce. Automated technologies can give real-time responses, while freeing up real people for more complex or valuable requests.

Or actually don’t do that, because we’re looking to offer the worst possible customer experience. Instead…

3. Be sure to transfer customers again and again (and again and again)

The thrill of being transferred, eh? Nothing beats the rush of having to speak to a new person, re-explaining a problem and being asked the same questions. The only thing better? Being transferred a third time – oh man, that’s the stuff!

Yes, OK, we hate it. Almost half (48%) of us list it as our biggest CX bugbear. Things we enjoy doing more than being transferred by a customer service rep? Sitting in traffic or waiting in line at the DMV!

If you can take up a customer’s time and ultimately not solve their problem – 41% say this is on their list of worst customer experiences – you’re on to a real winner. Or… loser?

Transferring calls is a part of customer service reality. However, CX champions will work on triaging customer contact requests as effectively as possible. 

Give people the resources to contact the right person or department. Make contact information on your website as clear and accessible as possible, make sure your IVR is up to scratch, or make triaging customer requests a job for your virtual assistant or digital human to do.

Data is integral here. Find out your customer issue up front, make it accessible to the right people or customer-facing systems at the right time. With a little luck, you could dramatically cut down on how often your customers hear the words: “I’m just going to transfer you”. *Shudder*.

4. Never, ever personalize the customer experience

For true CX nightmares, always treat your customers like case numbers. They hate it. That’s why, on average, customer service agents only ask for a customer’s name 21% of the time.

The same lack of personalization exists outside of customer service, too. Only 13% of marketers say they are “very or extremely satisfied” by their current personalization efforts.

Does this sound relevant to you? Yes you, Charlotte!

Ok, that was a shot in the dark. There’s no way to personalize these blog posts, but there are plenty of options for businesses looking to make their customer experiences more personal – both in marketing, sales and customer service.

Show attentiveness, empathy, and understanding. Use their name. Be human, friendly and personable across all channels. A huge 97% of marketers say they’ve seen a direct uplift in business from their efforts into personalization.

Are you one of them… Michael??

5. Provide an environment of grumpiness and frustration

Many customer-facing team leaders may be surprised how prevalent grumpy staff members are – we certainly were when we heard the statistics.

Some 41% of people say dealing with a grumpy employee is in their top CX pet peeves, making it the third most common negative CX experience overall.

We’ve all had a bad day. It’s human nature, after all. And while it’s hard to strategize against grumpiness, it is perhaps easier to accentuate friendliness – you know, if for some reason you wanted to offer a great customer experience.

The same OnePoll study found the fifth most positive part of a great experience was speaking with a happy employee. Simple really: happy staff make customers happy.

Of course in the modern world, customers are more likely to speak to an automated system than they are a real person. Of course, technology can’t be grumpy or have a bad day; but when was the last time a chatbot made you happy? Or a website form? Which brings us on to our last point…

6. Always show a distinct lack of empathy and humanity

McKinsey has found that 70% of a customer’s buying journey is based on how the customer feels they are being treated. If you really want to lose customers and alienate people, disregard all their issues, refuse to empathize with their situation and show absolutely no humanity whatsoever.

What we mean is: build a chatbot.

The effectiveness of bots in resolving issues has now fallen to 28%, while the vast majority of people don’t find chatbots friendly or approachable. Hardly inspiring qualities you’d find in a half-decent customer service, sales or business development rep, right?

Sure, a chatbot could never be inappropriately grumpy. They’re also brilliantly convenient and efficient. But even highly functional chatbots cannot replicate the power of being seen, heard, supported and understood by a friendly human. Which is likely why 42% of brands are looking at adding a more “human experience” to their chatbot as a matter of strategic priority.

Even just giving your chatbot a face can lead to some surprising effects on a customer’s experience.

Statistics on chatbot engagement | UneeQ Blog

The next steps to better CX

Of course, unless you’re looking to create a customer experience version of the User Inyerface game – or a business that folds like a deck chair – you won’t want to follow any of these six rules.

But there are distinct lessons to be learned. Try to limit the amount of time you take from customers; be understanding and empathetic of the time you do use; and leave as much friendliness, personality and humanity as possible in the digital customer journey.

They’re some of the reasons brands are turning to digital humans. Either by upgrading their chatbot or starting afresh, digital humans are a great way to bridge the customer experience gap between “fast but unengaging” digital channels, and “slow but engaging” human ones.

To find out more, you can sign up for a free trial of UneeQ Creator, plug in your chatbot and start interacting with your first digital human in minutes. Or, if you’d like to strategize a bit more, you can check out our Building a Digital Workforce eBook, which delves into the customer problems and how different channels (digital and human) can offer more complete experiences.