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There’s an old expression, “no good deed goes unpunished.”  It relates to the fact that when you make the effort to do something nice, someone is always going to complain. That can often be the case when you’re developing technology that is supposed to boost the customer experience.  

Take for example a company in the healthcare industry company that may be finding that customers are unhappy with customer service.  They create an automated phone system that will alleviate some of the toll on customer agents, and allow more customer queries to come through, but we all know how that often goes. 

Customers end up becoming more frustrated because not only do they get caught up in a phone loop from hell, but if their question doesn’t fit neatly into one of a few options, you could be online for all eternity before you get a human. 

As another example, consider a retailer looking to offer a better shopping experience to consumers, so it creates a chatbot that can make recommendations, offer advice and answer questions. Some customers might like this personalized attention, but others may be completely turned off, feeling like someone is tracking their every move on the site.  

It can be really difficult to know what will boost the customer experience and what will have the opposite effect. Take for example, a LinkedIn poll Wovenware recently conducted.  We asked followers what their biggest frustration is when it comes to technologies that are supposed to improve the customer experience. Options included automated voice systems, endless phone loops, intrusive chatbots and mobile apps that crash.

Much to our surprise, a majority of respondents (45 percent) said that it was mobile apps that crash that cause them the most frustration (apparently they haven’t been on hold with their telecom provider for hours at a time). 

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Yet this response does make sense. People are relying more than ever on their mobile apps to shop, play games, schedule appointments and when they’re not available, or worse, when they quit right in the middle of a transaction, it’s extremely annoying. 

Maybe the data from our poll is telling us that people don’t make as many phone calls anymore to customer service, or that cute little chatbots on a website haven’t completely worn out their welcome yet. Or, maybe it’s just that all of these things are annoying, just to different degrees, and to different generations of users and types of users. 

What the LinkedIn poll told us loud and clear is that it pays to perform thorough QA in all software applications and to understand your users, their likes, frustrations and experiences first before designing solutions.

You might be surprised at the reaction to technology that is intended to please them. It also told us that these sentiments can change over time, so it’s also important to constantly take the pulse of users and be prepared to pivot accordingly. 

After all, technology is supposed to improve lives and delight customers. When it backfires and causes user frustration, it’s time to go back to the drawing board – or better yet – design it right the first time.

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