Spooky Microinteractions Linger

by Jeannie Walters

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Happy Halloween!

Do you know what a FUSER is? I didn’t, either.

Our microinteraction of the month is an oldie but goodie.

Why are we so obsessed about microinteractions around here? Well, it started almost a year ago, when I had the privilege of presenting at the TEDx event in Naperville, Illinois. I spent twelve really fun minutes chatting about why I believe those small, almost microscopic moments matter. They matter because our lives are full of microinteractions! And those teeny, tiny moments matter to us as people, but they are easy to overlook as we design experiences, technology, communications, and just about everything else.

Without thinking through those moments of micro, we risk jeopardizing real relationships.

One of my favorite examples from that presentation was about the FUSER. When internal abbreviations and acronyms sneak into communications for customers or communities, it shows a lack of attention for what really matters. By not caring enough to make things seamless and special for the end user of our products or services, we’re risking long-term loyalty.

This example, in all its glory, showcases the scary moments of microinteractions. When a customer needs help and is feeling lost, they see this!


Do a quick search on Google for “fuser error” and you’ll find hundreds of results, most of them addressing the common customer inquiry: What is a fuser error on my printer?

This microinteraction is clearly not serving customers.

And yet it sits there, providing little help with each new printer or copier. These small moments are not small to customers who are in a panic as they try to print out a report or copy an agenda for a meeting. What is this message supposed to communicate? Your guess is as good as mine, but it sure feels like F* User!

Without offering any real help in that crucial moment, it may as well say something like this:

More epic printer errors on BuzzFeed

Long after the error is fixed and the printer works again, the customer will remember this small moment. They will remember the panic of trying to fix equipment when there is nobody there to help them and they will remember the frustration of not knowing what to do.

Is that how you want to make your customers feel?

Of course not! That’s why examining these small moments is so critical to the customer experience.

Don’t scare your customers with spooky microinteractions.

Have some fun with us! More microinteractions on Pinterest.

Image Credits: hirefrank via Creative Commons, jrearp via BuzzFeed, and Team360

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators™ by 360Connext, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, a Forbes Coaches Council Member, a C-Suite Network Advisor, a LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com instructor, and a TEDx speaker. Learn more here.

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