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Thursday, March 11 2010
 Today I'm on a rant! I'm fed up with websites and online services that make it difficult for me to complete a really simple task.

When someone comes to your website, most of the time they're in a hurry so the easier you make it for them to find what they want, or to do what they want, the more likely they are to start or continue a relationship with you.

Here are a few situations that happened to me in the last two months:

Newsletters that make it difficult for me to change my email address. Some of the big providers (aweber, Constant Contact, 1shoppingcart) do this beautifully but some give the option only to unsubscribe. Sure I can unsubscribe and then re-subscribe with my new address but why do they make it so difficult? When I phased out my Yahoo address (which I used mainly for newsletter subscriptions in order to protect my real address from spammers), and shifted to gmail, this happened A LOT.

Sites that ask me for my zip code "so we can direct you to the best location" EVEN THOUGH I already have an account with them. My cable company does this every time I log on to pay my bill. Why not have a button on the home page that allows me to log right into my account without jumping through hoops?

Difficulty unsubscribing from a list..This story would be ridiculously funny if it weren't so darned aggravating! I unsubscribed from a list and still the emails kept coming so I asked the company if they would kindly remove my name manually. "That's done," I thought. Wrong! I got an automatic reply saying I had to contact them through their "Support" on their website. So I went looking for a button that said Support. Couldn't find one. I finally found a small button hidden away at the bottom of a sales page that said "Request". Request what?? Turned out this was the button for "Support". I filled in my email address and my request to, for pity's sake, get me off their list. Then a notice popped up telling me I would get an email asking me to confirm my request. OK. One more hoop. Well, I'll just click the link in the email and I'll be done. Wrong again! Now I was asked to go online and create an account with them so that they could process my request for them not to contact me any more! I did. But it took multiple steps for something as simple as unsubscribing from a list.

These are good examples of systems that were probably developed by techies without adequate input from people who'll actually be using them.

Given that people on the web are usually in a hurry, goal-oriented and more impatient than offline because they're used to things happening quickly, is this good customer service? I'll let you decide.

For me it wasn't.

Sure each one of these incidents, taken alone, may not be a big deal, but when they all happened within a short period of time, I realized how easy it is to irritate your clients.

There may be technical or business reasons for doing things they way they did them.

But they forgot one thing.

The client experience.

Copyright 2010 Maggie Dennison

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