Posts tagged ‘website’

February 6, 2012

It’s ALL Customer Service: An Ounce of Prevention

This is the first in a series of posts about customer service, in all its various and glorious forms. Work-wise, it was my first love, and it’s still near and dear to my heart.

Many successes and failures are made in an organization’s most basic communications. I’m talking about what we now call Frequently Asked Questions, especially very frequently asked questions.

What questions come in by phone or email the most? Your hours, your location, program or product details?

Put that information on your website! Duh, right? But take a look at your site, is it really there?

Sites for companies with many locations often say, “Call for hours.”  Yes, it would be challenging and take time to keep that information up to date, but having countless employees picking up the phone countless times per day is a staggering waste of resources.

Maintaining program or product details would be even more of a commitment, but the time savings and error prevention can be considerable, and if the information’s accurate, employees can use the site as a resource, too.

Are you distributing printed materials with outdated information? Is there even someone responsible for that?

Be concerned if that person answers, “Yes, because there are still some left.”

What questions do you get in person?  Where is x, where is y, where am I?

Recently I went to Las Vegas for work and reached the hotel at midnight to find a long, slow check-in line.  I was eventually directed to elevator 1a. On the 4th floor I followed a sign that said Rooms 4020 – 4045 or some such, but reached a dead-end before my room, 4035.  A nice security guard opened a fire door and walked me to my room.  When asked, he pleasantly gave me incomprehensible instructions for next time, mentioning Starbuck’s as a guide, “But not the Starbuck’s downstairs, or the Starbuck’s on the other side.”

The next day, here’s what I got:  “Go to Elevator 2 through the casino.”  Elevator 2 turned out to be a bank of four elevators, each marked with a 1 for first floor. “The sign on the wall will say access to floors 6-15. Disregard that. In the elevator, press the button for 2 – there will be one – and get off on the 2nd floor. Go around the next corner to the other elevator. Take that to 4th floor.  Follow the signs to your room.”  Voilà!

Building the so-and-so theater cut into the elevator shaft, she said.  Fine. When was that, yesterday? No, several years ago. What about the Floors 6-15 sign nowhere near the theater?  Even homeless people can get hold of cardboard and markers to make signs. Perhaps management vetoed handmade signs, because they’d be tacky. Oh, wait, it’s a casino hotel.

People make mistakes and things break, that’s part of life. Wrong-elevator-woman, the room phone, the pop machine, I get that.  But that hotel has over 4,400 rooms. How many guests are needlessly lost, aggravated, and wasting time day after day?  How many employees?

If you know, please add a comment. I’ll leave the light on for you.

January 6, 2012

Can You Read Me Now?

Katya Andresen’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog post today is on the importance of “cognitive ease.”  It’s titled Three little tricks to be more persuasive, and though the title is a little on the Manchurian Candidate side, I definitely like the message.  I wrote about complicated language in my post Utilizing Effectuated Methodologies (What?), so I’ll just address legibility here.

Katya writes:

The Nobel-prize-winning [Thinking, Fast and Slow,] author Daniel Kahneman talks about the importance of cognitive ease.  Things that are easy to read and easy to remember can be processed with cognitive ease.  On the other hand, things like instructions in a poor font or faint colors or complicated language cause cognitive strain.

It shouldn’t take a genius to know people need to be able to read something in order to get the message.  Apparently it sometimes does.  (Bonus: try to convince your kids this applies to homework, too.)

I frequently pass two different restaurants that have their owner’s signature as the sign.  I’ve gone by them countless times, and I still sometimes glance over as I’m driving by and think, what is that?

So before you analyze your website or blog’s colors, content, functionality and whatever else, make sure visitors can actually read it.  Then do a web search on accessibility.

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