16 October 2007

It's just as well they have a good brand ...

I was talking to a couple of people last week about an e-commerce website. Rather, I was listening, they were complaining. One person had stopped using the site completely while the other customer had recently contacted the Help Desk in order to overcome a problem during the checkout process which prevented them from completing a purchase. In a few moments, the Help Desk had identified the cause, described it as "common" and straight away emailed a 2 page set of instructions for resetting the browser. Browser reset, the purchase went smoothly, but how many customers would have had the patience to work through a 2 page email to find the five lines that related to their set-up?

In manufacturing that kind of solution would be laughed at. If you know you have a problem in a process then you fix the process, you don't develop a work-around for the customers. If this site has a problem with cookies then it needs to redesign the way it uses them. Asking customers to follow a 2 page email and decipher which instructions relate to them can't be regarded as a good approach. And the site that is having these problems? Tesco. It's just as well that it has a good brand, because any normal e-commerce site wouldn't be able to sell much at all with this kind of defective functionality.

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11:50 pm  

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