I have had some nasty consumer experiences online and on my phone lately. Movietickets.com’s seat reservation system is a terrible mess, and it took me 45 minutes to book tickets online. If the movie I wanted to see was available at any other theater, I would have quit and turned away. Because of a terrible digital system, Pacific Theaters and Movietickets almost lost out on $90. I know I won’t be seeing a movie there anytime soon after that fiasco, so they lost a customer as well.
This morning, I was woken up by a handful of text messages from Verizon asking me to renew my ringback tones. I texted back “y” to accept and was replied to with the same message asking me if I wanted to renew. I proceeded to text back Verizon “yes” and got the same message back five times before I gave up. Because of a terrible text message commerce system, Verizon lost out on $20 per year.
If you are not going to sell products face to face, make sure your system of exchange is bulletproof. Test it aggressively. Track it religiously. Use it yourself. And provide an easy-to-find avenue for people to report their problems. If the user experience is not blatantly obvious and fluid for your customer, it’s your fault (no matter how “stupid” the customer is).
As more and more commerce transitions onto the web, the need for smooth digital transactions will not only be a virtue – it will be a necessity to survive.