Is This Really Internet Time? Sorry, you’re Still in Jersey
“Internet Time.” Ah yes, futuristic, yet contemporary, very cool, post dot.com pervasive, chic, fast, efficient, lots of black clothing. Here’s the 411, though: “Internet Time” for most websites can be more like the New Jersey Garden State Parkway on a sunny Saturday afternoon in mid-July – balky, slow, subject to maddening stoppages, and relying on legacy-style manual reporting by frustrated customers to identify its problems. A recent OAUG ResearchLine/DBTA study confirms the worst: Your organization is investing substantial time and resources in a website designed for e-commerce or to service customers, but in most cases, the customer experience is significantly worse than your organization fully appreciates. Now the really bad news, you are losing money … and losing it directly to your competitors as a result.
That is terrible, isn’t it? You may be thinking that those “other guys” need to get their act together. Think again. Do you have automated reporting for customer experience problems? No? Well, you are not alone, because practically nobody has them in place. Most problems are manually reported by irate, frustrated, and otherwise unsatisfied customers. Manually reported! How does that sound as a customer service strategy? To me, that feels like the “thanks” you get from old Bertha in the manual change lane at the Driscoll Bridge Toll Plaza on the GSP – “Yeah, we know it’s a lousy system. Waddya want, it’s Jersey.”
There used to be a rule-of-thumb in print publishing that one letter to the editor represented 10,000 actual readers. So, what does one report of website failure represent in terms of poor user experience? And what do the losses from these failures add up to in both the short-term and the long-term? We have posed a few questions here and you will too after you have had a chance to download and read the OAUG ResearchLine/DBTA report “Performance Under Pressure: The State of Enterprise Web Application Quality and Availability” without registration or any charge for OAUG members at: http://www.oaug.org/login.aspx?ref=/communications/publications/researchline/2009-07execsumm.pdf
Or you can email me directly for a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ex-governor Jim McGreevey (yes, that Jim McGreevey) actually automated and upgraded the user experience on the Garden State Parkway, proudly bringing us gum-chewing, consonant-dropping, but ever-popular Jerseyans into the new millennium. Personally, though, I still use the manual lanes and avoid E-ZPass. I’ve had enough experience dealing with New Jersey to know that no system here in the Garden State remains fully “on the level” and the best way to avoid unpleasant surprises is to avoid entanglements. Another couple of years of bad customer experience with your website just might have a similar effect on your customers.
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