Let me just go on record – I hate jumping through hoops. I’m not very athletic and grace is definitely not my middle name so I never learned the art. So last week when I went to a certain motor club’s website to try to figure out if and where we would vacation this year (won’t say who, but their first name starts with A, their middle name starts with A and their last name starts with A), I was surprised when I got a message that my membership ID wasn’t valid. I sent an email to their “contact us” section which is apparently motor club speak for “black hole”. Today, I tried calling. Suddenly I was in some weird fairy tale – the first lady didn’t know anything. The second lady knew I had the wrong website (oh silly me – www.aaa.com was WRONG) but didn’t know the right one. The third lady knew the right site. Yay. Went back to the site, tried to download travel books, can’t. No error to speak of so I couldn’t troubleshoot, just click on the button and get a page that at the top says “You are already logged in” and below has a login box. Huh???
At the end of the day, I will get over this and somehow get what I want. And if previous interactions are any indications, will receive my order very quickly. But for this morning, I wasted a lot of time jumping through hoops for no obvious reason. Now if someone does follow up on the “survey” I took and expressed my concerns, that would be great and I will renew next year. But if they don’t, I will certainly think very hard before renewing.
So what does it all mean? I’m confident that internally there are great reasons this all happened. It makes total sense to someone at AAA that their main website doesn’t have a way to route users to the proper state site and / or could at least communicate in some obvious way that there are state sites. I really don’t care if they are all independently owned, franchises, or something else. I just want a good customer experience. What about your customers? What happens when they go to your website? What if there is a problem – do they just get a big “404 error” or have you customized that to give better information (did you know you could customize that page)? Help your customers have a great experience so they come back again and again. Make your contact information easy to find. Make sure what they want is obvious. Don’t make them jump through hoops like the trained dog at the circus – because your customers don’t come back just for a treat.