Tolerance for Technological Ineptitude, part II

Yesterday I wrote that we should be prepared to tolerate all kinds of technical ineptitude in our customers. They should be able to get hold of a human easily, I said, in case they have trouble with your well-designed pages and systems, and that human should be willing to take care of them respectfully and without excessive eye-rolling, however user-friendly you think your interface is.

Is the opposite true? That is, should your customers be willing to tolerate your technical ineptitude?

To answer this question, let’s consider a website with which I have no professional connection: Lao Promotion. This website sells music from Laos. It has hundreds of album covers showing in apparently random order. Some, when you click on them, allow you to listen to tracks. Some don’t. You can’t tell ahead of time. Some appear to allow you to listen, but then instead give you a message telling you that you are forbidden to download the pirated music and they will be checking on your computer to see who you are.

In addition to this exciting feature, they have search which is completely nonfunctional, serving up error messages regardless of what you do. They have lots of things that look like links but don’t respond to clicking. They have links which take you to error pages. Many of these things happen very slowly. They require lengthy registration and sell only through PayPal.

Ordering from these guys is an ordeal. And yet, once I struggled through the process and submitted my order, I got communications from them very quickly and my products at an amazing speed for a reasonable shipping price. It’s evident that this company is on top of their product and service — just not their website.

Why, you are wondering, didn’t I go somewhere else? I would have, had there been any other option. After the first few minutes, when I could tell that it was going to be an irritating website, I went right back to the search results page to try someone else.

There isn’t anyone else. If you want Noi Sengsourigna’s latest VCD, you have nowhere else to go but Lao Promotion.

Are you in this enviable position? Probably not. Chances are, you have less than 14 seconds to persuade your customers to shop with you instead of moving on to another option.

If you know you need a web presence, but aren’t tech-savvy, we can help you with that. You can’t expect your customers to tolerate technical difficulties at your website. Particularly if you have customers who are not themselves tech-savvy. With technical ineptitude on both sides of the screen, the process becomes insurmountably difficult. Really, the mind boggles.






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