Do you know that feeling? You’ve just entered this website, this whole new domain, a new world. But you’re not excited about it, in fact the only reason why you’re here is because you just want to have a chat with whomever runs this business. And no, it’s not because you’re feeling lonely and looking for someone to have a meaningful conversation with. You have a serious problem related to the product/service you bought earlier today, or maybe it was last week, you don’t remember exactly, but it doesn’t matter. Perhaps the product was even free and you’re wondering if you’ll upset somebody by asking for help.
In any case, you first need to find the Contact link. By now you know that it either sits in the header of the website … Your eyes quickly scan the menu bar. Not finding the Contact word accelerates your heartbeat just a tiny little bit. It’s the feeling of hope, mixed with the anticipation that maybe this is just another dead end … So you scroll down, down, down to the bottom of what appears to be an endless well, picturing yourself as a misfortunate Alice in Wonderland, until you reach it.
This one has four columns, each one with about a dozen links. Starting from the last one, because it’s the one where you’d expect Contact to be waiting for you, you skim over the list. Nothing other than Terms and Conditions & co., but there is still hope. No, you’re not looking for a Business Opportunity … Maybe that mysterious acronym B2B is what you’re looking for? You click on it, just so you can say that you’ve tried everything, but no. You go back. The second column seems to be a list of personal names among which you find the product you’re here for, but that link only brings you to a place which exhibits big words of praise and five star reviews and mind-bending parallax effects that for one second make you forget why you’re here.
Back again to the previous page. You scan the first column, but you already know that it’s a lost … Yeah, just like you thought. No Contact link. And also no Support or Need Help? or S.O.S. button for the most inexperienced internet adventurers, not one of them in the entire page. Wait, you still didn’t think of the almighty Find command! Even your best friend with a computer science degree seldom thinks of using it when surfing the web; for some reason it hardly ever crosses your mind that a webpage can be searched for with that simple keyboard shortcut. Anyway, even that doesn’t help, and you have to resign.
What the hell did those people think? Their website is a true vending machine, accepting any amount of money as an input and if the chocolate bar doesn’t fall off as it should and remains stuck, there is no witness to assist you. Do they not want to be found, what do they have to hide or what are they scared of?
Forget about those companies with the “No questions asked” return policy: the new cool is when their entrance sign reads “No questions accepted – what you see is what you get”. At this point you wonder if you’d be less upset if the website had a contact form guarded by a registration form, where you would have to disclose your full name including the middle name, then the postal address, and maybe even your occupation and hobbies, and which usually makes you want to scream at the screen in despair.
Sometimes it would be so much easier to just walk in on a store and find a person eager to help you. Usually you’ll answer “I’m just looking around, thank you”, almost feeling annoyed. The next time this happens, promise you’ll just be grateful that someone wants to take care of you, ok?
If you own such a website, then please consider updating it. Your customers will appreciate that you value their time and, in case they stubbornly find a way to reach out to you, they won’t be unnecessarily frustrated. Thank you for making the world a better place.