Make Life Easy

I want to tell you a story.

A few days ago I had dinner with a friend at a restaurant in downtown Toronto. We had stellar service from the waiter at the restaurant and my friend, who picked up the check (thanks!) left a hefty tip for him.

The waiter then pointed out a website that we could go to and at which we could leave feedback in order to obtain a free appetizer next time we went to the restaurant. My friend spotted a telephone number option on the receipt, too, and pulled-out his blackberry on the spot to leave some glowing feedback about the server.

He never left that feedback.

Why?

The automated service he connected-to made it infuriating to leave feedback. Not only did it warn him it would take several minutes to complete the survey, but it made him key-in details that could easily have been automated.

The lesson? Make it easy for people to reach you.

Why couldn’t the service automatically record the date? Why couldn’t the check have a code printed on it to identify the restaurant? ¬†They made it unnecessarily hard to get feedback, so in the end they didn’t receive any.

The irony? If it had been a simple paper form with name, email address and comment box, we would probably have completed it on the spot. The complexity killed the opportunity to get our contact details into their database. What’s more, they marred an excellent meal with an unsatisfying final interaction with their restaurant.

The same applies to websites. Don’t make me create an account to leave a comment on your blog, because I won’t (sorry, Jennifer – you rock but it’s not happening while ZDNet has that form). ¬†

Likewise, I’m tired of constantly filling-out profile forms for new sites, which is why Facebook Connect interests me.

Make life easy, and people will respond. Make it difficult and they’ll take their time (and perhaps their money) elsewhere.

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.