Naga Chokkanathan

Why Not? — Online / Offline Experience

Posted on: August 17, 2011

Yesterday I got an Email invitation from a major ERP Vendor. They are conducting some sales show at Bangalore and the mail asked me to register, if I am interested in attending this event.

I looked into the event agenda, it was interesting, so I decided to register. But I had to choose a mode of registration – I can send Email to somebody with my particulars, Or Submit them using an online form, Or call a number and speak to a person.

As usual, I choose the online form – Email is not structured enough and I hate talking to call center folks answering unnecessary questions. Hence I clicked the “Register” link in the Email, filled out the online form and submitted.

Within next 10 minutes, I got a phone call, from the same ERP Vendor, ‘Sir, we got your registration, we need couple of additional details!’

This was very surprising. I filled out a long form with almost 40 fields. If they need additional details after all this, why not add it to the original form itself? Why a follow-up phone call is necessary? Can’t they understand I choose “Online Registration” because I wanted to avoid manual registration via phone?

The person on the phone was not ready to understand all these. Most likely, she is given a script and asked to call every registrant to get additional information. I did provide the information, but that experience left me a bad taste – Is this the way a top, billion-dollar corporation handles its prospects / customers? Don’t they understand that online experience is totally different from offline experience and you have to be extra careful when stitching them together?

Long back, when online purchases / other financial transactions were not popular, a company by name “TicketMaster” decided to introduce online ticket booking facility. Once launched, they were waiting eagerly ‘Will people accept this new mode of ticket booking?’

After sometime, their first online ticket was booked. They were thrilled. They called the person promptly and Congratulated him. ‘Sir, you just bought the first ticket in the history of internet. Can you tell us why you decided to buy online, instead of regular ticket booking channels?’

He replied, ‘Because, I don’t like talking to people’ and immediately disconnected the call.

(072)

***

N. Chokkan …

17 08 2011

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