At this point, I must say that the invention of the internet has done more to advance communication than the printing press. Wow! What’s even better is that it lends itself to interaction and engagement in ways the printed page, radio, and television never could.
Interactive maps. You can zoom in, zoom out, and click for detail right down to an individual building. Try that with paper! Shopping carts are a huge improvement over it’s order form predecessor. Videos that can be stopped, rewound, and shared with others. Email that is delivered in an instant to any address world wide – for basically free. Chat rooms facilitate instant and meaningful dialog.
You get the idea.
This unprecedented revolution in communications has also brought us the “Contact Us” page. What a disappointment. The “Contact Us” page has turned communication into a one way dead end street in ways the auto attendant never dreamed of.
I am amazed at how companies spend a small fortune building a very impressive website to showcase their product or service. Experts will testify that the goal is interaction and engagement. Until it comes to a phone call that is. At that point is seems like the goal has become to quarantine the consumer.
They’ve gotten pretty good at isolating and silencing any meaningful feedback from the consumer. The forms you fill out seem to be doing everything to put hurdles in your path so that you’ll give up. Those drop down “subject” things never seem to have an appropriate choice for what I’m seeking. They want to know the make, model and serial number of what you’re contacting them about. What if I don’t have that information? What if I am only inquiring about product selection?
Finally you get down to the “comment” section where some meaningful communication might be possible. But wait! They’ve limited it to a certain number of characters so you can’t really be very precise. After all, they really don’t want to read all that much. It makes you wonder if they read it at all.
Now the CAPTCHA! Have you ever wondered where that word came from?
“Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart”
I don’t mind the basic idea. They want to know if I’m a human. May I ask how I can know that THEY are human?
OK – We’re finally down to the “Submit” button. Off it goes into never never land. Oh but wait, I have an email from them!
Not really. It clearly says not to reply.
The most amazing thing about most “Contact Us” pages is that they seldom have a phone number. What’s the matter? Are they afraid that someone will contact them?
I’ve filled out plenty of “Contact Us” pages. It is seldom that I get any meaningful response. It’s a one way street. They want to contact me to display their goods and services, but they sure as heck don’t want to hear from me unless it’s by way of checking out my shopping cart.
That’s what’s on my mind. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.
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