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What do you mean, there’s another supplier next door?

Over the weekend Seth Godin wrote a piece about the ‘scamminess’ of the website belonging to the US Postal Service. Now, whilst that’s not a site which many of us have to deal with, his complaints apply to many websites worldwide. The most interesting comment of all though was the concluding “there’s something about the mechanics and arms-length nature of the web that just begs companies that know better to treat people in a way that they’d be humiliated to try face to face.”

That’s something we can all learn from. Does your website ask your customers to do things which you wouldn’t ask them to do face-to-face? Compare it with how you’d treat a visitor to an exhibition stand, for example.

Salesman: Welcome to our exhibition stand. Sorry it’s a bit of a mess, it’s the same stand we’ve had for years, and quite frankly, we don’t really know how to update it. We do actually have some new products, but we didn’t bring them. If you can’t find what you need, our apologies, there should be some nice way of looking for what you want, but that’s clearly a bit beyond us. There are some nice brochures though, like this one I have here. What was that? Will I let go of it? Ah, no, the sales director says I can’t do that until you’ve filled in all your contact details in our visitors book. Where are you going? What do you mean, there’s another supplier next door?

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