If you are a friend / fan / follower of mine on Facebook or Twitter, you know I’m a Late Night with Jimmy Fallon fan. I think he’s one of the most talented and genuinely nice people in television today. Whether he’s acting, singing, playing guitar, or doing amazing impressions (especially of rock stars), he’s just genuinely funny without ever being mean-spirited or crude.

He’s also a great interviewer because he’s still such a fan himself; he’s somehow managed to avoid becoming jaded by his own success. (I’d better stop now; I sound like a groupie!)

Anyway, one of his signature bits on Late Night – the “Thank You Notes” segment – is exactly what it sounds like – Jimmy writing notes to a mix of news stories that have given his show the most material over the past week, as well as silly jokes about people and objects that he thinks deserve a nod.

Well, I know we’re supposed to be in full-on “thankful” mode, this being the week of Thanksgiving and all, so here are my own tongue-in-cheek thank-yous to some of the businesses I’ve had to deal with in the last couple of weeks that just made me want to go “aarrgghh!!” There are lessons here for all of us. Cue the background music … 🙂

Thank youTHANK YOU, Verizon Wireless, for allowing me to click on so many links when all I want to do is sign up for a new two-year plan. It was great seeing so much of your website and spending a half-hour on this 5-minute task.

THANK YOU, AmazonWireless, for making it such an adventure ordering my new smartphone through you. I love a good mystery, so leaving key questions unanswered and making me afraid to click the “NEXT” button was kind of exciting.

THANK YOU, Facebook, for deciding when and if I’m allowed to upload a YouTube video as a video and not just a text link that no one will dare click on. This kind of variety will keep our relationship fresh and exciting.

THANK YOU, company that shall remain nameless, for broadcasting a webinar on “Generating Social Media Buzz” but failing to provide a #hashtag so attendees could tweet about it. I love irony.

THANK YOU, LinkedIn, for requiring a screen shot in order to understand that all invitations to connect are going directly to “ARCHIVED” rather than to the “Invitations” tab in my “INBOX.” I can’t wait to see how you’re finally (!) going to help me, once you have a picture to illustrate this (ahem) complex and confusing situation.

So … a few take-aways:

DON’T make it harder than it has to be for your customers and prospective customers to do business with you.

DON’T make your website a maze it’s easy to get lost in.

DON’T instill fear in your customers; make every step intuitive and safe for them to proceed.

DON’T be fickle; make sure your website is consistent. People want to feel confident that things are going to work the same way they did last time they visited your site.

DON’T hold yourself out as an expert in your field and then forget to practice what you preach.

DON’T make “customer service” a nightmare, requiring extra work of your customers in order for them to get what they deserved in the first place.

An ACTION ITEM for you:

Have an outside party go through your website – page by page, including every drop-down list – click on every link, audio and video clip – even complete your “Contact Us” form and send in an inquiry. Ask that person to provide you with a report of what’s not working the way they expected it to. If you have an autoresponder on your Contact Us form, have him forward you the email he gets in response. (My own Contact Us form recently “blew up” unexpectedly and, if not for a professional colleague telling me about it, I would not have known, since I had received a web inquiry just 3 days before! Lesson learned: assume nothing.)

Don’t have your spouse or assistant do this task. Ask a friend or neighbor – someone not on your payroll and not doing business with you – for a totally unbiased, unvarnished evaluation of your site.

If there are problems, please get them cleared up as soon as possible. A bad first impression is really hard to erase. And you don’t want to end up on somebody’s “Thank You Notes” list! 😉


Make a Difference Monday, Week 47: The Tongue Has Power - Don't Abuse It
Make a Difference Monday, Week 46: Make Decisions with Determination and Justice