Meet Asterisk, your most demanding employee
A room without a view
One of the things I often write about is finding ways to humanize interactions with online visitors. Technology can lead to weird, antisocial interactions with visitors — interactions we would never accept in real life.
Seeing examples of that weirdness all around me, I wrote a series of emails on the topic a while back, which many of you have read.
One of those emails — ”Retrain your creepiest employee”— has elicited the most responses of any in the series. People reply with nods of approval or “Yeah, but …” comments; They say the email makes them laugh or that they it made them rethink their online forms.
In a nutshell, the email questions why organizations require anyone and everyone to share tons of personal information when they fill out a form …
Retrain your creepiest employee
Imagine your organization has a series of rooms that members have to pass through to become members.
You can design these rooms in any way you like, and you can have as many or as few as you like. Visitors could gather information, choose their options, and make payment all in one room. Or you could have them complete each step in a different room.
It seems natural that you’d use as few rooms as possible, right? It would be quicker, require less resources, and there would be fewer opportunities to lose prospective members along the way since every transition is also an opportunity to walk away and go back to eating cake and watching Netflix.
Imagine one of your employees is insisting on getting a prospective member’s contact information. Every time she tries to become a member without sharing her phone number and address, he shakes a little, turns red, and says “ERROR.”
That would be creepy.
Yet your membership form will probably have that conversation with someone today.