UX Fail and Customer Service

A week ago I lost my UL card that I use for commuting to work. Luckily it was possible to block it on the UL web page. So I did. It said that they would send a new card within five days. So far so good.

However, five days passed, and today I went to the UL office to ask what had happened.

The person at the desk said to me that I had probably forgotten to ask for a new card after I had blocked the old card. This is a very common thing that people very often missed.

He said:

Many customers don’t do this the right way! They miss that you need to do it in two separate steps. First block the card, and then order a new card. The second step is very much further down on the screen way, way past all the other information.

He then showed me on my screen. After I have blocked my card I need to scroll down around one full screen of empty space to an icon of a man with a text. If you click the text on this icon (non-visible and I didn’t even find it when he showed it) you get a form where you can ask for a new UL card.

I said that this was really a hidden icon and scrolling was completely non-intuitive in the design. One could even say that it was really a hidden part of the web page.

He said I was wrong, and that the design was made for a proper big screen, not my Mac-book ( 15”) and not for the screen that he used at the UL counter work either. The screen to use was a much bigger screen than these two, and the system worked perfectly if you used it with the screen it was intended for. I said that my 15” computer is quite a standard laptop, and that designs should be made for many kinds of devices and screens nowadays.  He didn’t answer but looked a bit embarassed.

I tried to say to him that this was not me being stupid, and that this is really bad UX design. He looked a bit puzzled.

I then asked him if he could give me a new UL card straight away instead of me ordering one at the web page and wait another five days. Of course, this was not possible, and I need to pay extra ticket to get home, and wait another five days for my card.  He did not know if the 30 day ticket that I had on he card would be put on hold during these days, or if I simply lost 10 days from the 30 days.

Please UL and other service organizations:

  • If many customers do the same wrong thing, it is a sign of bad UX design. It is not a sign of lots of incompetent customers.
  • People use many kinds of devices, and you should design for this. There are no excuses!
  • If the UX design is so crappy that normal people don’t understand it, and you cannot do anything about it, then you need to have a good service design around it. Do not make the customer pay extra tickets in situations caused by bad UX design like this one.
  • Do something about the UX of your web page if it is a disaster!