LivingSocial was offering a voucher for a chocolate-making workshop with Rachel Dunn Chocolates. I’m already pretty good with chocolate, but I thought it might be a nice weekend adventure for me and my boyfriend. So I bought it.
I did read LivingSocial’s fine print first, which among other things said:
- Open toe shoes, cologne, perfume, finger nail polish, and facial jewelry not allowed
I thought that seemed a little weird but assumed it was for sanitary reasons. You don’t want someone’s nose ring falling into the chocolate. You don’t want toes in chocolate. And someone just hates cologne. I have no facial piercings. OK, I meet the fine print conditions, this should be fine.
I then looked at their website to find that they hadn’t yet scheduled when future classes would be. I had no idea what dates and times were available. So I emailed asking which dates and times would be coming up and did they have Saturday 4 October.
I never heard back.
2 weeks later, I tried to just sign up on their website. There was a special link that took me to a page for people with LivingSocial vouchers. You choose from a dropdown menu which deals site you used and you type/paste in your voucher. I did that and it said my code wasn’t valid. That means I’m stuck trying to get these people some other way, and I already know they don’t answer emails.
I tried emailing anyway. I gave my LivingSocial code and what date I want since by then, they had put lots of months’ dates on the workshop calendar. We want 4 October. I eventually heard from someone named Randy, who asked my LivingSocial code (ugh that was in my email) and both of our names. OK, here’s the code again and our names.
I never heard back.
10 days before the workshop, I emailed again… any update on getting us into the 4 October workshop? Didn’t hear back.
7 days before the workshop, I called. Got voicemail. Left my details and asked for a call back. Didn’t get a call back. I got an email confirming I was signed up for the 4 October workshop. FUCKING FINALLY!
Except there was one problem. The email had EXTRA terms and rules the LivingSocial offer didn’t state.
That’s bait and switch. That means I bought the deal under one set of conditions and am now being told that if I don’t agree to THIS set of terms and conditions, I can’t come. Well that’s not cool, especially considering LivingSocial DOES give you a spot for all the terms and conditions you need to tell people.
The main problem was that the form I’d have to sign defines “facial jewelry” as including necklaces (OK, I don’t have to wear mine) and earrings (evidently ears are now on the face). It also said to leave cell phones home. That seems weird. I guess I’d leave it in the CAR. Usually I see workshops say no cell phone use and they ask you to put it on silent or power it down. She doesn’t even want you to have a phone in the building.
But about those earrings. I have 7 piercings in my ears and they are all CBRs aka “captive bead rings.” This is NOT a picture of me but this is kinda what my ears look like though I have a thicker gauge (image found on bodyartforms.com):
These are put in with a special tool whose name I don’t know. But it looks like this (image found on painfulpleasures.com):
It’s like a reverse pliers of some sort with notches so the ring doesn’t slip when you’re gently squeezing it. I have one somewhere… maybe. My kinda squeamish boyfriend (sorry, honey) had to take these out for my gall bladder surgery in 2012. The poor guy was nearly hyperventilating every time he had to take one out or put it back in. We didn’t have the right tool, and he was really nervous about slipping.
I’d imagine the chocolate people are worried about jewellery falling into food, machines, etc… And that can make sense. But my earrings can’t come out, at least not without a serious tool.
The bottom line was: I cancelled the workshops
After the customer service annoyances of emailing multiple times with no responses, a booking website that couldn’t do a booking, a workshop web page that didn’t list upcoming workshops, and a voicemail asking for a call back that prompted no call back PLUS the bonus of bait-and-switch workshop terms and fine print, I felt pretty done with these people. Bad user experience, and I didn’t even get there yet. I already felt unwelcome and like a bad dog.
Good luck, chocolate people. And next time you find yourself at a computer, other than actually answering emails, why not update your daily deals so that they have the FULL terms and conditions that you require. Some of those terms might be dealbreakers to your potential customers, and it makes no sense to surprise us later with extra terms and conditions when you can lay them ALL out up front.
And PS: ears are not on your face. They’re just not. I found websites about facial piercings that said that while earrings are very popular, they are not considered facial piercings. Necks are probably not on your face either, so you might want to re-word the whole bit about facial piercings.
When I work on a project, I am holding every button, every menu, every click and process up to three yardsticks:
Frustration, confusion, and disappointment.
Based on the personas or what we know about the intended users, when and where will they feel any of those? The moment I see those coming, I know I need to change my interaction design.
All of these are feelings that can easily make a user abandon the process. If you are doing user testing or research, here are some of the phrases you can look for. These express frustration, confusion, disappointment, or a combination of those.
- “I couldn’t…”
- “I was trying to… but…”
- “I wasn’t expecting that…”
- “Why wasn’t that over here?”
- “Why couldn’t I do that from this page?”
- “The info on the page never told me…”
- “I couldn’t figure out where to…”
- “There are too many…”
- “I didn’t understand why…”
What about other words? I haven’t found any that kill user experience so potentially completely as those three. Delay? Nobody likes delay, but people will often settle for small delays. Detour? Nobody likes a detour, but if you make me fill out a few fields before completing checkout, I’ll probably still do it… unless there are so many fields that it’s frustrating.
And then so many other words are just flavours of Frustration, Confusion, and Disappointment. Like surprise, upset, outrage, overwhelm, distraction, or a user feeling something is unclear or disorganised. Or a user feeling like he’s making mistakes.
You can remember Frustration, Confusion, and Disappointment by imagining the customer saying, “F that, I’m Completely Done.” FCD. Beware of anything creating FCD!