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External Web Users - How To Support

By Oldmanmike ·
Our external customer website supports our 200,000+ customers, with access to basic functions such as paying invoices, changing address, etc. Nothing too mindblowing in terms of functionality, but we are now seeing more than 100,000 customers per month accessing their account via our website.

Now this is a great thing when it comes to supporting the customers 7x24, and reducing call volume in our call center. The biggest issue we have right now is the number of complaints we get from computer illiterate customers who can't seem to use the website without experiencing problems.

I'm not talking about issues where our site is down or broken. I'm talking about users who are infected with viruses/adware/etc., users who don't know how to download Adobe Reader to view our PDF files, or other such nonsense.

Our customer service representatives who receive e-mails from these customers are having a tough time supporting them (they're not IT folks) and we in IT don't have time to answer all of the e-mails. We may only get a few dozen of these complaint e-mails a month, but getting to the root of the problems for all of these customers is a royal pain - and eats up our valuable time.

Do any of you out there have suggestions for checklists that our support folks could send out to our customers? Our FAQ page is getting bigger and bigger, as we start talking about checking popup blocker settings, updating anti-virus definitions, trying to use a different browser or computer, etc.

Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Based on our statistics, 99% of our customers use the site with no problems, but the 1% that can't get through filling out a basic form are causing us migraines.

Thanks in advance!

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ok, I'll give answering these a shot...

by Jaqui In reply to External Web Users - How ...

I'm talking about users who are infected with viruses/adware/etc., users who don't know how to download Adobe Reader to view our PDF files, or other such nonsense.

Don't use content that a browser can't display with no plugins, that solves all of these types of problems for the website.

If your product documentation is on cd and in pdf, ship aodbe reader on the cdrom, Adobe doesn't charge for doing this.

Our FAQ page is getting bigger and bigger, as we start talking about checking popup blocker settings, updating anti-virus definitions, trying to use a different browser or computer, etc.

If your site uses popups then you need to rethink the design, people install / enable popup blockers because they don't want popups.


essentially, a website to work for everyone without problems needs to follow the W3C WAI guidelines [ Website Accessability Initiative ]
This boils down to the lowest common denominator in functionality, use a text only browser and make sure the site functions in it, then you won't have any problem complaints from customers. The text only browsers generally have such limited abilities that when someone makes sure of usability with one of them, when customers come with ie, infested or not with malware, the site will work right.

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