Ghrist en su idioma:
I have a gripe, and I'm wondering how many people out there share it with me. My gripe is that there are a surprising number of product vendor websites that make it illogically difficult to get information from those sites about the products their companies offer.Ghrist usa una hipotética búsqueda de producto (un software que cree estadísticas para la temporada de baseball):
I've never actually confronted a vendor about this, and I don't mean to imply all the violators are in our market -- they're not. I'm not going to name names, either. But if any of what follows strikes a distant chord with you, whether you're a software vendor or not, take a look at your own website and see if your company might not be guilty of at least one, if not a few, of these sins.
let's say you're the IT manager of a company that wants to offer fantasy baseball leagues to the public next season. You've got a shiny new 525, and you need a piece of software to run on it that compiles baseball statistics and lets users rank players based on any given statistic, for starters. Other features would be gravy, maybe gravy worth having, but it depends on what they are. But you don't want to talk to a salesperson yet. You want to get a feel for what's out there, what features are pretty standard in the available products, what special options only one or two packages might offer, what a general ballpark (pun intended, blush) price might be. After all, when you actually do call a salesperson, you certainly don't want to sound like you're some ignorant mark who's calling a salesperson of baseball statistics software for the first time, do you? So off you go on a search of baseball statistics application vendors' websites.)Los tipos de estrategia:
Ninguna información, sólo generalidades
The first kind of website you find is what I'd call the "it's all about the marketese" website. It's the kind of place where you can't find any product information except vague generalities. These sites have tabs you can click to be directed to "product information," but when you get there, what you find is less than helpful.Algo de información, pero falta de contexto:
The second kind of website I'd call the "deeper mystery" website. It's more normal looking. It has some docs that actually describe some product features. That's helpful. It may even have white papers or a case study or two that describe the software in action or show an actual example of what it did for some company. More helpful. OK, so you're ready to put them on your short list. Oh, but does the software run on the System i? Ahhh, now they have you. After searching every document you can access, you can't even find verification that it runs on a Windows PC! It must run on Everycomputer, that mysterious machine that so many marketing departments seem to assume that all companies have, so why should they bother with niggling little details like the supported platform or OS? And what version of i5/OS does it support? Are you kidding?Información se consigue, pero primero lo ataremos bien:
This one lists its products, each with a one- or two-sentence description that tells you "for sure, this is a baseball statistics software vendor all right," but not much more. But there's the promise of much more here. The site says it offers all sorts of information: testimonials, reviews, charts comparing (unfavorably, of course) competing products to this vendor's wonderful offering, maybe even some actual user docs. But there's one little catch. To access any of it, you have to fill out a long demographics form in which you identify yourself, your company, your phone number, your e-mail address, your company's gross income, your annual IT budget, how much you're willing to spend on baseball statistics software. . . and you're not allowed to submit the form if so much as one field is left blank. It's about everything you don't want to get into right now. And if you should bite like the good little fishie they hope you are, don't be going down the hall for the rest of the day because sales people will be calling momentarily.El sitio fantasma, sin detalles, sin información de productos o de la empresa:
This is the kind of website that has a few static pages that describe the business, but not necessarily any products. (Except for one product, unnamed, about which there's someone expositing on the tweak the company made to some piece of code buried somewhere in the product, which the vendor is offering as a public gesture towards openness, but comments in the code date it to early 1999.) There are testimonials about the enterprise, but virtually nothing about offerings. If you want that classified information, you have to fill out one of those anonymous request forms that are automatically e-mailed to "firstname.lastname@example.org" (but at which the intern responsible for checking this e-mail account was laid off two months ago, and this was one duty no one thought to reassign). There's no clue about where this company might be located. There's maybe not even a phone number. You have to contact them their way or not at all.La super-corporación que tiene todo, pero atiende en un número comercial, que nunca da lo que se espera:
It's a megacorporation! It must have what you need. Oh, boy, look at all that statistics software! Five different packages, 50 different options. A GUI in Farsi for the Middle Eastern customers! You've got it made! Just call the 800 number. Oh, but . . . all available operators are busy. And when you do get through, the connection is dropping out, you have to repeat your request twice. "I'll transfer you." A phone ring, changing to another kind of phone ring, after five rings changing to a third kind. The guy who answers has an Indian accent, and there are pauses between what the two of you say while the satellite relays your words. "Sells department? You want sells? I'll transfer you," and you immediately get the "busy-circuit signal." You're punted, go back to start.Este último caso lo vivo frecuentemente...Ya mencioné antes ONO (1)y APP. Aquí se habla de la preventa, lo que es peor, porque una mala atención al tratar de comprar, preanuncia un comportamiento similar (seguramente peor), una vez que el "cliente" está atado.
Como sucede crecientemente en general, uso la consulta por Internet frecuentemente; puedo asegurar que estos casos, y muchos otros mas, son mas comunes de lo que se esperaría. Cualquier recorrida muestra que todavía Internet ocupa un papel secundario en la amplia mayoría de las empresas, comenzando por las pequeñas y medianas, pero no terminando allí.
(1) A propósito de ONO, todavía estoy esperando contestación al e-mail que les enviara entonces, y que telefónicamente reconocían haber recibido.