And they’re not getting a link from me, either

At the library, helping The Kid do some research on chemical this-or-that. She’s supposed to start on the web—apparently this helps them focus the project before they head to the card catalogue or somesuch—but after a short time she needs help because “focus” and “world wide web” don’t really go well together when you’re a 5th grader. She’s instantly overwhelmed. We talk about specifics, type relevant words into my favorite search engine, and scroll the the results. Junk, junk, bingo!

Great site, lots of expert insight, active community to learn from. She’s hooked. She finds one article dealing with the exact issue that she’s supposed to deliver answers on.

She needs to show it to her teacher before proceeding with the project, so I hit the Print button positioned next to the title.

SORRY! says the pop-up window.

You must log in as a member in order to print this article.

I fume for a second and close the pop-up. I stare at the site… we could take a screen shot and print that, or…

I try the computer’s Print command.

The page prints like a charm.

Don’t they know?

Treat people like criminals, and they’ll immediately try to get around your barriers…

… and act like criminals.

I felt a little guilty, folks, but not much.

Maximum Customer Experience takeaway:

Err on the side of letting a little bad stuff happen, so that the great majority of people, who are honest, can have good feelings about you.

Otherwise known as: Be careful what you criminalize. Criminals typically don’t become loyal customers* or raving fans.


Grow and be well,

Kelly Erickson


*Yes, I know, in this case we weren’t likely to become members (which was free, but required giving them contact info) or customers, just to print something as pre-research for a school project. But these barriers are there for their ideal target customer as well as for us, and similar actions to make good prospects and customers feel like criminals are present in many other businesses as well. Yours? Well, not after your read this post, right?