Today was frustrating.
I've been trying to get in touch with the right person at the right organization for a special project I'm working on. The project itself is neat and interesting and, sadly, incidental to today's post, so I'll put my discussion of it on hold for another day.
No, today, I want to talk about website maintenance.
The particular organization I'm currently trying to make contact with has a website. It's an attractive website, and generally navigable. I'm sure, when it was put together, it was great. And it's still pretty. But the contact links are defunct, now - I assume that whoever the email originally went to has left the organization and the link hasn't been updated. Worse yet, the wording of the link isn't the same as the email address it links to, and neither are correct.
I don't want to mention the organization specifically, but I do want to give an example, so the following email addresses are, to the best of my knowledge, not real. Don't click on them - I don't know where they go.
Let's say you want to contact Buziness R Us. And, on the website, is a contact link to firstname.lastname@example.org. Great! You click on it - and your email pops open, addressed to email@example.com. That's confusing, perhaps, but you write a very nice email, hit "send," and sigh as it comes back as undeliverable. Well, you say to yourself, maybe the webmaster changed the wording of the link, but didn't fix the code correctly, so the link goes somewhere else. You send a new message - same wording, but this time you type out the email address as it's shown on the website: firstname.lastname@example.org. And it comes back undeliverable.
What do you do then? If you're me, you give up on email and pick up the phone, my least favorite way of dealing with any business.
After a pre-recorded message, you connect with an operator, who, unsure of the person you ought to talk to, transfers you to someone a step or two up in administration, who may or may not know the answer. If you're lucky, you go through that a few times, until you reach someone who can help you, although you'd better get a working email address from that person, because he or she will forget what you wanted from them within five minutes of your call.
If you're not lucky - and, today, I was not lucky - at some point, you get voicemail, leave a message, and pray to St. Jude and St. Catherine of Alexandria that the person calls you back.
This could have been easily avoided, had the website's contact link been good. Please, for the love of all that is holy and pure, if you work somewhere with contact information on its website, check occasionally that the information is good. If not, get someone to fix it - it isn't that difficult, really. But it could be really, really important.
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