Me: I'd like to use a new account for my auto draft payment.
Extremely Helpful Customer Service Rep: I'm sorry, you can only change your account 9 days prior to your bill due date.
Me: OK, then let me give you my credit card number.
EHCSR: We don't accept phone payments.
EHCSR: You'll have to send a money gram.
Me: I don't have a money gram. (In fact I can't say I really know what a money gram is)
EHCSR: You can get one at Walmart.
Me: So, let me let this straight. I have to find a Walmart to get a money gram to pay for my car.
EHCSR: Yes, maam.
Me: But I can pay you right now with my credit card. I have money now. And you want my money now, right?
EHCSR: Yes, maam.
Me: But you won't take my money?
EHSCR: No, maam. We will only take a money gram.
Me: Thank you. You have been extremely helpful (Read: You have wasted 20 minutes of my life that I will never get back)
So, nevermind the fact that my car company apparently has some evil conspiracy plot to get me into Walmart, I am shocked at how difficult a very simple transaction can become. At the end of the day, if I have something you want and you have something I want, shouldn't we just trade? I win. You win. It's that simple.
This afternoon while listening to the webinar "Using Online News to Drive SEO" Lee Odden hit the nail on the head.
In the case of news content, make it easy for consumers and journalists alike to find your message on the channels and in the format they prefer.
Peter Shankman has done exactly that by connecting reporters with experts through his Help a Reporter Out (HARO) press queries. Journalists describe what they need, an e-mail goes out and experts respond if they have the answers. The same model can be used in advertising. Social media provides instant insight into what your audience wants. All you have to do is listen. What does your customer want? Then, if you have they are asking for, make it easy for them to buy it. Duh, right? Keep it simple and always add value.
Example: If I tweet out that I am jonesing for a cheeseburger and BK sends me a coupon, what are the odds that I am going to truck it over to BK? (Hint: I am saving up for shiny things and really big on instant gratification.) Now if they send me a coupon that is only redeemable on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 4-7am with a with a minimum $107 purchase while supplies last...yeah, not so much.
P.S. Anyone looking for a lovely, barely used solid-gold sedan can find me in line at Walmart.