Error. Please Removes Spaces – Are you kidding me?


Frustrated GirlHave you ever attempted to complete a short on-line form, something that should be quick and simple, and ended up ready to throw your computer out of the window in frustration?

I know I have. Just this week, I wanted to view some information on a web-site but frustratingly was required to sign-up as a member to the site before I was given access to the information I wanted. <grumble> The on-line membership sign-up form I was presented with then asked me for a relatively large amount of information, including my address and telephone number. <grr> By the time I’d filled all this in, I was tempted to simply seek out the information I wanted from another web-site altogether! But I pressed “Submit” and to my irritation was given the following error back.

“Please remove Spaces”.

The error referred to my telephone number, which I’d input on to the form with a space between dialling code and main number.


How ridiculous! How simple is it for the form itself to remove the spaces, and let me get on with the job at hand?

All of us regularly come across examples of these roadblocks in our day-to-day lives, and whilst they are often simply irritations to many of us, in the age of convenience these irritations can also mean the difference between a user completing a transaction with us or throwing their hands into the air and giving up.

  • You ask your clients to give you feedback on your product or service. They happily agree, then you e-mail them with a dozen “Rate on a Scale of 1 to 10” items. At best, they get bored and click randomly. At worst, they get bored and leave the survey unfinished. How about picking just the one or two most important questions you need answering for your survey, and focusing on them instead?
  • Residents are encouraged to report pot-holes in their local roads to their Council, for repair. They are offered a telephone number to do so, but the number is only manned between 9am and 5pm on Weekdays. How about offering residents an e-mail address or SMS facility that allows them to report issues 24/7?
  • A reader visits your blog and enjoys an article. She wants to share it with her friends via Facebook or Twitter but that involves visiting Facebook directly and cutting and pasting the link. How about making it really simple for them to share the article by providing buttons that allow direct posting to Facebook or Twitter, with the article link automatically populated?

Review your customer touch points

Review your external touch-points regularly, and put yourself in your customers shoes. Is it simple and obvious for them to achieve their desired goal? Take steps to simplify and streamline these touch points. This is especially important when you solicit feedback as part of a Community.

We are in the Information Age where, whether we like it or not, people move quickly and attention spans are limited. If you don’t make it as simple and convenient as possible for people to interact with you, they’ll simply go elsewhere – and now, more than ever, there are plenty of alternatives for them to try.

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