Broken Forms Infuriate

Over the weekend I tried to become a member of the British Film Institute by applying online.

It was pretty painless to complete the online form until I got to the payment screen. I entered my Maestro card details and clicked ‘Submit’ but the form failed. I was told to check that I had entered the Card Issue Number correctly. There was nothing wrong with it, so I tried the process again in Internet Explorer 7 in case there was some specific bug happening in FireFox, my regular browser. The same thing happened in IE7.

Frustrated, I spotted the note at the bottom of the page saying to call their Membership Helpline any time up until 10pm. This was on Sunday afternoon, so I rang and unsurprisingly was put through to voicemail that stated opening hours were “Ten until six, Monday to Friday”.

Today, I received a call back stating that they were having problems with Switch/Maestro cards on the site and that I should complete the membership over the phone. I was impressed to receive a reply: often you never hear back when leaving voicemails on customer service lines.

So I called the box office who said that they might not be able to complete the membership as all their credit/debit card machines were having problems! Some luck. In the event, they took my details and my card did in fact go through so in a few days I will receive my membership and lots of free gubbins.

Three things stand out here:

  1. The web is great unless it goes wrong over the weekend
  2. Ensure your customer contact information is correct
  3. A disgruntled customer can be retained and delighted with a courteous personal call

I’m a new fan of the BFI. What a shame then that I can’t get tickets for Withnail 20 years on, one of the reasons i joined.

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