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Scandinavian Airlines(SAS) may be in love with itself. But it shouldn't advertise this self-love on its site....


There I am on a Friday evening, about to finish for the week, when I remember that flight I should have booked to Copenhagen. I'm multi-tasking here. I have the dinner on and the carrots have been boiling away. Will I have time to book and cook?
As I hurry to the SAS website, I'm listening to Yer Bounda Fara, a wonderful album by Ali Farka Toure. It takes me a couple of seconds to realize that there is this weird voice interrupting the beautiful music. I'm momentarily stunned. What on earth could this be? I pause iTunes.

"SAS! Sixty years! Can you believe it? Time flies and things happen all the time. Join me on the journey through time to take a look at the things we've done... ."

Can you believe it? Here I am on the SAS site. I just want to book a cheap flight. I've been listening to this great music and the carrots are nearly done, and what on earth is this voice doing talking at me?
Please, please, please, all ye organizations of the world, come close, gather round, listen carefully. I have something very important to tell, something that will have a profound impact on whether your Web site will be successful or not.
Nobody cares.
I could not care less that it's your 60thanniversary! You didn't send me a card when it was our anniversary, so why should I care about you? If you want me to care, offer me 60 percent off, then I will gladly say: Happy anniversary.
What sort of weird and wacky drugs were SAS on when they decided to create this mega marketing muck-brained monstrosity? Did they by any chance allow an advertising agency to advise them?
What sort of vacuous vanity allows any organization to believe for one nanosecond that the customer has any remote Outer Mongolian desire to go on a journey and "take a look at the things we've done"?
Worse: I can't turn the bloody thing off. It's torture. I'm staring at the screen, trying as quickly as possible to select Dublin to Copenhagen. Then it strikes me. SAS has one of the most awkward, time-consuming booking processes I have come across. Instead of having a list of destinations, you have to first choose the country, and then choose the airport you fly to.
My carrots are going to get soggy and I really don't like soggy carrots!! Please, all organizations of the world gather round (again):
The Web customer is always, always, always in a hurry. The Web is the land of attention deficit syndrome. People are improperly impatient. They just want to book a cheap flight as quickly as possible.
Repeat after me: "We are not the center of the universe. We are not the center of the universe." It's a big, bad world out there, full of unkind and cruel customers who care only about themselves.
You poor little organization. I know it's your anniversary and nobody has sent you a card. Come here until I give you a big hug.
Now, chin up. Go out and serve the customer.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Gerry McGovern
Gerry McGovern (gerry@gerrymcgovern.com) is a content management consultant and author. His latest book is The Stranger's Long Neck: How to Deliver What Your Customers Really Want Online, which teaches unique techniques for identifying and measuring the performance of customers' top tasks.