Recently Sara contacted me off-line she wanted to subscribe to my site but got gibberish. I tried to explain that when she clicked on my subscribe link she got information to subscribe to my RSS link. The response was “what’s that?” With more explanations I got more questions. A long conversation ensued and I ended up helping her subscribe via email- her preferred way to keep up.
I was thinking about this episode and was surprised that she didn’t know what RSS was- most sites only give a subscribe link to their RSS feed. “This isn’t so complicated” I thought. Then I thought of the advice my mother once told me: “People have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak”. I was talking too much in that conversation. I realized that these technologies are recent innovations and aren’t common knowledge. The inability to subscribe may be happening to many people. Not everyone knows RSS, Feedburner and Google Reader and they shouldn’t have to just to read my site.
As a result I introduced a subscribe page. It’s not elegant but it starts pointing people in the right direction. Another example of layering in action. It’s a lot easier to make it easy for them and give instructions than to have phone calls and explain this one.
Are you expecting too much knowledge from your customers? Are you talking more than listening? Make it easy for them to start with you and even easier to stay with you.
photo credit: twenty_questions