So it's that time of year again, when I need to MOT both of the family cars. For those of you outside the UK that's a mandated annual car check.
I tried two new e-commerce channels from two leading suppliers. The first was Kwik-fit-fit who had mailed me a reminder and an offer to book the MOT online and some offers combined with servicing. I found it very hard to make the booking online, on fact for both Kwik-fit and Halford's booking online was way more complicated than booking via phone which was a very simple process where I was asked only two or three simple questions, name car make and registration.
One restriction on the Kwik-fit site I could not understand was that I had to pay in advance when booking, OK they were offering a discount to do so but it was not possible to book without paying, which it is possible to do over the phone.
In addition I had to go through for pages of data entry, and the site could not find my car model, just a Toyota! If I am playing in advance why do they need all this data there is no risk to them if I don't show up and again over the phone I would have just supplied name, phone and car registration.
Just because I am sitting at at keyboard doesn't mean I want to spend all day key entering data in your website. Also they sent me a document to my home with my car details on this, why do I have to key-enter data that you already know about me, why not provide a link/document number like the DVLA do for Vehicle Excise duty do?
What also made me laugh on the questionnaire that Kwik-Fit sent to me on abandoning checkout was that
it gave an option for other but did not allow you to tell them what you meant by other. I wanted to tell them to include a non-payment option but Kwik-fit are only interested in answers that they have pre-approved, good listening to customers!
I think the HalfordsAutoCentre MOT booking was a lot easier to use, with address look-up based on post-code, car model look-up based on registration and a simple slot to book. Again there is probably a bit too much information to enter compared with booking by phone but at least its clean and easy to use even if they do add quite a few up-sells!
There is competition for all business, keeping your e-commerce channel simple and easy to use is a key differentiator in the quest for new business.