a friend of a friend says…

Sometimes one of the most important things you can do in business is learn from the mistakes of others. It may seem an odd thing to apply to pensions or investments, but at the moment, one website that is going through quite a bit of self inflicted pain is Guardian Soulmates.

A source, close to Space 01, has been using the website and made us aware of his frustrations. So here’s what not to do.

First don’t break with your technology provider and take it over yourself unless you are sure the transition will be seamless. Don’t let the site break down for weeks not with Match.com and mysinglefriend.com loitering in the wings.

Don’t change the layout radically, just when users have got used to it. There is even a petition calling for the old site back.http://www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/soulmates/0/11

Make sure that any information on the site for example emails from your members’ potential future soulmate, or indeed soulmates, don’t get lost. Who knows you may be losing the online equivalent of a sonnet from Romeo and Juliet. (probably not but you never know).

When you do get the site back up and running make sure that it functions at least as well as the old site did and that any changes to navigation are explained properly or are so intuitive they don’t need explained.

Then when you are extending the membership period, to make up for all the confusion, make sure that the site has started working again, otherwise you may only be extending the pain.

We think those lessons apply to pensions and investment sites too. People need to trust the site, need to understand intuitively how it works and while their reluctance to consider their retirement isn’t quite the same as the embarrassment of approaching a future partner, there are quite a few similarities.  If people get used to something such as managing their financial affairs online don’t take it away from them. They may not find love, but they may find a certain contentment if they feel they are in control of their finances, so we advise never taking it away from them. But we’re sure you know that. And if you ever need a little advice about it, Space 01 can help.

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