Here’s looking at you, Western Union.
A buddy of mine just sent me a message on Facebook asking for help. He said he needed money sent to a place in Illinois via Western Union and he was having issues with his phone. As it turned out he was also very tired and didn’t realize he could just call Western Union, and eventually that’s what he did. Which is good, because otherwise the money wasn’t going to be sent. At least not from Western Union’s website.
I’ve never had to deal with that company, and after this experience I hope I never have to again. You see, their website is optimized to allow you to use their service on it. Businesses love having their website do work, because then they don’t have to pay an employee to do that work. The website does it for free. And usually businesses spend lots of money on those websites so that their customers will use them over their competition’s websites.
It’s all about money. You want to stay ahead of the competition, or at the very least, stay up to speed with them. In this world of technology, with everything and everyone online, if you want to have a successful business, you have to have a successful website. ESPECIALLY if you’re a customer service oriented business.
For instance, the pizza place I work for has a website, and customers can use that website to place orders. When the company first implemented that, they pushed it hard to their customers. Hell yeah, if they can have all of their customers ordering online, that frees up the employees in the store to do other shit instead of answering phones. Get more done for the same amount of labor cost.
If a business is going to pump money into an online system that makes their business run better and more cost efficient, they want it to make its money back by working properly. The pizza place I work for, apparently, doesn’t give one atom of a fuck if their online ordering works or not. For the last few months it has been acting up and impossible to use, yet for some reason they haven’t bothered fixing it. It tells all of our customers that we’re out of cheese, and when orders come through it tells us the customers want no cheese on their pizzas. It also tells certain customers they live outside of our delivery range when they’re right down the street from our store.
The point here is, if you’re going to offer your customers your service on your website, make sure that shit works. Western Union, one of the largest businesses in the country who specialize in getting money from one place to another quickly for a nominal fee, also don’t give a shit about their website working.
This is how it went down. After going to the site I saw an option to send money online. That’s what I wanted. Here it is:
“Sending to:” and no text field. Why did they bother asking if there’s no way for me to tell them? That comes up later, making this more than just a happy little accidental error and more like a terrible job making a functional website. I filled in the amount my buddy wanted to send in the “Amount” field and clicked the “Get Started” button. I was then taken to this page (you can click it for a larger picture):
The amount I entered into the field on the previous page hadn’t been inserted into the “Amount” field on this page, so that part of the procedure was completely worthless. In fact, to get these screen shots I didn’t bother filling in the field on the first page and just clicked “Get Started” and it took me right to this page without saying I forgot to fill in that field, or anything. It did, however, show me a loading circle in the middle of the page, as if some sort of calculation was actually going on. It was, actually, all for show. Also you’ll notice that “Sending money to:” in the first step with, once again, no text field. Why ask it if you don’t give a shit?
Once I filled in the amount, AGAIN, the areas to the right auto populated. Oh, so you do understand how that works. Why didn’t you implement that for the amount field from the first page? Would that take extra work? Aww.
I then put in the zip code. Not mine, cause it’s not traveling from me. Actually, it shouldn’t fucking matter where the sender is at all, right? This is happening online. The zip code from the sender should be where ever Western Union’s base of operations is, or at the very least, where their website is hosted from. Cause you’re sending money via their website, not a particular location in a particular city. There is no need for this at all.
Actually, the “need for it” is to determine how much they’re going to charge you, presumably. So fuck them for not having a basic internet fee for sending money and calling it as such, put in the zip code of the area where you want to send your money. Let them charge you as little as possible. That is, if you can actually get the site to work.
Next… nothing. You’ll see there on that second picture that the third thing down is “How does your receiver want to receive the money?” And there is once again no text area. No nothing, other than a link that suggests you can learn about their services. I clicked it. A pop up came up telling me I can send money several different ways, and that was it. I closed it.
The fourth option down is, “How would you like to pay?” and once again there is no text area. That link also does nothing.
Finally the “Continue” button isn’t clickable, so you can’t continue at all.
Well done, Western Union, well done. I did a little snooping and discovered that maybe I’d have to create an account in order to send any money at all. I figured that might be the case, but since the website never told me that, I thought to myself, “This is too good to be true! A website that offers a service without having to create an account first! Amazing!”
I had to do some clicking and searching, because there are multiple places that you can click that take you right back to that last page. You actually have to go back to the main page and click on a little text link that says “Send money online now.” No, not the giant button at the top of the page that says “SEND MONEY,” or the little window that opens up when you hover over that giant button. Of course the big area to the right of it that I first showed a picture of above… no, that little text link at the bottom left of this screen shot:
Ok, now that you’ve found it through trial and error, and lucky you, you have absolutely NOTHING ELSE TO DO TODAY, which is cool cause you want to spend all of your time doing something that should be extremely easy to do, you’re taken to a page that shows you this:
Click that blue button that says, “Log in and Get Started>>” and you’ll be taken to this page:
I needed to create a new account, so I clicked on that big yellow “Register Now” button and guess what. NOTHING HAPPENED. The screen didn’t even act like it wanted to change to another screen. Nothing. Happened. At. All. Nothing.
Money well spent, Western Union. I could create a better working site than yours with AOL Hometown.
If you really want to register an account, you have to click the Register button at the top right of the website. Only then will you be shown the account register page. Finally, I could help out my buddy by signing up for an account with a service I’ll probably never use again.
I went to the first text area. It asked for my email address and said that I will always use that to log in. I put in my email address and before I could move on to the rest of the form, the loading circle appeared, the site started configuring shit that it didn’t need to configure, and the screen changed on me to a familiar screen, only this time with a new message:
My session timed out! After only five seconds of constant activity. I tried it several other times and got the same message each time.
That’s when I suggested to my buddy to just call them, so he did.
Western Union, you suck. Fix your shit or remove it from the web. It’s polluting valuable space.