Some Companies Still Don’t Get “Online”

When it comes to web technology there are still some companies that are back in the 1980’s.  Okay, I know, there was no web in the 80’s, but there might as well be no web today for those certain companies.  I had the misfortune of dealing with two of them this evening.

It all began when I stopped to get gas at a Flying J on my way home from work.  It’s a station I frequent for two reasons –  low prices and proximity (a few miles away) to my house.  As always, after swiping my debit card at the pump, I was prompted to either swipe my Rewards Card or press Enter.  And, again as always, I thought “I really need to get a Rewards Card and get the discounted prices”.

The difference today was that, when I arrived home, I actually remembered and went to their web site to request a card.  And that is where this story takes a turn for the outdated.

After logging onto their website (and knowing what I do now I am surprised that either company in question even has one) I located the link for the Rewards Card.  A nice page explained the benefits which, based on my habits, would save about $0.20 per gallon on my costs.  However, there was no “Apply” link.  I tried several approaches to this problem without luck.  I searched the site and found a page that contained an “Apply” link, but, when I clicked it I receive an error.  I was using Firefox, so I opened IE and tried again, but got the same error.

Frustrated, I called Customer Service.  An nice rep informed me that they no longer did this because they had merged with Pilot and Pilot now handled it.  “So, I need to go to their site?”.  “Yes”.

So, they thought letting users get an error message when clicking on “Apply Now” was tantamount to letting them know that the service was no longer offered through Flying J?  And we could just ascertain, somehow, that they had merged with Pilot and that that Pilot now offered the service?!

Okay.  I went to Pilot’s website.  Here, though, I can find no link to apply, even with a site search.  So now I call Pilot customer service.  I am informed that they do not offer an online application, but that I can pick up an app at any Flying J or Pilot location.

Really?!  No way to apply online?  No link from one site to the other, after the merger, to let users know where to go?  Just let them get an error message instead?  I don’t think I have encountered this kind of online ineptitude since the 90’s.  To be fair, both offer great prices at the pump and both had very friendly customer service reps.  But maybe they could wake up to current technology and learn how the modern web works.  They need to find the last great innovation before the next one leapfrogs them again.