As much as I like fiddling with texts to get the 140 charcaters short for twitter or the perfect text message as much it annoys me if it comes to contact forms.
Case No 1 is xing.
If I want to connect to a new person I have the possiblity to write a short note with it. It is cut after 150 signs. I understnad the reasoning behind it. They want you to first connect and then uopgrade for full messaging functionality and don’t want to provide email services for non premium customers who abuse the connect functionality.
But 150 signs are really a bit short. It is barely enough for a polite hello and good bye. If you then also want to add a short reason for you connection request you are out of signs. Then you start fiddling and end up with an extremely impolite message that sits in your new contacts profile for the rest of time.
Second example is the logistic service gls.
First you only get a drop down to select a reason for your request. Fine in general I am a big fan of guided processes and grouping requests is certainly helpful but I am then forced to press ok in the left top corner of the page for it to reload and display the form. Took me a while to figure that out.
Considering that I am alreday pissed that I have to contact them anyway. I am only using the form because there call center is not working that time of the day and the best reason I could chose to make an enquiry about a lost delivery is “others”. Things need to improve quickly now. But the next problem is approaching already. The free text field to describe my problem is only 254 signs long. No prewarning I just realize it is cutting my text over and over again. Ever tried to describe what has already happened or rather not happened with your delivery in 254 signs? Have fun.
And here I do not see any business reason too shorten the form. Of course a limit at some point certainly makes sense you don’t want your customer care department reading novels and you need to save all that stuff and probably process it in some CRM system fine. But a bit more to give people the possibility to acutally state their request.
And for me a prewarning that I need to keep it short and might run out of characters is just the polite way. Transparency and clear feedback what the system is doing.
In the end the delivery actually arrived and my boyfriend will have a christmas present. But it was not my first issue with them and actually being able to chose wich logistics partner delivers becomes more and more important in my chosing of online stores. But that is a topic in itself.