This month I went through the steps of booking a hotel for a short getaway. After going through the several steps, confirming the dates, adding the options, opting out of promotions and entering in my credit card card, the site showed me a pleasant spinner telling me it was confirming my reservation.

The satisfaction of committing to a great idea and short time awaited as I waited several seconds for my screen to reload.Except that’s not what happened. My confirmation screen congratulating me was interrupted with, “An unexpected error occurred. Please try again.” The link it presented reloaded the homepage and all my options and reservations choices were gone.

Please try again didn’t mean hit the pay button again, it meant start over. Start over? I just spent 15 minutes confirming all my details and now I have to do it all over again?

When software fails, it’s extremely dangerous for your customer.

Not only have you inconvenienced them by asking them to repeat information they have already entered, you have now introduced uncertainty into the equation.

Questions like, “Did I do something wrong?” “Is my room still available?” and “Was my card actually charged?” all instantly came to mind.

But those weren’t the dangerous thoughts.The dangerous thoughts that came to mind as I thought about starting over were, “Do I still want to do this trip?” “Do I want this hotel or another one?” “Should we do this trip another time or year?” “Should we go to a different city?

Prior to the error, I was committed to my purchase. But after the error, I wasn’t so sure. I have been given an unexpected second chance to change my mind.

The reliability of software and its ability to complete a transaction successfully is critically important for these few reasons.

Reliable software:

  1. Eliminates second thoughts about the purchase
  2. Eliminates unnecessary support inquiries
  3. Eliminates fear of security and availability
  4. Eliminates frustrated customers who are likely to complain publicly

The reliability of your software provider is a major concern. If you provider is prone to glitches, errors or the occasional crash, your software is scaring away sales.

For us at Webconnex, we concern ourselves with the reliability of our servers, APIs and applications through constant monitoring. We use tools like pingdom, logstash, kibana, and a host of homegrown tools so we always know when something doesn’t perform perfectly. Our notifications send us text messages, emails and Slack notifications so we can instantly jump on it.

Uptime, reliability and performance are important to us because we never want your customer ever to think twice about registering for an event or making a donation.

As for me and that particular trip. I did go back and rebook to the same hotel, but downgraded my options and shortened the stay.