Managing the urge to refresh


Have you ever completed a task on a website and tried to view the updated information, only to find there’s no record of the changes you just made? This happened to me with an airline reservation: after I selected my seats, it said the changes were confirmed. However, when I viewed the itinerary right after that, it still showed the old seats. After a call to customer service, I learned that it may take an unknown amount of time before seat changes are reflected on the website.

I’m sure there are technical reasons why certain types of data take longer to update than others. That’s fine, but you need to let customers know what to expect. Something like this would work nicely: “Your new seats have been saved, and will be shown on the website within 15 minutes. Please wait 15 minutes before trying to view or change your seats again.” Without the benefit of this guidance, customers will keep refreshing the page, or they’ll try the transaction over and over again, or they’ll tie up your call center with questions. By providing the right timeline upfront, you’ll give people peace of mind and lower your customer service costs at the same time.