Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dear Tim Horton's

Thank you for finally getting wi-fi in your stores.  That only took how many years?  As giddy as I am that I am now able to enjoy some free Internet while I sip on a double double, I'd like to make a few observations.

Enough with the agreeing to your terms and conditions before I can use the Internet.  It's inconvenient, annoying, time-consuming and only suitable if I'm using your Internet connection to web surf with my browser.  If I want to use your Internet connection for the dozens of other Internet-connected applications, I have to open a browser first, try to navigate somewhere, get interrupted by your web page, where I have to choose the option of how I want to connect to the Internet, wait for another page to load, then accept your stupid terms and conditions after scrolling down multiple pages of those terms.  Only then can I switch back to one of my other mobile Internet apps and start using the Internet.  Like seriously, what the hell?

Anyone not familiar with the hoops that need to be jumped through to gain access to the Internet is not going to realize that the reason they can't connect using their e-mail, the weather app, Facebook, Google search, Yelp, Foursquare, Skype, Shazam, etc. is because they haven't opened their browser and jumped through all of the hoops I described in the last paragraph.  Imagine if you will that I am trying to use the Shazam application to figure out what song I am listening to in your store.  By the time I figure out why I can't connect, then rectify the situation by jumping through all of those hoops, the song would be over and I would be mad.

I think I understand why you make people agree to those terms and conditions in the first place.  But you're not making this an enjoyable experience.  Imagine for a moment that every time a new customer entered your store, got up to the till ready to order their food and coffee, they were forced to read and agree to your terms and conditions before they could place their order.  You would have some very unhappy customers.  In time, you would have no customers.  Once you realized that their acceptance of your terms and conditions was interfering with your ability to make money, you would find a more efficient way to cover that base.  Such as putting the terms and conditions prominently on the wall.  So why can't you do this for your free Internet service?  I'll even meet you halfway.  Once I've agreed to your terms and conditions once, why do I keep having to do it every time I visit your store?  Do you think that I have somehow forgotten the terms that I have accepted?  Do the terms change weekly? No, it's because it would be too much trouble to keep track of every device that has ever connected to your network.

So how about we just open up the Internet to everyone within range of your store and let's just use convenience and a desire to make the customer happy as excuses.  Because if you want to get more customers, it's not going to be good enough to just offer the Internet.  You're going to need to offer the Internet in a way that is better than everyone else.  Seamlessly, efficiently and quickly.  Put the terms and conditions right on the door so that people can see it on their way in.  Problem solved.

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