Bell has been encouraging me to use a variety of online subscriber services to manage my business account. They are really trying to be customer friendly, but it's not their strong suit. They've got some reasonable features in the new interface, but they are buried beneath layers of intimidating interface. If you have an appetite for usability testing with a sample of one, read on...
Welcome to the Online Bill Manager Service!
This week, I received a new log-in ID and another new password by e-mail, directing me to their latest customer care portal, www.interaction.bell.ca.
First problem -- the NEW user-name/password
combination is incorrect. After re-trying a few times, I tried the old log-in ID and password -- which works! Here's the unfriendly landing page (click to enlarge).
I especially love the part where it shows unsuccessful log-ins, whatever that may mean...
Clicking on either of the links that say "User Guides" spawns a new window to the PUBLIC site, where I have to determine whether BEBN is classified under Phone, Internet or Wireless. [How about a simple set of links with the user guides, is that so hard?]
Clicking on the e-care link takes me to this familiar screen, which has not changed in at least two years:
This is not a user-friendly service, starting with those ominous "choose a node" words. I'd look up the meaning of node if I could find the user guide.
I re-read the e-mail, which tells me that "You can download the Administrator's Guide from the Help page within the Online Bill Manager service". So I try the left hand menu help item, double-checking in two different browsers just to be sure I'm not seeing things. I'm not -- here's the message, but there are no links to click on:
Perhaps I'm not in the right place after all... nothing here says "Online Bill Manager". Hmmm...
This would be laughable, except that it's so awful. [I did laugh, actually, and hope you are too. We all need a laugh.]
I do believe that this company is working hard to improve the user experience. The problem is, they don't seem to have a clue how to go about it.
The e-mail invites me to let them know about any questions or problems I might be having. So I'm sending them the link to this blog. I'll let you know if anything meaningful happens.
Postcript at 12:55 pm
It turns out they sent me two e-mails with the same log-in ID, but different passwords. The second password works. Still can't find the user guide.
Postscript 1:52 pm - here's the e-mail they sent me in response to my query:
To use the Online Bill Manager service:
1. Go to the Bell Business Portal at www.interaction.bell.ca
2. Enter your username and password, then, click OK.
3. Click the Billing link on the left side of the page.
4. Click the Online Bill Manager link.
5. Click on the access link on the left side of the page.
6. At the bottom of the home page you can click the tutorial link.
Please refer to the Administrator's Guide for assistance setting up and managing your Online Bill Manager account. This guide provides step-by-step instructions for managing other users and adding or removing Bell accounts from the Online Bill Manager service. You can download the Administrator's Guide from the Help page within the Online Bill Manager service.
Thank you for choosing Bell Canada
Online Bill Manager
At last -- I've found the link to the Administrator's Guide!!!! It's five layers deep after you log in.
If this is designed for large corporate users, it might make sense. But it could still have a lot fewer layers. There is no reason the user guide needs to be buried so deeply. Why not put all the user guides in one place, easily accessible to anyone with a top-level log-in ID.