The real cost of outdated websites

Whilst I was in Bangalore I was looking for a HSBC ATM to withdraw some cash from, so I hopped onto the HSBC website (below), used the ATM finder and drove to the nearest ATM location. Here ends the good news. I spent 30 minutes and a little too much frustration looking for the ATM before I finally called the HSBC call center, who (after a few minutes of hold music) informed me that there were no ATMs in ITPL – and that the website was wrong!

Snapshot of HSBC India Online Branch Locator

I’m not entirely sure whats worse. The fact that I wasted so much time driving around and looking for the ATM (which didn’t exist), or the fact that I don’t trust the branch/atm finder service.

Rather than helping, having an outdated website causes customer frustration, and creates the wrong impression of your brand. If you can’t provide up-to-date or correct information, You’re probably better off not providing the information at all. If you’re compelled to put something online, at the very least specify the date the information was published/last-updated, so your readers have some idea as to how current & reliable it is.

If you’re building a website, keep in mind your ability to maintain it with fresh, or at least current & relevant information. If you have to maintain an existing website, and don’t have enough internal resource – or can’t get support from other departments, consider cutting back on the size of your website. It’s better to direct your customers to a fresh, well maintained, relevant but small website – than a big site, with minimal or outdated information.