So the other day I was on Verizon‘s site to renew my ringback tones. If you are not familiar with these, instead of the usual ring tone when waiting for a person to answer their phone, you hear a snippet of a song, or a recording from a specific artist or movie. I love these, and I always get compliments when someone calls and hears Monty Python’s “Knights who no longer say Ni” skit before I pick up.

The Problem

Unfortunately, one of them is no longer available:

Verizon error closeup

Verizon, you really missed the boat on this one. Simple error messages do not help anyone. Yes, I now know what to do to fix it, but nothing has been done for me, and that message can be so much more.

The Solution

First off, let’s not send the user through another hoop by making them delete the song from their cart.
Do it for them!

Second, link them to other tones they may like. Something like this:

Verizon error fixed

Now you have a call to action to generate interest and conversion.

Third, what the fuck is {Item Name} Code: 247? It reminds me of those esoteric Mac OS error codes. It might be helpful for your database guys, but in this case, the user does not need to know an error code.


Do as many things for your users you can. Try to avoid sending them through unnecessary hoops and give them a call to action when something goes awry. You may just increase conversion.