Volkswagen AG : Discouraging contact?

The German car manufacturer fails to transmit openness by burying the contact page on its corporate website.

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The feature

During our recent review of the Volkswagen group site for the Index of Online Excellence, we could not find links to a contact page in any of the conventional locations – headers, footers, primary or secondary navigation. The only link to a general contact page we could find was buried at the bottom of the media landing page.

The link is small, and in German on the English-language site (‘To Kontakt page’); it also requires a few clicks to reach. The Contact page itself is an e-mail form that appears to be outside of the site hierarchy.

The takeaway

It is not an auspicious time for Volkswagen to have one of the only corporate sites in our Index without clear paths for getting in touch with general queries. The company, under fire for the emissions scandal, may not want to be bombarded by comments from angry diesel owners. Maybe the thinking is that Volkswagen AG is a corporate site and not customer-facing, but we know from our research that customers will find their way there.

One of the public aims of Volkswagen AG, following the scandal, is to convey transparency. Burying the general contact page and relegating it to an email form, does the opposite.
First published 18 January, 2017
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