Answer Your Customers’ Questions
Recently I had a problem with Delta. Delta treats me pretty well, in part because of my extensive travel to our clients, but this day had me annoyed. It was a small thing that turned into a bigger thing. I had an outbound flight in the morning, and a return leg in the evening. Even though I had received an e-mail indicating that I could check in for my return flight, the system would not let me. I tried everything both online, and at the airport. Nothing worked. All I wanted was a boarding pass. So I decided to ask Delta’s customer service on Twitter. This is a recap of their responses to my questions about why I couldn’t check in (read it from the bottom up).
I would have been fine with an answer that says “our system isn’t capable of processing the return leg until the first leg is complete. It shouldn’t be that way, and we understand it’s a flaw. We will eventually fix this, but given that it is a rare occurrence, it is a lower priority than our other projects right now.”
OK, maybe not so many words, but you get the point. Would have this answer made me happy? Certainly not. But it also wouldn’t have pissed me off. Nor would it have left me in the dark.
The point is this: keep your customers informed. Answer their question, even if they won’t like the answer.
Lack of transparency translates into lack of trust. Lack of communication leads to people making up their own stories. Lack of feedback leads to a lack of adjustment. Trust your customers enough to give them answers they might not like. Then, of course, work to improve the conditions so you can change the answer as well.