Monday, August 10, 2015

Cardinal Sins of Communication

Recently, I used the website of an upcoming bus service provider in Europe to book tickets. There were a couple of payment options. The option I chose did not work when I tried. 
I raised the issue with the organization through an email. As I was in a hurry, I also tweeted to the handle and posted a message on the Facebook page. 
I got an immediate response from the Twitter handle that the particular payment option was available. After a bit of painful search on the website, I found the option in a microsite. I booked the tickets immediately. However, I did not get any confirmation and tickets were not delivered. 
The next day I received a response for the mail that I had sent. The contact centre reported that there were some technical issues with the particular payment option and that I should not use that option. It took some effort before I could get the refund. 
In the process, I made some notes, which in my opinion are relevant to any organization. Here are some cardinal sins that one must not commit while communicating. 
  1. Don't commit to anything on the website if it is not deliverable, even temporarily.The organization could have removed the payment option until such a time that they sort out the issue. At least communicate it actively on the site through a banner or a pop-up that the service was down temporarily. 
  2. Different channels, one message: In the experience that I narrated, the email contact centre had the correct response but was slow, Twitter response did not but was quick to respond, and Facebook response was non-committal. Remember this is all from the same organization! The consumer facing channels should have the same responses and not be working in silos.  
  3. Standard turnaround time: While on Twitter, most organizations respond with lightning speed. On the other hand, email responses are not so. While each channel is different, is it impossible to have similar turnaround times? 
If you were responsible for managing the communication channels in your organization what would be your priorities?
What sins would you like to avoid? 

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