My van was recently at the repair shop for four weeks. I had access to another vehicle, so I was not dependent on the van and let the repair shop know. However, there was no communication from the repair shop during these four weeks. Because the shop was only a four-minute drive away, I would drive by once a week to see if my van was still there. Had the repair shop kept me posted about progress, I would not have needed to take the drives.
When a customer’s problem takes time to resolve, it is always helpful to let the customer know what is going on, for a few reasons.
1. Most customers do not want to be perceived as an irritant. When status updates are not provided to the customer, the customer must initiate communication. When the service provider initiates communication with status updates, the customer will never feel like an irritant.
2. Status updates on resolution show the service provider is paying attention to the customer’s problem, and this in turn helps the customer relax. (Lawyers could do better in this.) A relaxed customer is more likely to be a happier customer — and a return customer.
3. The service provider gains more control over time management, because it takes less time to initiate and provide status updates than to deal with upset customers in person or on the phone.
4. A customer is more likely to have a higher regard for a service provider — even if it is having problems making the fix — with status reports. Communication to the customer is a bigger deal than most providers realize and can have huge benefits in word of mouth referrals.