When I experienced a technical problem and sent an email message to the online support address, I received an immediate automated acknowledgement giving me a ticket number and advising me that I'd be contacted within 48 hours with a response to my problem.
I appreciated receiving this acknowledgement because it reassured me that my query had been received. But 48 hours later, nothing. And 72 hours later, nothing. And . . . you guessed it. It's been two years now, and still nothing. My problem seems to have fallen into the Black Hole.
This experience is hardly unique. Many people I've talked with have told me about problems they've had that fell into the Black Hole. When I ask what they mean, they tell me about submitting queries and then never hearing back. No response, no follow-up, no explanation, no clue as to the status of the situation - or even when they'll be advised of the status.
What a clogged, congested place the Black Hole must be. Who knows, maybe after a hundred thousand years or so, it will eject its contents and customers will finally get the responses they've been waiting for. But most customers aren't that patient.
Are You a Contributor to the Black Hole?
If so, please be aware that failure to get a response makes customers grumble, grouse and give your department or company a bad name.
For some customers, not being notified of the status of the problem is even more aggravating than not having a resolution to it. Not knowing, and not knowing when they'll know, makes customers angry. And that anger is exacerbated when they've been advised that they will hear back within 48 hours.
I Don't Know When I'll Stop Not Knowing
True, sometimes things take longer than promised. Sometimes you just don't know how long it will take to fix a problem. And no one likes to contact a customer and say, "I don't know and I don't know when I will know." But most customers would rather know that than nothing at all.
Savvy service professionals don't let their customers feel ignored or forgotten, and that's true whether or not they know when a solution will be forthcoming. They regularly make updates available to customers, even if those updates consist of stating that there's been no change since the last update.
If customer satisfaction is important to you, make it a practice of asking yourself, Who has submitted a problem and wants to know what's happening? Who is expecting a follow-up call or awaiting an email update? Then contact those people. Don't contribute to the Black Hole. It's crowded enough there without your help.