As marketing and communications professionals, we often spend so much time thinking about what the big message is we are trying to communicate to our audience, we forget about the impact the tiniest interaction can have.
Living in South Australia during Summer, we are no strangers to power outages. When one inevitably hits, the logical first step (to me, at last) would be to visit the SA Power Networks website and check the status of the outage. This is what I saw:
Aside from the initial acknowledgement that they are aware of the problem, very little else is actually of any use. The status and estimated restoration time never changed from what is clearly an automated message and approximate restoration time that left you guessing if anyone was even really there. In other words, it was a signal that their time is more valuable than yours.
While SA Power Networks are undoubtedly one of the State’s largest and most important organisations with enough in their coffers to facilitate and communicate a rebrand from ETSA Utilities, they dropped the ball in this case. The failure to provide timely, helpful updates means that those affected are left not only to speculate, but unable to make any future plans.
This was an opportunity for them to create a connection with their customers. Providing regularly updated information that is both valuable and useful would help to build trust and faith in a brand that has historically been short on both.
In short: don’t underestimate even the smallest messages ability to communicate and reinforce your brand story. Keep it helpful, on-message and above all else, try to realistically address your customers questions at this point.