Silence doesn’t serve you

09/05/2014

It rarely pays to be silent when someone is looking to hear from you.

I’ve learned this the hard way in my customer-facing role supporting a widely-used software product. It’s challenging when you’re inundated with emails “just checking in” and asking for updates, but the price of an extended silence can be devastating.

And this is not just about money, it’s also about reputation and keeping your promises.

I’ve seen my name dragged through the mud in forum posts and email threads where customers were simply looking to hear that I was working on their issue. I’ve been accused of fraud, being a thief, and all manner of foolishness—even on projects that ended with glowing reviews and feedback.

I’ve even had customers badmouth me publicly without knowing that I was aware of their post(s), still engaging with me as I tried to solve their problem. Awful.

But how can I blame someone else for their actions (unreasonable as they may be) when the bottom line is that keeping my promises and delivering enthusiastic excellence makes a world of difference?