Telling customers what you don’t know


I recently heard about a new wireless data service and decided to check out their website. Not surprisingly, the site was filled with great info on how fast it will be, which devices it will work with, and so on. But one piece of data was absent: when and where you’ll be able to get the service. As far as I coud tell, the only thing you could do was sign up for their newsletter, and hope the next issue includes the info you’re looking for.

By trying to dance around the details that aren’t yet available, the site makes it really hard to get the most basic information about product availability and pricing. I understand that some sites want you to contact them or fill out a form to get this data, or maybe they just don’t have the info to provide yet. Fine. But the right approach is to be open about it and give people a way to stay informed. In other words, don’t make customers hunt for something that just isn’t there.

For my wireless service example, they could say: “Our service will be available in April 2008 in cities like New York and Atlanta. Pricing hasn’t been finalized yet. Enter your email address or subscribe to our blog and we’ll keep you posted on pricing and availability across the country.” Sure, there’s still not much info there, but at least your customers know where you stand.