Yahoo - your faults page is not a place for propaganda

Dear @yahoomail and @marissamayer status pages are not a place for congratulations on solving a problem when at least some customers are having continuing problems. Spinning your releases on your faults pages to sound positive when there are problems is unlikely to help the bad press and will generate a lot of I am not working me-too messages.
Message control and spin seem to be the name of the game in corporate communications (I suspect that this is even more common in companies with their eyes fixed on the management equivalent of the rear-view mirror - share price). Let us take apart the problems of spinning the fault message:
  • You are telling the customer you have fixed every one else’s problems - some customers might suspect you just don’t care about them, great marketing message
  • Playing down the fault - Customers talk, more so now with Twiter, Facebook and news aggregators, now you are trying to hide your sins and the news sharks will circle
  • Lack of information or vague information - Your relatively loyal customers who are just trying to get things working so they can enjoy your service are now being directed to do things which may not help, they may not stay loyal for long
It is another day of problems for me Yahoo - my resolved Apple Desktop IMAP mail issue yesterday it is again an issue today (it didn’t stay fixed) and neither of my iOS devices are working - having now installed your mail app (my least preferred solution as it is not integrated with the existing mail system with push e-mail which is the primary reason I chose your service many years ago) - I no longer have faith that that will continue to work.

This is an object lesson in how not to communicate during a crisis - it isn’t too late to improve on it by more open relevant communications. To date your customers have experienced:
  • Late acknowledgement of the fault
  • inaccurate assessment of the fault and its impact
  • Down playing of the issue
  • Claims of resolution when the problem is not
  • Over stating the recovery / restoration of service
  • Very limited and imprecise communication
  • Linking to inappropriate and unhelpful instructions
This is a liturgy of communications failures and have turned an unfortunate event into something far worse. It is not too late to try and get some better information into the hands of customers, but don’t leave it any longer distrust builds fast and is hard to wash away. Spinning on your faults page doesn’t help your image and at during a crisis substance counts far more than style anyway.