Yahoo! - still linking to irrelevant articles

Yahoo (@yahoomail) have brought back some of their e-mail services (Yahoo Mail status) ... but they still don’t get the importance of not linking to instructions which make a bad situation worse. Apple users, in particular, may find the help articles they link to less than helpful.
Yahoo has a whole batch of canned help articles that tell users how to fix their problems. A pity that they keep telling people to follow the advice when it makes a bad situation worse.

The problem with canned help articles is that they are a major temptation in a crisis. They look really useful and can help customers out without extra effort, but if they are not spot on for the customer the advice can end up costing more time and effort than they save and squander good will. Canned help is that it is rarely written for a crisis situation, advice written for the setup phase of an account is rarely well suited for dealing with a crisis as circumstance - new accounts don’t carry much risk of damaging existing contents, it is also very hard to distinguish appropriate and inappropriate advice in canned help when trying to deal with a crisis.

In Yahoo’s current crisis they keep referring users to articles that get them to change their settings ... in spite of the fact that the service isn’t actually working as a result it places the customer in limbo where the service is now broken not only at the provider but on their device.

If you are going to get customers to do things it should actually help, or be phrased in terms of:
  • if this then do this; or,
  • this may or may not be your problem
so that customer can weigh up their own risks in following the advice.

Communication in a crisis is a true test of a companies communication strategy, Yahoo!’s unfortunately still needs work.