Announcing Change without Inducing Panic

Your product will change.

You’re going to have to communicate those changes to your customers.

How you do this can make the difference between “a few angry Tweets” and “death threats from your community”

That last point may bear repeating — 9 times out of 10, it’s not what you changed that makes customers angry. It’s how you communicated it.

You need to communicate these 5 things within 10 seconds / 1 screen of text:

  • When the change is coming
  • How this affects you (or “This does not affect you unless X”)
  • What action you need to take (or “You do not need to do anything”)
  • Why this decision was made (can be high-level/’spun’)
  • You can complain here

Use bullet points or bold to facilitate scanning. Resist the temptation to hide information. If you’re taking something away, say so. If you’re changing rules or charging, say so.

Here’s an example:

On Friday, February 10, WidgetCo will be switching to all-digital widget delivery.

What will change: Widgets will now only be delivered digitally, not by postal mail.

What you need to do:

  • If you are currently subscribed to the Digital-Only plan, this change will have no effect on you.
  • If you are currently subscribed to the Combination plan, you will receive your February widget shipment via postal mail. Your February shipment was already charged. Your credit card will not be charged again and you will not receive any additional widgets until you confirm that you wish to switch to digital delivery. (You can confirm that here: [URL])
  • If you are not sure which plan you are on, you can check by clicking this link: [URL]

Why we’re making the switch: Due to rising costs of postal delivery, WidgetCo is no longer able to provide the level of service that our customers demand without dramatically raising prices. In a survey of our customers, we discovered that our digital-delivery customers reported higher satisfaction rates — so we are confident that this move is the right one, that will help us to better serve our customers.

If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear your feedback: [EMAIL ADDRESS]

What You’ll Get

Fewer customer support tickets. People will still complain — there’s no avoiding that — but you’ll find the tenor of the complaints is much easier to deal with.