Don’t you just hate airport and railway station departure boards. All they tell you are the bare facts. It’s great when the right hand column says “On Time”, but on those, all to frequent, occasions when they say something else, frustration sets in very quickly.
In reality most of us don’t care or even get inconvenienced when a train or plane is 5 minutes late, what upsets us is the lack of information. People like certainty and assurance. Without it we become unsettled and insecure.
When the board changes from “5 minutes late” to “10 minutes late”., or worse still to simply “Delayed”, we start to ask ourselves internal questions, “How late is it going to be?”, “Will it be cancelled?”, “Why is it late?”. Of course we cannot know the answers to these questions, so our frustration deepens.
I had this exact experience last week when travelling to London. I eventually boarded the train 20 minutes late. Once on board I discovered that the reason for the delay was that a woman had gone into labour on the train just before it arrived in Glasgow.
How much better would I have felt if someone had used the station public address system to let me know that the miracle of birth was taking place on board the incoming train and that as soon as it was safe to do so the mother and baby would be transferred to an ambulance and normal service would be resumed.
It wouldn’t give me any certainty about the actual time of the train’s departure, but it would touch an emotion and give me certainty that there was a good reason for the delay.
Do you use facts or stories when talking to your clients? Of course you should give clients facts about prices, time scales, product specifications, etc. It is more important to connect on a subconscious, emotional level. Do this with short stories about how your products or services have helped others in the past and how they felt about it.
Remember Facts Tell, Stories Sell