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Written by The Mezzanine Group
on August 24, 2008

Business gurus love to espouse there's no such thing as over communicating with your customers. I know lots of companies really fail the 'communications' test, but I disagree that you can't overcommunicate. And I just experienced it the hard way.

I was on a 6am flight from Calgary to Toronto. With the one hour pre-departure check-in requirement and the 30-minute drive to the airport, that meant a 4am wake-up call for me and most of the other passengers.

By the time we were all joyfully boarded onto the aluminum tube at 0545, all that anyone wanted to do was to try and get back to sleep. You could see it on people's faces - please, please, just let me get some more sleep. So when the pilot and the in-flight director made something like 6 public announcements about the wonderful crew we had on board, our planned cruising altidude, the weather in Toronto, the safety features of the aircraft, and on and on, in both English and French, it was too much.

The airlines can take a page from their marketing teams and communicate with passengers in a way that is effective for them, when it's effective for them. Can't they use those cool new in-chair TV sceens to communicate the details to us - in silence - before take-off, especially if it happens to be before a civil hour, say 8am? And can't all the details about the flight, like the weather at our destination, be left for later in the flight when we'll be cogent enough to care?

Communicating with customers is vital. But let's start with an understanding of what customers want to know, what they need to know, and - critically - when. If it's extraneous information and it's 6am, skip it.

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