Spring a surprise or forewarn?
Having lived through the socialist (termed, mixed economy in India) era, I am used to lousy government services that have gotten better over the years but remain woefully inadequate. But what I can't come to terms still, is the surprise they continue to spring on hapless citizenry.
Take Load shedding (to tide over power shortages) for example. I am used to it. But what irks me is the irregular pattern they take. The day before, the state electricity board decided the load shedding's between 7 and 8 in the morning. Today it was 8 and 9. Tomorrow? Who knows? Its a surprise!
Invariably this surprise element throws life out of gear. You really don't know when to put the water heater on, so you have warm water to bathe with. When do you think I should do the ironing? Its always a guessing game.
Consumers love surprises. Only when they are pleasant ones. When the airline upgrades my seat without a warning, it puts a smile on my face. But when surprises get nasty, I ain't pleased. I'd rather be forewarned. It helps lessen displeasure. If I know when load shedding's going to be, I can rearrange my life to tide over those periods of power-outs. If the service personnel knows my repair's going to cost me a certain sum, its better he tells me in advance, rather than me finding it when I am delivered the repaired piece.
If surprises would bring on a grimace, prepare the consumer in advance. It lessens displeasure. If surprises can evoke smiles, spring it on consumers. The resultant radiant glow is worth keeping the surprise a secret.