Around 18 months ago, a client’s community points system failed.
All members had their points reduced to zero.
The client spotted it at the weekend, filed a report to their vendor, and waited for a response.
On Monday, a member created an angry post asking why her points had been removed.
The client didn’t want to respond until they could explain what happened and when it would be fixed (against our advice).
By Tuesday, members were working themselves up into a fury. Why had the client removed their points without warning? Was this a cynical attempt to save money on promised reward schemes?
Many members had said they would no longer participate or help other members of the community. Accusations were flying without response.
The problem was eventually communicated and fixed, but the accusations had already done lasting damage. The community team were treated with a lot more hostility and a lot less trust going forward.
The lesson is pretty clear. Communicate what you know as early as possible. If our client had even said “hey, this is broken, we’re trying to get it fixed” the reception would have been a lot better.
When you leave a void to fill, members will (sadly) often fill it with the most negative, cynical, stories imaginable. So, don’t leave a void to fill.