Why Do Companies Think We’re Stupid?

I never trust letters that begin with “Dear Valued Customer.” This e-mail I just received from Charter Communications is no exception to the rule.

Charter announced last week that it will file for bankruptcy protection. But rather addressing the issue directly with customers, the company sent out this chest-thumping note to trumpet how it is stronger than ever.

The cryptic rhetoric—“No matter what you may have heard”—only makes things worse. (Especially for all those thousands of customers who have probably heard nothing at all.)

Dear Valued Cable Services and Internet Provider: Just come right out and tell me that you’re filing for bankruptcy, why you’re doing so, and what your plan is moving forward. Candor, not bluster, is the way to win customer trust and support in these difficult times.