I all-too-frequently hear: “we don’t need to tell people about these changes to the product, let’s just launch them.”

No. Stop.

screamPeople fear change. It’s just part of human nature.

There’s a common misconception, especially amongst creators, that if you are (or think you are) making something better then of course people will gladly accept your changes.

This is wrong.

I used Facebook early in it’s existence, when it was only available to college students. When I first started using it, it was just profile pages. You went to someone’s page to see what they were posting (I think there might have even been a version before that where you didn’t post anything). It was simple and we all liked it, even though it sounds weird and archaic today.

Then Facebook launched the news feed. Yes, the same (though much simpler) news feed that you see when you log into Facebook today. That crucial, engaging, fascinating, primary function of Facebook. So we must have rejoiced when they first launched it, right?

original facebook newsfeed

Nope. People freaked out. They rebelled. They said it was the worst thing Facebook had ever done. An invasion of privacy. The death blow for Facebook.

Of course, 99% of those people kept using Facebook and now love the news feed. They’d probably react with the same anger and fear if the news feed disappeared tomorrow.

Even if you’re launching an improvement, you need to communicate with your customers. They fear your change. And they especially fear change they don’t understand. You can’t make them like your changes, but you can calm many of them by explaining why you did it. With explanation, suddenly a change seems more like an intentional, well-meaning action…rather than a malicious, chaotic disruption.

Nobody is going to get mad at you if you communicate changes. They might be mad about the changes but nobody will ever say “STOP TELLING US WHY YOU ARE DOING THINGS!”

The good news? You tell people how you’ve (hopefully) acted on their feedback and strived to improve your product and you’ll probably get some serious points from people. It’s marketing via product. And it’s honesty at it’s best.