It may seem obvious, but the amount of companies that don’t sufficiently communicate with there customers is both shocking and the cause of most business problems. You may not be communicating good news, your message may not seem that interesting, but finding a level of communication the customer is happy with and finds informative but that they don’t find overly encroaching is often the difference between customer loyalty and customers switching to your competitors.
Consider the situation; you’ve promised your customer to deliver a product to a certain deadline, but can no longer make that deadline. The obvious next point of action is to communicate with the customer through whichever medium you usually would and inform them of the situation. They may be extremely disappointed, they may not use your services again and they may bad mouth your company. But not nearly to the extreme they will if you were to not inform them of the problem, and then leave it until the last minute with your fingers crossed that a miracle will happen. This will attain you a reputation as unreliable and dishonest and damage your brand equity far beyond what the initial mistake would have created.
This is the same whether you’re a large multi-national serving millions or a small enterprise serving a local market. Even if you own a restaurant and there’s been a mistake with an order, communicating with the customer and explaining there will be a delay will make them a lot less irate than just bringing the food out when it’s ready. Communication and honesty are what creates relationships, without them problems just build up and relationships are destroyed.