It happened again.
I got a notice from my university saying that there was a problem with some of the university-wide software that was resulting in some services responding very slowly or not at all, and that they were working on it and apologizing for any problems that this may be causing users. So far, so good. But then they went and added “Thank you for your patience”, something that I see frequently and also hear on recordings when you call a business and there is some waiting involved to speak to a human being.
This is unnecessary and, in my view, undesirable. The writer does not know if the reader is patient. For all they know, the reader may be ranting and raving about the inconvenience. The reader may have no option but to accept the situation since there is nothing they can do about it but that is different from being patient. Thanking them in advance for an attitude that they may or may not have seems to me to be presumptuous, as if they have only one option, and can have the paradoxical effect of increasing user annoyance..
Telling people that you are aware of a problem, are working to address it, and apologizing for the inconvenience, are always good things and, to my mind, quite sufficient and the most you can and should do to mollify people. Thanking them in advance for being patient is one step too far.
This is different from ending a message with a simple ‘thank you’, because then you are thanking them for simply reading your message through to the end.