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Handling your screw-ups

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I got this email a few hours ago:


~Edited out some identifying details~~


Several hours ago we sent out our weekly newsletter where we featured some free ~~~~ for all of you to download. The files were designed by ~~~~~ and the link provided to us by him two days ago stated that the ~~~~~ were available on his site for free.


After sending the newsletter however, we received several complaints regarding the files which were actually being sold and not distributed freely. So what happened? The designer changed the terms and now only offers the files in exchange for payment via the ~~~~~~ website.


I spent several hours discussing this issue with him via email and trying to convince him to bring the files back as promised, but there was no change in his decision. Whether the designer is being sincere with us about this or taking advantage of being featured in our newsletter to drive more sales is for you to decide.


Even though this wasn't within our direct control, I'd like to personally extend my sincerest apologies to all of you for this unfortunate incident.


Thank you for your ongoing support.


Last week, a site I'm on messed up and had to revert back to a backup from a full day before, which meant a lot of our content was last. They sent out emails, apologizing profusely, and then private messages to anyone who was talking about it, apologizing even more because they felt so bad.


So what do -you- do when you mess up big time? Is apologizing enough? Do you offer discounts or bonus points in your cash system on a forum, for example, to "make it up"? Do you ignore it and hope nobody notices or complains?

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If it is something that the user will notice it's pretty important not to do the "ignore it and hope they don't complain" method. When you disappoint your readers you not only lose out on their current interaction... but they will be less likely to take action in the future (such as sharing your links or helping your material go viral). If they don't think they can trust you to keep your word... well, why pass along your material?


After a long career in "real life" sales, marketing and customer service I think that you can never go wrong by being more apologetic and more helpful in fixing problems/offering restitution of some sort than your customers expect. It turns a potential negative into a big, big positive.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'd offer something as an apology in a small case (one of the guys on my forum got this when I deleted one of his posts accidentally, since he's on Postloop so that means a financial loss).


If it were a big issue, like deleting half the posts or something, I'd just apologise and move on. The simple fact that so many people were affected would make it very difficult to compensate them all. In the situation you posted, Jessi, I'd have done what they did: explained what happened and leave people to add the person to their list of opportunist scumbags. :D

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