Email is a low-cost and effective way for keeping in touch with customers. But what can you do if you make a mistake with your email marketing? Let me tell you a story:
Last week I ordered a new laptop from a well-known online retailer. Within an hour I had received an email telling me that my order would be with me the next day.
By 4pm on my delivery day, my laptop hadn’t arrived, the tracking code I was given didn’t work and it took a phone call establish one simple mistake: their email system was playing up and I shouldn’t have received the message confirming my delivery. The company was indeed aware of the error, but they had failed to take steps to inform me that they had made a mistake.
As it was, this particular story has a happy ending: The laptop arrived first thing the next day, and no harm was done. But the simple truth is, I was more upset that I hadn’t been kept in the loop then that the mistake had been made in the first place.
So what’s the moral of the story?
Customers can forgive you your mistakes as long as they are kept informed.
People are prepared to accept that mistakes will happen: technology glitches, programming trouble or just human error. But only if they know what’s going on. If your email system is faulty or a mistake has happened let your customers know as soon as possible.
The best thing to do is email them immediately apologising for the inconvenience – depending on the scale and severity of the problem you may want to give a goodwill gesture such as a money off voucher.
If the problems prevent you from sending out email broadcasts then use other commincations channels at your disposal. Post on your blog, put a message on your website, send out messages via social media and use recorded messages on your phones.
This level of outreach will not be essential for every email marketing mistake, so it is important to consider how much it will inconvenience your customers and how much damage will be done by ignoring the problem.
Customers are sensitive, their feelings are easily hurt and the difference between a loyal customer for life and a lost opportunity might simply be an email saying “sorry”.