A client recently called me in a panic. The company often personalizes its e-mails, but this time the send button got pushed too fast. Instead of the recipients’ first names being nicely displayed, the e-mail showed “[FIRST_NAME].” This company prides itself on its e-mail program and customer relationships, and felt this would tarnish its image. That client decided to immediately send a second e-mail with an apology, which went out about three hours after the error occurred.
In a similar vein, I received an e-mail last week from JetBlue. I know that’s not a cataloger, but I thought I’d share its mistake because this easily could happen to you. The e-mail was positioned to inactive fliers, and the salutation and first sentence read: “Dear Mr. Soandso, We haven’t seen you in a year and the truth is, we miss you!” As a JetBlue frequent flier who’s taken more than one flight in the past year, I was concerned and actually logged into the site to check my profile and account name. (And I kid you not: It did say “Dear Mr. Soandso”!)
Seventy-eight minutes after the initial e-mail, I received an e-mail with the subject line, “Our apologies …” It went on to note that the company had made an error in mailing some of its valued customers due to a technical issue with the database. It asked me to accept an apology for the error and any offense it may have caused.
Let’s face it, we all make mistakes. Sometimes, such errors as a small typo in an e-mail seem large and glaring. But sometimes blunders are big, such as a miscommunication of a promotion or technical problems on your site.
Knowing when to apply damage control vs. simply letting sleeping dogs lie can be a challenge. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you have minor errors in an e-mail such as typos, incorrect formatting or line breaks, move on. But if this happens more often than you’d like, put a new proofing process in place; an extra pair of eyes always helps.