Conflicting messages are not our way of thanking you-learning from apologizing

Last Wednesday, just before Thanksgiving, I took the time to give thanks to my Dimdim customers (Dimdim web conferencing, giving thanks to you.)  I left the office later in the day to enjoy the long weekend.

My walking buddyEverything was good and relaxing until Friday, early afternoon, when I got a call from the office.  I had just bundled up and was getting my dog ready to go for a walk around our block (about 4 miles.)  While in the process of setting up a new workflow to help test our outgoing emails, the wrong list of people was selected.  Luckily the team caught the problem and turned off the new workflow, but not until after 1,000+ people had been emailed (some receiving up to 25 emails in under 10 minutes.)  There were a few customers on Twitter expressing concern and a few emails received, but that was about it.  Once we had identified what went wrong, I put in a request for help in getting the full list of people and went back to my weekend. (which was otherwise good, by the way.)

Monday morning I had my list of affected customers.  Deciding what to do wasn’t difficult, it was clearly our mistake.  If I had suddenly received anywhere from 1 to 25 email messages in under 10 minutes, most unrelated to the product/trial I was in, I’d expect an apology.  So this is what I sent to all these customers:

Subject: Conflicting Dimdim messages are not our way of thanking you

Early in the day Friday (Nov 27), we were excited to be working on some improvements to our process, but unforunately we accidentally added you to a new program that wasn’t ready yet. I’m very sorry for the extra emails – it’s definitely not a good way for us to say thank you.

As soon as we realized what was happening, we stopped the new workflow so you should not be receiving any more incorrect emails. We’re changing how we manage workflow updates to make sure this never happens again.

Thank you!

Kevin Micalizzi, Community Manager
Dimdim Web Conferencing
twitter: @dimdim

I know sometimes it’s hard to swallow our pride, but the fact of the matter is that we’re human and mistakes happen.  When I scheduled the email to go out I started worrying a little about what type of response I’d get.  I’m still surprised at the responses I’ve received.

  • 3 people asked me to never email them again
  • 13 people sent me thank you messages

The thank you notes were such a wonderful reminder of how much people value an honest direct approach.  Here are some of the responses:

“How refreshing!  Admitting, apologizing and fixing an error. I appreciate this very much.” [Email]

“I was wondering about the massive number of emails. Thanks for the clarity.” [Email]

“Thanks for the clarification, I assumed I requested the wrong information.  I realized it did not affect my account and I simply deleted the duplicate messages – no worries at all.  These things happen and we move on.  Hope your Thanksgiving Holiday was enjoyable!” [Email]

“‘No worries man!  I love your site and I’ll provide any feedback or help you out in any way. ” [Email]

“Kevin – Thanks for your email.  I was thinking it was unusual to receive so many emails in such a short space of time.” [Email]

“Thank you so much for your message.  As a matter of fact, at first I was surprised by the messages, but it was pretty obvious there was a glitch somewhere.  It speaks very highly of the organization when you take the time to explain to the users what happened; it is not as common as it should be.  I just started testing DimDim, and if this is the support I can expect in the future, I’m sure I’ll be a very happy customer.  Thank you again and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to you.” [Email]

“Bravo ! Je viens de recevoir un courriel de DimDim qui s’excuse pour les nombreux courriels envoyés la semaine dernière. C’était une erreur” (Via Google Translate: “Bravo! I just received an email DimDim who apologizes for the many emails sent last week. It was a mistake”) [Twitter]

Next time you encounter a problem where an apology is needed, remember it’s not about you.  It’s about the customers who deserve your apology.



How refreshing!
Admitting, apologizing and fixing an error.
I appreciate this very much.
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