Driving through town the other day, I saw the following on the sign outside a church:
“If you have to have the last word, make it ‘sorry’.”
That simple word little five-letter word might seem overly humble at times and might even be hard to say when you’re feeling you’re right, but that same simple word packs a lot of punch. It smoothes over hard feelings, heals hurts and makes things okay again.
It’s a word you want to use with your spouse, your family, your boss…and even your email marketing customers. Because chances are you’ve made some mistakes in all those areas. After all, you’re human!
We won’t dish out marital advice here, or ways to navigate the interpersonal relationships of the workplace. But we can as an email marketing agency that has seen a lot of email in our 10 plus years advise you on one of the most important emails you might ever send during your career: the apology email.
Mistakes will happen. Apologies will have to be made. Be ready to eat crow and please people when you follow this four tips:
1) Be real. Send your apology email from a real person. Depending on the severity of the mistake, choose appropriately. A huge mistake warrants an apology from the tog dog. Someone lower down the totem pole could send the “I’m sorry” for a lesser error.
2) Make things right. Maybe you can’t sell that product for the super low price you accidentally offered. But can you offer a partial discount? Or some other special? Think of the husband that shows up with flowers as he makes up with his wife. What can you show up with?
3) Manage the other communication channels too. It could your email made the mistake, but the repercussions show up on your Facebook page or all over Twitter. Keep the lines of communication open every way you can. Respond to email replies to your apology, be an active participant in the social media dialog.
4) Do not blame. Just admit to the mistake regardless of how it happened or who—or what—messed up. Your customers don’t care how the mistake happened. They only care that you’re making things right.
We’d like to tell you the apology email could be avoided altogether, but all we can promise is you can minimize the chance of errors through email best practices. So be prepared for the inevitable mistake and the necessary “I’m sorry” to make things right again as fast as you can.