Here's a follow-up about how to apologize to customers. In one of my recent video blogs (vlogs) I talked about offering useful bonuses to your clients or customers and told the story of a recent Lands' End magazine bonus that involved a bare-breasted woman, not a great bonus for most women. You can get that backstory by watching my vlog here.
Sure enough, although I did not personally contact Lands' End or complain to them, I received an e-mail apology for the mis-sent GQ magazine, as I’m sure many thousands of other customers did. Kudos to Lands' End for stepping up to manage their marketing faux pas. You can read a copy of the entire email by clicking here. It's clear that their upper management knows the do's and don'ts of how to apologize to customers.
What I want to point out is the most important sentence in the page-long apology from Lands' End. Here it is: There are simply no excuses; this was a mistake. The e-mail went on to offer an explanation as to why the mistake happened, which could have slid into offering excuses. But to Lands' End credit, they kept it clean. They told why the mistake happened and then stated “we are extremely apologetic that you have received this particular magazine on our behalf.” Further along they stated “we are committed to resolving this unfortunate matter.”
Everyone makes mistakes. If you watched the 4 1/2 minute vlog you know this was a HUGE marketing mistake and a big public relations issue. But instead of trying to place the blame elsewhere (onto Conde Nast) the company took the blame straight up and informed its customers what it was doing to make things right.
My hat is off to Lands' End for getting out in front of their blunder. I’m betting I won’t receive any more magazines in my snail mail box with a bare breasted woman on the cover and an address label that clearly states “Lands's End Bonus!” To sum up, here’s what Lands' End did right after doing something stupidly wrong.
- A no excuses apology.
- A clear but quick explanation of why the mistake happened.
- A clear statement about what they were doing to correct the mistake.
- A signed e-mail from the President and CEO, not some VP in public relations.
Clients and customers will forgive you if:
- You have a strong know/like/trust factor with them.
- You apologize without offering any excuses.
- You assure your clients or customers what you are doing to make it right.
- You don’t try to shift the blame onto someone else.
In my opinion, Lands' End did a good job of cleaning up their mess. They apologize to customers upfront and simply. What do you think?