Imagine this scenario:
I am your customer.
I know, like, and trust you. You know this because I buy stuff from you on a regular basis, and we've exchanged an email or two.
Then something goes wrong; something you couldn't have predicted.
Maybe I got charged the wrong price when I purchased that last download. Or the shipping got messed up, and I didn't receive your product until well after my child's birthday (it was a gift after all). Or I tried to reach you with an issue, and my email got lost in cyberspace, and you just found out that I'm very angry with you- and have been- for quite awhile.
Mistakes happen. Technology works great- until it doesn't. As your customer, the last thing I want to hear is every nuance of why it happened, because the why isn't really that important to me. I want to know that I'm being taken care of.
So the way to make me feel better is to tell me 3 simple things:
- What happened (the short answer): Your email servers went down. You had to switch shipping vendors. A number was miskeyed. I'm human. I make mistakes and I know you do too. A few sentences that explain what happened is plenty of detail for me.
- The resolution: Maybe you're refunding my shipping fee. Or giving me a discount on my next purchase. Just let me know that the problem is fixed, and our next step.
- How you're guaranteeing it'll never happen again: This one is tricky, because again, mistakes happen. This one is really just for you to recognize that what happened to me wasn't a good thing, and you'll make every effort to ensure it doesn't happen again. That's all I can ask for.
It seems to be an inevitable law of nature that if something can go wrong, it will. We can do our best to plan for every worst case scenario, but it isn't reasonable to think we can predict everything that might go wrong.
Customers understand that. They won't leave you over a bump in the road if you are proactive and resolve their issue quickly. But don't get stuck in the details. Stick to the facts, keep it high-level, and focus on them.
That's what they'll remember. That's why they'll buy from you again.
(photo credit Nesster)
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