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Turn your screw-ups into an opportunity

I pre-ordered a book from Despair Inc. and they ran into a production delay. Here’s how they responded:

As an apology, we’ve decided to include an extra copy of the book for every copy you pre-ordered. We’re very sorry about the inconvenience- but hope that freebie books is considered an adequate compensation for the hassle.

It’s more than just a nice apology — it’s smart.

Everyone who pre-ordered is probably a fan. Who will be getting a spare copy of the book. Which they’ll give to a friend.

Despair turned an error (which customers probably wouldn’t have noticed) into a a fantastic word of mouth opportunity.

Email to a friend:

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  1. Cam Vacek November 17, 2010 at 10:24 am #

    Do you think they did that on purpose? Any chance they raised the price of each book to knowingly compensate for the the extra “free” one? Even if they intentionally did this as a guerilla tactic, it’s genius!

  2. Kirsten (Results Not Typical Girl) November 17, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    I totally think that small mistakes have often made experiences more memorable than if everything had gone as planned from the get-go. I’m much more likely to go back to a restaurant where my order got bit by the drama-llama and they did something to make me feel all warm and fuzzy than if nothing out of the ordinary had happened at all. Great point! Great post. Thanks! – Kirsten

  3. Elizabeth November 17, 2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Great idea. Had two issues recently. One, company offered special sale than wasn’t prepared for volume of traffic and server kept crashing. Many who wanted to make the sale couldn’t even after a 24 hr extension of sale. How should they have handled that…their response was a lame thanks to you who could order and sorry for those who couldn’t. I thought that was horrible. Two, got an email from a company who had their customers credit info hacked. All they said was sorry you should close your credit card account and use paypal next time. I’m like what the? Horrible responses from two companies. What they have done better in your opinion? I posted several Facebook comments about the bad service but no response.

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