So you made a blunder? Don’t fret!

We are all familiar with that sinking feeling when we’ve made a mistake in an email. If you’re a business, this feeling can be even worse as you start panicking about the damage to your brand reputation. So now you need to do some damage control. At Parachute Digital, we strongly value the customer and whenever we consult with organisations on email marketing best practice, we encourage them to put the user’s experience first. If people have a bad experience with your brand, and you don’t fix it, chances are they will switch to a competitor. Be honest, be transparent, be humble and admit when you make a mistake and atone for it. Ok, so let’s say you’ve made a bit of a blunder and the email has already been sent out. Here are some tips on how you can rectify the situation.

First, take a deep break and assess the damage that has been done. If it was a simple mistake like a minor spelling error, you will be better off not sending an apology letter as this could draw extra attention to the mistake. Not only that, but they don’t want their inbox being bombarded with your emails over something trivial. However, if the mistake was a more significant, for example, you provided an incorrect price for a product or fundraising appeal, sent a broken link, or had incorrect information about an event, you should send out a correction email. It’s up to you to make a decision on whether the mistake in the email will be detrimental to your brand image and whether it greatly affects the recipient’s brand experience.

When you decide to send out the correction email think of it like a relationship, you need to get the language right to limit your customer’s dissatisfaction.

Tips For Sending Correction Emails

1) Before sending the update, be sure you know which list received the initial blunder email. If it was only sent to a specific segment of your database, then make sure the apology email goes only to that specific list.

2) Make sure the correction email is sent very quickly so that readers will connect the two and the effects of the misinformation are minimised.

3)  Write a clear email subject line that indicates that it this email is a correction. For example, include the words “Update” or “Oops” in the subject line. How cavalier your language can be will depend on your brand. This probably isn’t the time to think of creative and vague subject lines, because your aim is to correct the mistake and be sincere.

4)  Say sorry at the start of the email. It’s important that your message is clear in the first 2 lines. You want to take ownership of the mistake rather than making excuses.

5) If the mistake was in relation to an offer that you cannot give them, re-confirm the original offer in clear terms.

6) Get three different people to proofread your correction email. There’s nothing worse than an apology email with another mistake in it!

7) Fixing broken links If the error in your email was a broken or misspelt URL link, you can put a quick fix in place by redirecting the bad link to the correct landing page. It will fix the problem for the people who haven’t opened the email yet. You will still need to send a correction email to all people who have opened and clicked on the blunder email, but this will minimise the number of people affected and decrease your risk.

Quality Control Future Emails

The best thing to do to future proof your organisation’s emails against mistakes is to put quality control processes in place. Create a culture where your staff each have a colleague to proofread their emails. Sometimes, we just can’t see our own mistakes. You should also conduct regular reporting of email subscription/unsubscribe rates, open rates and click through rates so that when an error is made you can track how it affects your organisation.

We are all human and mistakes happen. But how your organisation deals with those mistakes can be the difference between retaining a customer and losing them. So let’s learn from our mistakes and do a better job next time.