With automation comes risk. In the course of drafting, testing, and deploying automated programs, many of us have suffered through the terrible realization our automation didn’t work exactly as expected.
After auto-sending many emails to clients in the span of a few hours, we find ourselves faced with a dilemma. Do we send yet another email and risk alienating our clients further? Do we stop all communication until the recipients have been given enough time to forget we spammed their inbox? Do we remove them all from our list entirely? Do we respond to the dozens or hundreds of hate emails? Lastly, what do we do to salvage unsubscribes?
Many of my peers believe you should always apologize when you make a mistake in your automated program — be that a simple typo, an unfortunate parallel (when your marketing message inadvertently aligns with an unfavorable situation [e.g. Retailer Apologizes For ‘Unfortunate Timing’ Of Isis Lingerie Line]), or as in this instance: when your automated program goes haywire and sends your subscribers 37 emails in the span of 14.6 minutes (or something like that).
If this happens to you, remember to keep the gravity of the error in perspective. Panicking will not help you, but this checklist may.
You are not alone. Even software/hardware giant HP apparently experienced issues with its automated program and sent a few too many emails to subscribers. HP sent an email apology with oops in the subject line and title. As a side note, this is the subject line I receive most often and for me it’s effective. Short and sweet, and though I don’t have statistics to support this, my guess is it elicits good open rates — even when tempered by the influence of the multiple emails preceding it.
If you choose to promote your oops in social media, know that some people who did not receive the multiple emails will also use the discount code, but that’s probably a good way to turn a bad situation into a redeemable fiasco. That’s not such an awful thing — is it?