Acknowledge when you’ve been rubbish

by gordon_mullan

OK, OK – I know.  You might be thinking I’m rather over-using these guys as an example, but I really do think they ‘get it’ far more than 99.999% of small businesses out there.  (And no, I don’t get anything for recommending them or talking about them).

So why another post about Clarity?  Well, despite their excellent site, they’ve been rather tardy in getting the stuff to me.  And, until just now, I’d had no explanation of why.  Not good (sorry John!)

But when I got the explanation, yet again, it manages to be personal and leaves me with a warm feeling.  Compensates me without being asked.  Manages to get in a plug for another site of theirs.

Hell, even their ’email disclaimer’ has personality!  Check this out:

“Hello Gordon,


Well, first, thanks for the comments left with the order.  As the scribe responsible for the pleasing pages, I am much increased by your words.


In an oddly self-fulfilling model, here is that personal connection to which you aluded!  🙂


But it’s not with mere pleasantries that I’m writing here.  Indeed, as my imaginary friend Gollum would say, it hurts us.  Hurts us it does, to write about this;


You’ll doubtless have noticed that you don’t yet have your ordered goodies in your hands.  Very poor show.  The order was delayed by a late arrival from the NTE5 manufacturers.  All very well, but we’re supposed to let you know if any kind of a hold-up becomes likely, and indeed usually do.  Not this time though I see, and you’ve been left squarely in the dark about where your stuff must have got to.  Very sorry!


I’ve just refunded the shipping charge to your card since we didn’t in fact, well, ship it.  Not in anything I’d call a decent time.


So, as a couple of us are in tidying up such loose ends this evening, you’ll get a “shipped” mail soon (or recently if Chris is faster than I am at

typing) when it’s completed, so it will physically leave here in tomorrow’s post.


Sorry again for the rubbish delay, and again thank you for your business – and comments! *pleased*




John Doyle

Director & Operations



Blatant plug for a web site from the Clarity stable (if you like that sort of thing):


And our very good coffee drinking neighbours;


Email Disclaimers are such an ugly, unread footnote, and all too often are bigger than the e-mail itself! So ours is appended at; This mail’s subject to all the disclaiming therein.”

Again, a question for you.  When you screw up, do you hold your hand up, admit you’ve been rubbish, and offer unasked for compensation? 

Or do you  offer a ‘boilerplate’ apology like “We’re sorry for the late shipment of your order, and will endeavour to get it to you as soon as we can.”?

Or do you just hope the customer doesn’t notice and try and fix it quietly? (I sincerely hope not!)

Like John admits, the original service could have been better but you can rest assured whenever anyone asks where I got my stuff from, although I might mention it was delayed, I’ll also mention the apology and compensation.

Genuine recognition of a problem when it occurs, taking responsibility, and offering meaningful compensation can turn a potentially negative experience into a happy customer.

Do you do the same?

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