Fess up right away.
Make it clear you made a mistake.
Explain what happened.
That’s a clear recipe for success when it comes to an apology.
Recently, HBO Max posted on their help account and explained how an errant email went out that was meant as a test. They even said it was the intern. Now, followers have started posting their own internship snafus and the mistakes they’ve made as actual employees.
What’s interesting about this particular tweet is that it has all of the hallmarks of a true heartfelt apology. It pokes fun at their own process. They “own” it and make a joke about helping the intern cope through the stress.
The tweet doesn’t come across as anything but a genuine admission of guilt, even if the result is that 144,000 people have now liked it, there are 20,000 retweets, and around 6,000 people have commented. Good marketing, anyone?
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Here it is:
One of my favorite comments is from the guy who worked at Wayfair who also did something on a test server. He even posted a recreation of the nightmarish scenario.
In some cases, social media users can be incredibly ruthless, but for some reason, there was a rallying cry for this intern. It’s probably because we’ve all been there before. The message was likely set up on a test server using a template of some kind.
The crazy thing about this now viral email is that I searched my own inbox and found the message. Of course, there are a few other ways to do this.
Many large companies ignore things like this and hope they go away. Sometimes, they do go away. I didn’t find the email until I did a search in my own Gmail inbox.
I like how Wendy’s tends to constantly poke fun at others and their own products at times. If they do something dumb on Twitter, it will probably lead to some brilliant marketing opportunities.
With email, one thing I’ve seen that works quite well when you send a message to a large group of people with a typo or an error is to do a second email a few days later. (This only works if the group you are sending registered to receive your messages and you are not spamming them.) You can apologize for the error and then remind people about what you meant to say. It can be pure gold in marketing terms.
Another tactic is to blame someone. HBO Max noted it was the intern but the joke about coping through it made it seem like they weren’t going to get upset or fire anyone. The worst case scenario, though, is when the reply-all messages start.
HBO Max took to Twitter, the place where any retweets, likes or comments just make us all think about HBO more. Smart move on that one.