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MailChimp, my mail supplier, dropped the ball and broke some of their code – I’m assuming it affected tens of thousands of subscribers.  But they did such a job of handling their minor ‘Fontpocalypse’ that it’s worth a serious look.


I’m assuming that each of subscriber like me got the same message – which is an objective lesson in dealing with it properly when you screw things up royally.

Look at the note I received from Mailchimp below:

  • First they ‘fessed up: they came totally clean about the problem – before, I suspect, too many folk had noticed.  This was a small screw up, just a font error – and most users probably wouldn’t even notice.  But they didn’t either pretend they didn’t know, attempt to rationalize it away, or try to make excuses.  When you screw up – ‘fess up!
  • Second, they gave complete information on the extent of the problem – no fancy footwork and no careful wording – just the facts.  When you drop the ball – don’t leave people in the dark.  Tell it as it is.
  • Then they told subscribers what they could do to fix the problem – that’s what we all want, right – a fix?  When you let yourself down recover by telling your clients clearly how they can deal with the problem.
  • Finally, they offered anyone badly affected some kind of recompense.  Nice!

I’ve always liked the way that MailChimp blend a fun tone with a really seriously high service level.  The way they dealt with this, and their creation of a new word, ‘Fontpocalypse’, is another example of that effective and lighthearted creativity.

Now here’s a supplier who will have my business forever.

Well done guys!

Would you have dealt with this differently?
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