Think again, amigo. Today’s reminder comes from Klout, who actually did much to redeem itself by not hiding behind a faceless corporate persona. When it made a mistake in an email, the mea culpa came from their marketing associate’s personal Twitter account.
It started with an email received this morning from Klout letting me know about a perk. Note who it is addressed to.
Not sure who Lan is, but I semi-joked with Klout that if they think I’m Lando Calrissian they may have a slight problem (though, I do think I still have my smooth old-school Billy Dee moments).
Dear @klout: you sent me an email saying "Hi Lan"..unless you think I'm Lando Calrissian, you may have a problem.
— Chris Bailey (@chriscognito) March 6, 2012
The response I got back was not an anonymous, sorta sincere “Sorry about that” from the Klout account. Instead, a response came from Lan Nguyen, Klout’s marketing associate who constructed and sent the email.
@chriscognito Good news! We think you’re Lando Carlrissian! heh…Anyways, that was my coding error and I’m sorry for the inconvenience!
— Lan Nguyen (@Nguyen_Lan) March 6, 2012
Turns out Lan messed up the personalization and came clean about it. And you know what? Name me one marketer who hasn’t done the exact same thing when working with email. We all usually test but we can also get impatient, particularly when we have a gazillion other tasks to accomplish. And sometimes we’re working with email marketing platforms that make it exceptionally difficult to test even the simplest of personalizations let alone complex segmentations.
What’s the learning here?
- Make it easy for your customers to empathize with you. Don’t hide behind anonymous social media accounts. Smiling faces – like Lan’s – really do make a difference as to how people feel about your brand.
- Keep hammering away in your internal branding docs the value of being personable, real, and yes, vulnerable. Your customers are smart and they know when they’re getting the corporate treatment. Screw up? Then fess up and learn how to do better. I very much believe that Lan – after she deals with the barrage of confused/irritated tweets – will work doubly hard to not make the same mistake in the future.
- And reward employees for being human and putting a face on your brand. They only hide in the shadows of anonymity when they know they’re going to get shredded by management for screwing up.
What are your favorite examples of brands that know how to humanize their customer experience?