How do you handle mistakes?

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Everyone makes mistakes, and companies are no different. How one responds to a mistake speaks volumes for the credibility of a brand. Two cases in point from this weekend:

  • The Advertising Age website was down when I tried to visit the site the morning of October 11. I found myself entertained by the interstitial message admitting to the site not working, especially the part about Ad Age staff “shouting at each other more than usual.” A little self-effacing humor goes a long way.
  • On October 9, my United Airlines Flight 532 from Chicago to Boston was delayed by a mechanical problem. The United Airlines crew and pilot responded with grace and understanding, and by the time I landed in Boston, the following email awaited me:

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After receiving the message, I chose a $150 e-credit for a future United Flight. But what really mattered was the crew showing what seemed to me genuine concern for the disappointed passengers.

What are some examples you’ve seen of companies addressing customer service mistakes in a way that surprised you?

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