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When something goes wrong …

4 September 2011 · 1 Comment

… the ultimate moment of truth in customer experience.

This past week, someone suggested on that might be worth a look in a thread about finding the best pint of Guinness being served in Limerick City. The reaction was anything but perfect …

Time to take my own medicine.

As corny as you might find acronyms, it’s easy to remember Bruce Temkin’s ACES (or the augmented CARES.)

I jumped right into the discussion and thanked the poster for the feedback. I COMMUNICATED why the data was out of date; personally took ACCOUNTABILITY for the situation and immediately removed the closed pubs he mentioned in the post. I agreed that we might have made the wrong call and that we’d implement a SOLUTION to make it easy for people to notify us of old listings.

The poster was chuffed that the developer had actually responded personally.

Clearly the community on the thread was passionate about getting the pub listings right. I took the opportunity to offer a free t-shirt to someone who would help me clean up the local listings. (Another poster offered a second shirt to sweeten the deal even more.) In less than an evening we had the pubs cleaned up in Limerick. (RESPONSIVE) Another user bought a t-shirt, so we actually made money getting the pubs corrected. We got several dozen incremental downloads of our iPhone app and we got the most valuable gift of all … more customer insight to make the site better.

The whole situation worked out so well, we’ll look for similar people to do the same job in the regional sections of We’ll do a better job communicating how to edit information on the site and certainly encourage it even more.

When problems arise, it’s probably the best time to build loyalty amongst your users. You certainly should be doing it from day one, but you’ll never lose anyone faster if you bungle it.

This certainly wasn’t on the scale of the AirBnB crisis, but they too finally responded honestly in words, actions and new features to address people’s concerns.

I’m looking for other examples of stellar and stupid responses to customer experience issues. Leave a comment or drop me a line.


Tags: · service · UX · work