The other day, I made a mistake. I sent 17,600 (or so) people an email that was actually intended for a select 200 people. It was a mechanized delivery process, and it just went to the wrong list. I started getting messages back almost immediately by people who didn’t much appreciate what felt very much like spam.
I felt mortified. I didn’t want to address it. I wanted to hide under a rock.
Instead, I drafted a very quick message to say that I was sorry. I sent it out to the same 17,600 (or so) people and asked their forgiveness. And then I waited. Here’s a sampling of what I got back for responses:
Lynn – You’re a class act. I wondered about that email. Now I understand. Mistakes happen, and once again, you show how to react.
Nicole – YOU can spam me any day! JUST YOU! Hope all is well and Happy Monday!
David – We forgive you. J Hope all is well at SXSW.
Judy – Gosh! It’s lovely of you to send this note. And I understand – hey, it happens to everyone!
Thank you for this follow up e-mail. It’s very nice.
Pat – All is forgiven. Good to see even the great ones make the same mistakes we do :).
In fact, I went through several thousand responses (many of them “out of office”) and found not ONE person who said something negative after sending the apology. Now, in truth, I imagine that most people who were upset by the mistake voted by opting out of receiving mail from me ever again. But I was thankful to see that my apology seems to have been the right thing to do.
What do you think? Have you ever had a situation like that?
Photo credit Robert Brook