Independent Thinking Blog

From Apology to Enchantment

There are very few Soup Nazis in business.

In other words, most of us have to provide good customer service to be sucessful. You can screw up and recover–companies do it all the time. But how many use the opening to move from apology to enchantment?

Stubhub did this the other day.

The online ticket seller’s Web site went down for a few hours, leaving sellers unable to sell. I knew the site was having glitches, but I had not realized the extent of the problem. But Stubhub did.

A couple of days later, unprompted, I received an email from Stubhub that showed me they understand their customers:

On Friday, our Web site experienced periodic downtime due to database issues, which continued into the late afternoon Pacific time. We worked as quickly as possible to fix the problem and restored functionality Friday evening.


We know you depend on our site–and that you need it to be up and running without problems like this. We also know you can list your tickets elsewhere. We need to do better to keep your business.


They didn’t stop there:

To express our gratitude for your patience, we’ve added a FanCode to your StubHub account. Your [$30] FanCode is valid for one year, so you can use it anytime between now and September 13, 2012… We’re really sorry for the frustration and confusion that Friday’s Web site issues caused you. We take this seriously and are continually working to make our site experience better. We hope you’ll accept our apologies.


I have no idea whether the glitch cost me money. Neither does Stubhub. But rather than try to figure it out (or wait for me to ask the question), the company shifted the conversation from frustration to enchantment.

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