Oops! What to do When You Send the Wrong Message

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sending the wrong text message

Sending a text message to the wrong person can be embarrassing. I’ve done it many times. Thankfully though, they were just simple messages like “be home soon” or “I’ll tell you later”. Innocuous, harmless and easily explained away.

A high profile example of a text message gone wrong is Graeme Smith, the former South African cricket batsman and captain. According to reports, his wife discovered he wanted a divorce because he sent her a text message intended for his attorney. That’s something not easily explained away.

But what if a business sends a message in error? Can they take it back, or will there be damage done? Chances are a wrong message will cause some sort of damage to reputation or lost revenue. So what do you do if your business makes a mistake? Let’s look at three different possibilities:

Message sent to the wrong list –  So you sent an offer to a list of people. Then you discovered it was the wrong list of people. Some people will notice, maybe complain, or try to redeem the offer when they aren’t eligible. For example, you sent a special VIP discount code to your standard member list. Should you honour the deal for non-VIP members? Could you send a note saying it was an error? Should you send an alternate offer in order to make things right? Your response will depend on your business and the details of the mistake. But one thing you shouldn’t do is ignore the error.

Wrong content in the message – In your eagerness to send out your SMS campaign, someone mistyped the keyword or the coupon code in the message. As soon as you discover the error, send out a corrected version. But don’t leave it at that. In the corrected text message, acknowledge the error. If you don’t, people may be confused by the multiple, similar messages.

Message was sent at the wrong time – Did your message get sent too late, or even too early? In this case, what you do really depends on the details. Did the message announce a sale before it was actually supposed to start? Or did the message get sent the day after the event it was promoting occurred? Whatever it was, let your list know what happened, and do what you can to fix any problems that arise.

So you’ll see a common theme here: if you make a mistake, make amends. Don’t ignore it, but let your list know what happened and do what you can to make up for it. Doing so will help your reputation, reduce your unsubscriptions due to the error, and might even help your bottom line.

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