friendly rejections

managing a brand experience online is as easy as managing one offline - you just have to give a little effort. a shining example is an automated response i got this weekend from Digg. i have an account with them, mostly because it's free and i just can't get enough free accounts. anyway, upon logging in yesterday, i hit a technical glitch. but instead of the usual dead end response from a robot, the headline of the response reads:

"yikes, we just had an error."

computers don't say yikes. a swell start. it continues:

"Something is broken and your registration failed. We know this is frustrating, so please accept our apology."

wow, empathy. computers don't show empathy - humans do. please Digg, go on...

"It's very possible that this was a one-time problem. Please try registering again."

ok, i'm sold. i'll register again. anything else?

"Thanks for your patience with us. We'll try to make it up to you with a great experience on Digg once this is fixed."

this well-considered automated response didn't take long to craft. yet, what a huge impact it made. it's obvious, but worth saying:

act as if your communications are speaking to a human being. oftentimes, you'll be right.

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