Keeping web visitors happy

I recently wrote a blog entry for a client about how a company can make the best of an email mistake. The recommendation was to quickly send follow-up email offering customers a discount or benefit to make up for any inconvenience they may have experienced. The idea is not only to calm the minority who may have been affected by the mistake, but to make a good impression on the majority — particularly the ones who take advantage of the freebie or discount.

Now I’m wondering if a similar marketing mechanism might be applied when a site has an unscheduled or poorly timed outage.

Today I went to log in to my Linked In account and, for the first time, ran into their upgrade/maintenance page. The friendly tone of the writing, and the amusing image, really took the edge off my initial frustration. (A striking contrast with the curt maintenance notice at my bank’s website — which I seem to encounter one in every four times I try to log on.)

Imagine if Linked In had gone just one step more are said something like “Are you a Linked In member? Come back in a bit, log in to your account, and use this code to get a free 1-month upgrade to our premium account level. Thanks for your patience!”

Ooh, that would be nice.

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