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‘Making things right’ – a lesson from Hootsuite

Hootsuite server fail from Amazon Web Services

Our team is  passionate about customer service and relish getting to serve a community of online and offline client-focused companies too!

As such, it’s always refreshing to see examples of companies taking their commitments seriously, even when it might be easier to say ‘too bad, but not our fault‘ or sweeping a negative experience under the proverbial business rug.

Hootsuite, a social media collaborative tool, recently was affected by an Amazon Web Services outage that impacted millions of people across the Web.  It took down heavy hitting sites like Reddit (a user generated news site), Foursquare (a mobile marketing and game technology) and Quora – and a giant list of other frequently used tools and sites.

While these affected sites and communities didn’t have any control over their customers losing temporary access to their services and data, Hootsuite stepped up in a hugely public and apologetic way with the following statement and a $50 credit to every paid AND unpaid client account:

We know how important up-time is for you and truly appreciate the kind words from our users who missed using HootSuite. Further, many of you rely on HootSuite for your business and we take your trust seriously. As such, we’re taking all steps to prevent future mishaps.

Our Terms of Service to users outlines that we’ll provide refunds after a 24 hour outage. While this outage was significantly less, we acknowledge users were inconvenienced and we want to make things right.

No excuses, no pointing fingers – just a transparent message from the CEO himself about:

  1. What went wrong
  2. How they are making sure it won’t happen again
  3. A form of compensation for services lost
  4. A generous thank you to their clients

Let this be a lesson to all business owners, no matter what type of products or services you offer things happen!!

What your customers will remember is how you handled the situation and made sure that it wasn’t a repeat event.  Review your own corporate Terms of Service and consider joining in the global Company-Customer Pact to re-state your customer service commitments.

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