Printing is an extremely complex process and problems can creep in at virtually any step of the way. Most clients cannot successfully explain what’s bouncing around in their heads and may give you the wrong indication, which they’ll either discover at proof stage or (worst possible scenario) once the job is printed. However printers cannot solely lay the blame for screw ups at the feet of the client. You may be operating a bit short of staff or be training a newbie when an otherwise unforgivable error sneaks into the job. When you’ve printed on C2S 14 pt 293 GSM when the work order stated C1S 6 pt 148 GSM, or messed up the registration to the point that the color piece looks like a 3D screen viewed sans glasses, it’s time to apologize profusely.

Left out a 9 from $999? Start Writing!

The process of apology becomes a part of your email marketing campaign when you’ve made an error that affects all of your subscribers. If your last newsletter offered a special subscribers-only VIP deal for 10,000 11″ x 17″ single fold 4c/4c brochures on 12 pt 247 GSM for $99 and you realized after you sent it that you missed out on the last digit of what should have been $999… you don’t have to go bankrupt printing at 15% of cost, you can start drafting your humble apology email.

Everyone Must Receive the Apology Email

Have no doubts about it, writing an apology email that strikes the right tone between penitent prostration and maintaining a shred of dignity is a difficult task. First of all do not succumb to the temptation of sending the email to only the subscribers who responded. Everyone who saw the erroneous offer must receive the apology as you cannot possibly divine which prospects were going to respond, or which ones were turned off by what they saw as a scam offer that is obviously impossible to fulfill.

Make the Subject Line & Preheader Direct & Clear

“An Apology for the Mistyped Offer” is a good start. Let’s not even get into the point that a printer should proof their own materials as well as they do their clients’. The situation is a mess, so make the best of it.

Send the Email Quickly

Don’t dawdle while you figure out how best to handle damage control. Get that apology written and sent out ASAP.

Offer a Compensation

Since you’ve motivated your customers to get those 10,000 11″ x 17″ brochures, offer it to them at a reasonable amount below cost. You don’t have to be specific about your margins. Stating that you’re willing to print them at one third off the originally intended price of $999 might lose you a few bucks per order, but you will gain immeasurably in customer satisfaction and respect.

Have It Come from the CEO

Whether or not it was drafted by them, ensure that your apology comes right from the top. If you’re a subsidiary of TransQuebec Engulf & Devour Printing Conglomerate Inc., sending the email right from the President at corporate head office will carry considerable weight. Oh, and make sure you get their okay first if you treasure your job.

Encourage Replies & Respond

This is not the time to hide behind a “noreply@” email address. Use a real live email that goes to a real live (and named) person and make sure that every single reply is promptly and thoroughly addressed. You may also want to provide a link in the email to Live Chat or a Feedback Form.

Mistakes happen, so be ready to confront the issue head on. Having a clearly defined email apology procedure in place for when the unexpected occurs can help you quickly restore your reputation in the eyes of your customers.