Much to my chagrin, it just happened to me. Recently promoted, I embraced my new role and decided to start with an email marketing campaign to attendees from a conference I attended recently. A lot of time went into preparing a series of targeted messages, stressing the value of creating a membership renewal process, member engagement and keeping your database clean.
A fellow team member researched each organization on my list, so I could select the best organizations to target from the entire list of conference attendees. Since I had not met these people at the conference, the plan was to send introductory messages with educational resources about our company's services, with appropriate follow-up calls.
I was so excited press the “send” button (on my birthday to boot), only to find out a few hours later that data was corrupted during the list upload. Somehow the marketing automation software used to deploy emails changed about 20% of my recipients' first names to "Sylvie". Yes, all those important association Executive Directors, many of them men, received a "Dear Sylvie" message. I was HUMILIATED!
Getting over the initial shock (and avoiding my first instinct to crawl under my desk and pretend this was not happening), I had a great conversation with my boss and realized that these circumstances were beyond my control. Still, something needed to be done.
I have now come up with my apology note, that will accompany the correct message (as it was supposed to look), advising that there was a technical glitch and that while it was unfortunate, there are some great lessons to learn here.
What are the lessons? Everyone is human, things happen. No software solution is perfect. Even after testing, some things may go wrong. And while the software Help Desk people heard an earful from me, they cannot 100% guarantee that it is going to work 100% of the time. The human element is always there, and with that, come mistakes. I hope now that I will get more respect owning up to it instead of pretending it didn't happen. Oh, and I think it’s time to start taking the day off for my birthday…