No matter what background, experience, or schooling you have, there is absolutely no way that you’d want to purposely swear at your users. Even in a way that’s meant to be “fun”, you’re bound to upset someone and nobody wants to lose users.
Well, one company accidentally found out that cursing at their users actually woke them up and got them to use the product a little bit more. In a blog post today, note-taking service Fetchnotes told us a story about how dangerous it is to test new email services in a live environment.
In an “internal” test email last month, someone at the company was just filling up space with this message:
That “internal” email actually went public to all of its users, and the company explains how that felt in its blog post:
Needless to say, we were using far worse language as we began running around our office screaming and panicking like chickens with our heads cut off (this sums up our initial reaction). I think we hit 100 inbound emails within the first 5 minutes. Crisis mode set in and Chase traded off between manning Olark (live-chatting users on our website) and dealing with delete account/unsubscribe requests while I feverishly responded to incoming messages.
That disaster mode quickly turned into a nice surprise for Fetchnotes because when it started checking the usage trends for the product, it found that usage had actually gone up:
Not only that, but the company was getting positive feedback to their inadvertent email blast:
firstname.lastname@example.org: Hey, if it wasn’t for the “bitches” email I would have forgotten about your product. Now I’m reconsidering using it
This definitely doesn’t serve as a suggestion to go out and call your users “bitches” on purpose just to get them to use your product, but it is a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. Customer service is so important during a situation like this, so much so that it can either make or break a company. Fetchnotes clearly had their moment of freaking out, but started responding to inbound emails quickly. That responsiveness, along with what we can now call a “funny screwup”, may turn out to be a good thing.