Six Apart does their customers right Jason 14 Nov 2005

44 comments Latest by Gm

‘Nuff said. Excellent work. I can see the goodwill meter rising.

44 comments (comments are closed)

Eddie 14 Nov 05

It is refreshing to see something like this.

I’m not sure of the context of this (as I don’t use Six Apart products)- but if this type of thing would even be considered at say.. my cable company (yeah right) I’m sure there would be about fifty hoops just to jump through akin to getting a rebate from a manufacturer. In other words, it would serve to appear that the company cares… or “all hat, no cattle” as they say in TX.

Personally- I would not even hesitate to select the “no thanks” option at the bottom (if I really didn’t have any problems) if for any other reason, than to encourage Six Apart to continue treating customers like this. If everyone chooses the best deal- it would more obvious that we the customers are trying to scam a free lunch courtesy of Six Apart.

SH 14 Nov 05


Don Wilson 14 Nov 05

Very cool indeed.

chris sivori 14 Nov 05

It works because it’s respectful. I’m willing to bet most people will elect not to add any free time to their subscription. Be honest, and offer to make it right. That’s time tested and true.

not my real name 14 Nov 05

I’d like to see the results that garners.

Paul Freeman 14 Nov 05

I’d be really interested to know how people responded to something like that, particularly with 45 days of service for free been a very big show of faith, and could cost a huge amount of money to the company.

I guess the cynical side of me thinks that peoples greed will kick in, as well as the goodwill.

Of course, on the flip side maybe it will balance out with the people who won’t take up the offer, or will stick with the service where as they were thinking of leaving.

Jeff Croft 14 Nov 05

This is definitely great, and I’m not bagging them at all, just playing devil’s advocate…

…why is this better than just giving everyone 45 free days?

John Y. 14 Nov 05

Jeff: Simple. They save themselves some cash (because I guarantee you at least some percentage of people will choose the other options), but they still offer up to 45 days for free — and leave it up to the customer.

This wouldn’t be as cool if they’d tried to implement some kind of algorithm to figure out who to credit with how many days, or only give the free time to people who complain and asked for it.

Brandon 14 Nov 05

Great customer service! I think this really goes to show that some companies really care about their customers. Most would just wait until customers complained, then give them a miniscule credit. Web hosts come to mind.

But letting customers determine how a problem affected them and their business is revolutionary. I think it’s very honorable of them.

Steve Akers 14 Nov 05

Jeff: Personally I think it’s better because it forces people to think about their relationship with Six Apart. It’s one thing to think, “I’m ticked off because service sucked last week.” It’s another thing entirely to sit down and honestly evaluate how the problems impacted you. Plus, trust is a two-way street. With a gesture like this you see them trusting you and it in turn makes you trust them.

Mark 14 Nov 05

I recently, as did a number of my friends, received an email regarding a class action lawsuit against Netflix. I read through it briefly, it had something to do with services delivered vs. services claimed, and as compensation, those affected could upgrade their account for free for one month.

I personally hadn’t had a problem with Netflix and thus didn’t take them up on the legal remedies offered. It would’ve been great if they could’ve stripped out the legalese and offered remedy a la this model.

Caleb Buxton 14 Nov 05

Great complimentary post to your last one.

Thomas 14 Nov 05

Hmmm… Economic rational behavior would be to go for the 45 days as far as I see… I’d feel like wasting my time — just give me those 45 days right away, baby… You already said you’re sorry.

Economist 14 Nov 05

Not if part of your rational behavior included wanting to support a service which you felt would not be supported if you took 45 free days. In other words, if you felt like you would lose more than the cost of 45 days worth of subscription (features that could no longer be built) in utility by claiming the 45 free days from the company.

Bryce 14 Nov 05

I’ve thought about this before when it comes to Internet service and also banking. If you pay their bill one day late, they’re happy to slap a penalty fee on you, but if their service is ever intermittent, it’s difficult or impossible to get any compensation for it.

Great work, Six Apart. Whatever cash they may lose on the 45 free days, they’ll easily make up for in customer loyalty and word of mouth advertising.

Michael 14 Nov 05

That is really cool.

Darrel 14 Nov 05

Anything a company does to accept responsibility is a good thing. Sad that this is a rare example rather than common.

Scott 14 Nov 05

Amusing that the other platform they bought, LiveJournal, hasn’t had any issues at all.

Garrett Dimon 14 Nov 05

Great idea. Putting their money where their mouth is. I can respect that.

Mark - It is a terrible shame that Netflix would bury the offer in legalese. However, your point makes this that much more impressive in that Six Apart didn’t need a lawsuit to admit their weakness.

Rabbit 14 Nov 05

Where is this page on their site? I can’t find it.

Bill Brown 14 Nov 05

But is this enough for people to stay on TypePad? I think the rolling blogouts really shook the seemingly uncoditional faith people had in SixApart. I think a lot of people might be thinking “fool me once.”

Dave Glasser 14 Nov 05

Scott: Actually, about a week after Six Apart bought LiveJournal, they had a major power outage for about a day — and they in fact offered extensions to all paid members after this. (And they also offered extensions to people who were affected by Katrina.)

Another post on clients/customers 14 Nov 05

Found this fresh blogger discussing Tom Peter’s attitude for clients:
Six Apart follow tom’s vision. Can everyone allow it?

SH 14 Nov 05

“Where is this page on their site? I can�t find it.

It was sent to paid users of TypePad.

Don Schenck 14 Nov 05

What Darrel said.

Justin Michael 14 Nov 05

Absolutely fantastic job on their part. I wish more companies took this approach.

omit 14 Nov 05


Holy Cow 14 Nov 05

Can someone tell me what were these issues with the TypePad service in the first place? I don’t use them, so I don’t know. Gracias.

Carson McComas 15 Nov 05

There were definitely issues with TypePad. Significant performance problems that made it unusable for large periods of time. They get huge points for being human beings about it.

Nathan Spindel 15 Nov 05

Does anyone else remember The Wonder Years episode when Kevin Arnold’s substitute teacher told the students to pick their own grade?

Spike 15 Nov 05

Good work Six Apart.

As an aside, you don’t mention backpack in the archived posts header (the masthead text reads differently). Intentional?

John 15 Nov 05

Talk about making the absolute best of a uncomfortable situation!

This is just about as win-win as conflict resolution gets… it’s apologetic, but offers compensation. It compensates, but not in a way that is likely to balloon out of control.

I know I tend to overplay the impact of outages (particularly with telcos, but they’re a whole different kettle of fish!), so this really puts the ball back in the customer’s hands. I can see the book now: “Collective Consumer Conscience: How To Increase Goodwill By Empowering Your Customers”…

Very clever. A “Lovemark”-type approach to customer service.

Tom 15 Nov 05

It’s extra cool because its a very personable approach, “Were sorry, what can we do to fix it?”. It also serves as a questionaire to find out how much damage they did to the TypePad “community”

keith bohanna 15 Nov 05

Not much to add to the comments already. It is possible for an email like this to co-exist in a business with a bad attitiude to customers - however it is extremely unlikely.

More likely is that this can sit alongside an underperforming technology team/platform. Personally I run a number of blogs through typepad and only had very occasional delays.

There is a lot of good to learn from emails like this.


John 15 Nov 05

I was really glad to see this from them, because their recent performance issues were significant. While I applaud them, this type of rebate was a business necessity, because we’re not talking about a little hiccup in service…

These service issues put them at risk of losing subscribers, particularly those who post frequently, businesses, and those who generate revenue through their typepad sites.

Simpy stated, if their performance issues were to continue, this rebate won’t help. I know a number of people who were very close to dropping the service and demanding a refund… myself included.

warren 15 Nov 05

the way i judge things, they still had fucky servers. and they aren’t even running a zoo of exotic software the way textdrive is.

David Ham 15 Nov 05

Oh man, I want a TextDrive T-shirt that says “a zoo of exotic software” on it. Perfect!

Diane 15 Nov 05

I’ve been impressed with TypePad since I first learned of it and started using it last year. When I received their email yesterday, I clicked on the last option. Six Apart is a classy operation as they have just proved with their options.

mp 15 Nov 05

Interesting. The company I work for has just finally come out of 2+ months of troubles and tribulations with it’s site, thanks to bad luck and bad planning. The whole ordeal pissed off a lot of our customer base. It was deemed by management that some sort of reimbursement was necessary. However they took the “let’s figure out the people who were most affected and give them a % of their monthly fee back - based on the % of days they were affected”. Didn’t exactly build up any goodwill.

Too bad they didn’t take this type of approach, as everyone else in the company advocated for.

md 15 Nov 05

We are bunch of abused, mis-treated online customer I guess. If you really think about it, it is not a big deal. The good part of it someone finally carried the attutide that was *normal* in brick-mortar shopping. My local grocery store does this (I can return any product that I am not happy with, if they make a mistake on the price while they ring my grocery, I get the product for free), my bank does it (my debit declined accidentaly, they gave me 50 dollars), my ISP did it (speed was down and gave a month credit)…. Finally an online company doing it.

Andy 15 Nov 05

I just thought I’d mention, since it wasn’t noted, that if a customer didn’t respond, they would be given 15 days free in compensation by default.

Gm 16 Nov 05

We are waiting for the same offer (more or less) from Bill Gates, Robert Murdoch, Tronchetti Provera (Owner of Telecom Italia) etc…etc….