I appreciate when companies (and people) are up front about screwing up, apologize, and move on with solutions.

I got two e-mails in the past 24 hours from two different services I use, which I'll copy/paste below, and I couldn't help but notice the huge difference in how they were written. One was from WP Engine and the other from MailerLite — both which had service interruptions.

This isn't to bash MailerLite. I think they offer a great service at a good price point. I'm just using their e-mails as a learning tool for when I inevitably screw up (again LOL) and to recognize what I appreciated about how other companies handle it. E-mails below.

Notice a few things as you start reading:

  • WP Engine mentions the outage in their subject line. MailerLite spins their subject as news of their upgrade.
  • WP Engine addresses me by name. MailerLite sends a form letter to MailerLite customers. (Have they not discovered their own FNAME merge tag yet? LOL)
  • WP Engine addresses the issue and apologizes in the first sentence. MailerLite starts off with excuses for a problem they haven't even recognized yet.
  • WP Engine apologizes 2 times. MailerLite apologizes 0 times.
  • WP Engine acknowledges that their screw up negatively affected me. MailerLite only focuses on their objectives and milestones in reaching them.
  • WP Engine's e-mail came from “Tina Dobie” their Chief Customer Officer. MailerLite's e-mail came from “MailerLite”.

From WP Engine:

Subject: Recent WP Engine Outage

Paul,

On behalf of WP Engine, I would like to acknowledge that we have recently let you down and sincerely apologize for the disruption to your business.On Monday June 29th, Google, one of our infrastructure partners, experienced a major power disruption to their data center on the East Coast of the United States where your site(s) are served. Though we have engineered extensive, proactive auto-recovery measures into our platform, these measures did not prevent the downtime you experienced.

Impacted account(s): [server name] It is our responsibility to deliver our service according to our promise, and we take that responsibility very seriously.We are actively working to ensure that the proper safeguards are put in place so that an incident like this does not occur again. You have our commitment that we will work tirelessly to earn back your trust.Thank you for the confidence you have placed in us as your digital experience platform. Again, we apologize for the disruption to your business and the frustration we have caused. We value your partnership greatly and pledge to continue working diligently on your behalf.

Respectfully,
Tina Dobie
Chief Customer Officer

From MailerLite:

Subject: An explanation of our recent infrastructure upgrade

Dear MailerLite customers,

At MailerLite, we’re constantly improving our tools so that you can continue to grow. Growth is good! But when you grow to a certain point, you’ll inevitably experience growing pains.
This past week, we implemented a complex infrastructure upgrade. Our enthusiasm for delivering a more reliable MailerLite was temporarily overshadowed by an unexpected issue. Our growing pains were on full display.

Today, we’re happy to announce that the improved MailerLite is fully operational. The upgraded infrastructure will open up new possibilities for more advanced features to help your email marketing flourish.
We’ve been working behind the scenes every day for the past two months to make this happen. While the interruption of service was difficult, we hope the newly upgraded version of MailerLite outweighs the temporary setback.

To hear more about why we embarked on this project and what happened during the implementation, please read our detailed explanation here.

Our explanation of this week's project

We want to thank you for your patience and understanding during this phase in our history. We’ll continue to learn from this experience so when our next growth spurt comes, we’ll be ready!

Sincerely,
MailerLite
J. Basanavičiaus 15, Vilnius
Lithuania

Small details lead to big differences in how an e-mail is received.