This is a case study in damage control and social media support. A case study that you should read, before offering your next insanely great deal online.
NameCheap had a great idea. For one day, basically give domain name transfers away for free. Charge $4 and then donate between $.50 and $1.50 to the EFF.
Of course, the site overloaded. A year’s worth of domain renewal for $4… that’s enough to woo half the Internet. While that died down during the day, the site continued to have issues. Namecheap was apologizing to people who tried to transfer dozens of domains.
The limit was 50 domains to be transferred. Clearly stated on the web site’s offer page. Apparently, at no time during the day did NameCheap update their site and say “whoa, we’re having issues – please try transferring in smaller bulk buys” or anything like that.
As people kept trying to transfer right until 9PM Pacific… there was no guidance to those not following on social media, but to keep hammering the site. This actually made the problem worse, particularly as the deal was ending, because it wound up being a DDoS attack, albeit, inadvertently.
Watching @NameCheap on Twitter last night certainly frustrating. I was far from alone. If this were BuzzFeed, the next two pages of this article would be Twitter quotations…
… But this isn’t BuzzFeed, so take my word for it. Or not, and scroll through their tweets at the links above.
Am I angry at missing the deal? No, not really. I may pay GoDaddy more in the short-run, and I certainly haven’t seen them cutting checks to the EFF of late… but they have always made situations right with me, as a customer.
Recently with GoDaddy, I changed a setting that thought would have switched me over to monthly billing. To my amazement, I got a nearly-thousand-dollar charge the following week. Called GoDaddy, told them the setting I changed, and they concurred… a normal person who hadn’t been in that spot, would have thought that fixed the problem.
GoDaddy fixed the issue in a single phone call, and less than a five minute wait.
That’s good customer service. That’s why I’m not holding a grudge.
A good damage control plan for a deal that overloads your team:
- Be generous. Be sure to honor people, especially as the deal is ongoing that report it, that they will be taken care of. This should extend to people that report the problem during the 11th hour, or shortly thereafter. Odds are, they’re right.
- Be prepared to extend the deal. If you are admitting server issues, the worst thing to do is slam the door shut. I’ve been far more critical of others doing this too.
- The art of the deal is key. If a deal is too good for you to extend – in cases of overload – you probably shouldn’t be offering it in the first place.
- If you can’t make things right, explain why.
In this case, NameCheap can’t because this isn’t a loss-leading promotion… or if it is, they don’t want to admit it (I am guessing that could possibly be an ICANN violation).Edit: NameCheap wrote to me to say that they have disclosed previously that this is a loss-leading promotion. Still no offer to honor the deal though.
- Social media folks must have power. If it’s lip service you want to offer, be constructive with it. Seek feedback from the community on what you could be doing to be better. The best social media teams can Direct Message (DM) and own a problem to a customer-is-satisfied resolution.
- Remember who you’re talking to. If people are reaching out to you, it’s because they want to do business with you. Be open and transparent with them, as much as possible. Keep it clean, and respectful.