There’s even one blogger who started a blog (on Blogger) last week on filing a class action lawsuit against Six Apart. No takers yet to that offer.
I couldn’t see such absurd action having any chance of succeeding at all, especially in light of an email overnight to all active TypePad customers from Barak Berkowitz, Chairman and CEO of Six Apart, the owner of the TypePad service.
In a to-the-point explanation of what Six Apart has been doing to resolve the service problems, Berkowitz’ email includes a compelling offer:
Two weeks ago I wrote you to explain the problems that some of our users experienced last month and what we were doing to fix them. Today I want to tell you about the work we’ve done and our plans to compensate you for the inconvenience and frustration we may have caused you. […] We are all aware that you pay for TypePad and expect to receive superior service and performance in return. At times last month, we did not provide that type of experience to all our customers and apologies are not good enough. […] By default, you will receive a credit for 15 free days of TypePad service. To get this credit you don’t have to do anything; we will just credit your account. That said, we recognize that customers have had different experiences with the service, so we want to give you the opportunity to choose more, or even less compensation.
I would say that the extent of the offer to customers will exceed everyone’s expectations. It certainly exceeded mine. You can read the email content online and see for yourself.
I don’t know how many TypePad users there are – searching the web didn’t produce any meaningful results – but let me make some guesses here.
Six Apart’s LiveJournal has about 8 million users. So let’s say there are 2 million TypePad users. And let’s average the monthly subscription cost across all three service levels to $9. Even if only 10 percent of customers take the default 15-day free offer, that’s a potential revenue loss of just under $1 million.
Of course this is just guessing, yet it indicates the potential monetary cost to Six Apart of all these problems in recent months that have frustrated so many users.
But, assuming the problem-fix is sustained, I think the intangible benefit to Six Apart from their offer to customers will far outweigh any negative financial figure that shows up in the accounts, and will be a benefit in the longer term expressed in terms of enhancement to their credibility and, thus, reputation which might translate into longer retention of existing customers and attracting new ones.
This time, I agree with Steve Rubel – a model of customer service.
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