The Things an Amazingly Calm Company Does #1: WPMU Dev

I’ve been a customer of WPMU Dev‘s for over a decade, and their support has always been fantastic. I was with them back in the day when they supported 129 WP Multisite plugins, and I remain a fan of their current small but powerful plugin suite, especially Smartcrawl Pro and Beehive Pro.

I wanted to call out something special in this blog post: Today WPMU Dev’s customer support team did something that brought me such unexpected joy that I nearly came to tears. It all started with an unexpected and mistaken email from them letting me that my Minneapolis WordPress Agency would be subject to a change in their WPMU Dev service plan.

Side note, I’ve received these types of emails from many companies in the WordPress space before, and almost every single time they contained bad news wrapped in fake good news and went something like this: “Great news! We’re shifting you from our ‘Bronze’ Plan to our ‘Pro’ plan, which means you now get less benefits and will pay more every year.” So I was concerned when I received this email today…But I needn’t have been concerned, because…

The email from WPMU Dev was completely different from my past experiences with other companies and said (paraphrased), “Great news! You were getting X benefits from your “Agency” plan, but now you are going to get even more benefits with no additional costs!” This was great news, but upon further review, I realized that I wasn’t subscribed to the “Agency” plan after all…I was subscribed to a much less-expensive plan. D’oh!

I was confused by the email, so I replied to the email asking for clarification, and their response said something like, “Sorry, but we mistakenly sent you that email.”

I understand that emails get sent to the wrong customers sometimes, and I didn’t hold it against them at all – mistakes happen. Even so, they offered me a very nice bonus on my current plan me for the confusion and lost expectations.

Then the magic happened – If you are a business of any size, please pay attention, because this is how you build lifelong relationships with customers. They didn’t need to take further action – Indeed, I did not expect further action to be taken.

A few hours later, they sent a follow up email that was so generous, so surprising, so thoughtful that it nearly brought me to tears! In a nutshell, their email said, “We feel so bad about sending you that email earlier, and we want to thank you for your support of our company over the last decade+. We’d like to offer you an impossible-to-say-no-to deal to further compensate you for all the confusion and heartache we caused you today.” I immediately accepted their apology and offer, because:

  1. I’ve come to appreciate WPMU Dev’s customer support over the years. They’ve always been very fair when I’ve raised billing concerns, not to mention the fact that their dev team has always provided me with honest/humble 1-on-1 support and bug fixes as I’ve raised coding issues with them over the years (If you’ve hung around with coders as long as I have, you start to appreciate the humble ones among us!).
  2. Similarly, their owner has been very frank with their business model and service offerings over the years, regularly blogging about both good news and bad news at the company.
  3. The deal they gave me on future WPMU Dev services was, as I said earlier, a Very Good Deal, which helps my biz and family out a lot, and I appreciate that greatly from the bottom of my heart.
  4. I appreciate stability in my business and life. As you likely know, stability is a helpful ingredient in building a Calm Company. Plus, I’m thrilled that my unofficial partnership with WPMU Dev will continue for untold years into the future.

So thank you WPMU Dev. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for providing wonderful, quick service today and every day prior. And thank you for bringing joy to my life today.

How Not to Do It #1: Years ago, I was coding mass emails for Best Buy, and a similar thing happened where they sent a huge email blast intended for their paid members to a much larger group of non-paid subscribers. This simple, honest mistake by someone in the chain consumed many executives, developers, project managers, and marketers for days. It doesn’t need to be Agitated like that. Simply admitting a mistake, making good on a promise, and moving forward is, perhaps, always the best path forward.

How Not to Do It #2: Read about how Digital Ocean calously cost us thousands of dollars, many headaches, and reputation points – all in a single day! Plus, they didn’t take responsibility. Agh!

Toby Cryns

Toby Cryns is a freelance CTO and WordPress Guru. He also writes for WPTavern.com.