Right On Interactive Inspires With A Speedy & Honest Apology

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Everyone makes mistakes — it’s how you react to and fix those mistakes that matters (for the most part!). We recently blogged about Help Scout’s outage & their admirable follow up, in which they acknowledged their error, explained what they were going to do to get better, and offered subscribers advice for future crises. While the outage was undesirable, the “oops” email really showcased how much Help Scout cares for their customers, which was a positive of the situation.

On Wednesday, I received an email from Right On Interactive which had some major errors in it; however, they followed up with an apology email less than 2 hours later, which I was really impressed with! Let’s take a look at “the mistake” and “the apology.”


Justine and I received this email around the same time and, being email geeks, we immediately messaged each other about it. While the design is very simple and festive, and the content is thoughtful, there are some major errors in this email. For starters, the %%FirstName%% field didn’t populate. Oops! In addition, the reply-to email address is MY email — huh?! When I first saw that I was a little fearful that my name was the reply-to for all of these emails; luckily, that wasn’t the case!

Since Right On Interactive is a marketing automation company that has a focus on email marketing, among other lead generation & nurturing activities, it made me even more shocked that they made a mistake. If they are supposed to be assisting customers with their email marketing initiatives, what kind of impression is this creating? Luckily, they acted quickly and sent an apology email within 2 hours — I was very impressed!


A thoughtful, direct apology

This apology email is simple in terms of both content and design. The subject line, “Apology from Right On Interactive,” perfectly sums up the content of the email: an apology. The email starts with my first name (the populated fields worked this time, woo!) which adds personalization to the email — I feel like this apology is directed right at me! It’s an extra touch that goes a long way — especially because they’re subtly showing that their merge tags DO in fact work!

The body of the email begins with describing the error (in case subscribers missed the original email), which was that they sent an email on the subscriber’s behalf. They immediately continue on to ease the subscriber’s anxiety and assure that the email was only sent to you so no one else has your email address. I was happy they addressed this in the email — especially since I was a little nervous about it!

In the next two lines, Right On Interactive describes what went wrong & they do it in an extremely honest manner. Rather than beating around the bush and just saying they made a mistake, they get right to the point — they were testing a holiday email & accidentally tested it against their customer and prospect list. Simply put, it was human error. I appreciate that they take full responsibility for the incident — it shows integrity and helps strengthen the relationship between Right On Interactive and their subscribers.

Before providing contact information and closing the email, Right On Interactive adds a little personality to the email in the line, “We always try to avoid mistakes like this, and in this case, we deserve our lump of coal.” I think it’s a nice, subtle reference to the holiday season and puts a little playfulness into an otherwise very serious email.

Simple design emphasizes content

While it’s technically an HTML email, it looks as if it’s written in plain text and coming from an individual’s mailbox, not a huge ESP. This adds a nice personal touch to the email, as does signing the email “Andrew Clark” and providing subscribers with his contact information in the body of the email. These personalized aspects of the email make the subscriber feel that the email is coming from an actual person, who cares and can help them out, rather than a big corporation who is going to direct readers to the general help phone line and a “catch-all” inbox.

The simple, text-based design of the email doesn’t take away from the important content and I think they pair very nicely together. In addition, due to the fact that it’s all text (and a reasonable size), it is easy to read and interact with on all devices.


Like the Help Scout “oops” email, I think this email could use a little branding. While the content and tone of the email are great, I think Right On Interactive could have further evoked a little personality by branding the email a bit better — even if they just added their logo towards the top. If you quickly glance at the email, you can’t tell who the email is from at all. A little branding could have made a big difference!


Do you have an email that you’d like us to feature in our inspiration series? Send it on over!