Thursday, August 23, 2007

Correcting Mistakes

Today's reversal by Google underlines a customer-first approach to service that I think more businesses should emulate.

According to an Associated Press story today, Google has decided to offer full refunds to users who had paid for video sales or rentals through Google Video, a service it is shutting down.

The company had announced it would only give credits through its Google Checkout offering, thereby requiring users to buy coffee, magazines or other items from merchants who accept Checkout payments.

“When your friends and well-intentioned acquaintances tell you that you've made a mistake, it's good to listen,” Bindu Reddy, Google's video product manager, said on the company's official blog.

“We thought offering the refund in the form of Google Checkout credits would entail fewer steps and offer a better user experience,” Reddy wrote. “We should have anticipated that some users would see a Checkout credit as nothing more than an extra step of a different (and annoyingly self-serving) kind. Our bad.”

You're allowed to make mistakes in business. What's important is recovering from them quickly.

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