How One Small Business Pre-Empted Negative Feedback

by Ken Mueller on October 23, 2013 · 9 comments

Apple treeI talk a lot about the importance of great customer service and great customer experience. The two go hand in hand, and are among the best marketing tools you have in your arsenal.

What’s even better, is how well they feed into the concept of word of mouth and make you a hero, in the same way bad customer service can kill you.

With that in my, my friend Steve Schwartz sent me a Facebook message yesterday with a link to this particular status update from Paulus Orchards, located in Dillsburg, PA, not too far from here. The post pretty much says it all:


The beauty of this is that she recognized the problem, and took it upon herself to try to fix things. She knew the photographer and others had left angry, and she could have left it at that. It happens. But she decided to let down her guard and open herself up. And she even signed her name to make it more personal.

I don’t know whether the people in question have seen the post, but if they have, this could win them back.

Additionally, the number of likes on the page has grown since the apology was posted. People recognize that the woman is truly sorry, and they appreciate her efforts.

I’m betting the ROI of that apology is that the orchard will have many new fans and some new customers to boot. It’s human, and it works.

Have you ever seen any other examples of an apology like this?


To err is human, to forgive divine ~ Alexander Pope. When your customers see you own up to your mistakes, then the open-minded ones will know that you are simply human. The difference is that you have the integrity to "make it right", and people grant loyalty to integrity.

The fact that the apology took place for all to see means others can become a fan of that same integrity. Well played...

Sarah Bauer
Sarah Bauer

Wow. This is new. You always hear about examples of social media customer service in terms of response to complaints and over-exuberant attempts to pull prospects away from the competition, but never a situation where the business goes out of their way to call themselves out. Very powerful.  Thanks for sharing. 


Sarah Bauer

Navigator Multimedia 


It's funny.. in our overly litigious world, companies are so afraid of the apology. It's not always an admission of guilt or liability – in fact, the acceptance of responsibility and disclosure of regret can often stop that litigation or customer complaint in its tracks. A simple, genuine 'I'm sorry.. lemme make it right' is so powerful and can make a big difference. In CRM, in PR, in marketing, in SM we talk about mistakes and transparency and being human all the time; mistakes are part of that - so is how we manage them. FWIW. 

Adam | Customer Experience
Adam | Customer Experience

Ken, I love the proactive aspect of this interaction. And you're right, in the end, the audience is not just the people who were part of the incident (and might never see the post) but the wider audience of the orchard's Facebook fans.

Excellent customer service story!

KenMueller moderator

@3HatsComm Exactly, and this one was managed well. And it takes real character to go public with that when no one else might ever have known about it.


  1. […] How One Small Business Pre-Empted Negative Feedback – Proof that we all have bad days, and we occasionally want to apologize to our customers for them. […]

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