What You Can Learn from Kickstarter's Recent Apology

John Scott
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Kickstarter has become the go-to funding source for many artists, designers, videographers, and other creative professionals. The company's website, Kickstarter.com, allows people to raise funds by requesting donations for projects ranging from video documentaries to art installations. Although many projects have been funded successfully, Kickstarter is facing some backlash for not taking quick action against a user trying to raise funds for a project that promoted violence against women. The crowdfunding company has since issued a formal apology and admitted that representatives did not act quickly enough to pull the offending project. Customer service professionals can learn a lot from the simple apology issued by Kickstarter.


The project in question is a book called Above the Game, and the author promoted it as a guide to helping men "get awesome" with women. Some people found the book's content disturbing because the author advocates shoving women and other acts of physical aggression as part of the seduction process. It became a customer service issue for Kickstarter when users complained and bloggers picked up on the story. Unfortunately, Kickstarter was slow to act, and the book's author got to keep more than $16,000 in donated funds.


In their apology, company representatives explained that the project was scheduled to end just two hours from when they found out about the offensive material. They said they were not used to taking such quick action. This is a great lesson for customer service professionals, as it illustrates the importance of acting quickly to resolve service issues. Although Kickstarter made a mistake in handling the issue, representatives were quick to issue an apology and show users that their voices had been heard. This is also important for customer service professionals, as one of the best ways to provide excellent service is to make customers feel that you are listening to their concerns.


Mindi Chahal of "MarketingWeek" says companies must communicate consistently across all channels and speak in a language customers can understand. Kickstarter did this when issuing a formal apology. Company representatives explained why they did not cancel the project and apologized for handling the situation incorrectly. Customer service professionals can learn a lot from the crowdfunding site, as it is important to remember that mistakes do happen. Most customers do not expect your company to be perfect, but they do expect you to own up to mistakes and make them right. Kickstarter did this by apologizing, prohibiting future users from starting projects related to "seduction" guides, and promising to donate $25,000 to RAINN, an organization that works to raise awareness of sexual assault.


As a customer service professional, you will experience times when you have to own up to a mistake or apologize to a customer for a service issue. You can learn a lot from the way Kickstarter handled this issue, as company representatives were quick to apologize and took steps to show consumers that they are sincere about their apology. Apply this lesson to your customer interactions, and you will have a more rewarding career.


(Photo courtesy of bigjom / freedigitalphotos.net)


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  • Melissa K
    Melissa K
    Thanks for sharing, Joanne. I feel your pain. Domestic violence is such a serious issue and controlling partners can cause huge problems with your career, ruin your professional reputation and when you try to talk about it, people say "Just leave." It's much easier said than done, because any abuser is first going to ruin all of their victims options for standing on their own. It's so much easier than keeping them locked up with actual chains. Good luck and I wish you the best of everything. Stay strong!
  • Joanne D
    Joanne D
    Ouch! First; I am a single mother of 4 amazing kids and we are SURVIVIORS of extreme DOMESTIC VIOLENCE! I am a manager in restaurant and hotel as well! Right off the bat I would approach with absolute humbleness too my lack of being #1 for the viewers the communities the cause and effect of what is on a website I am responsible for. I would deeply regret my actions or lack of, and I would from that point on, approach everything with a eagle eye and train others to do so. Reputable honest going above and beyond, owning our actions and achieving success from them. As a consumer and customer, I am now questioning just how much other lewd and unacceptable projects have been overlooked. I think domestic violence is still swept under the rug because so many of us are guilty of doing it in some way. Let me tell you, because of my fleeing with my kids, I have nothing. I'm homeless trying so hard to find work with a blown head gasket. I have great work ethic I'm very good at what I do, but I can't find work. Ex got me fired from every job and no one can help for housing right now. It is a serious offense to us who are survivors n these programs say they will help veterans and DV victims, yeah rt! Most children on streets are victims n that is the truth. But hey, at least we aren't being beat anymore or lives threatened by him any way. Lets raise money for people like me, who need to get up on the cliff I'm hanging off of. So I can stand on two feet n battle from a fair stance. Thank you very much. Sincerely

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