Beta Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry

Ron Kaufman

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I recently heard a technology presentation from a young but experienced CEO of a big ‘clicks and mortar’ organization. He told the large audience confidently, ‘Beta means never having to say you’re sorry. ’

‘That’s right, ’ I thought to myself. ‘When launching the beta test of a new web-enabled process, customers must understand it’s only a pilot run and should be forgiving if things mess up or don’t work out as planned. ’

I was totally wrong about his point of view.

In direct contrast to my thinking, this e-commerce veteran explained that new web-based interactions often do not work properly during a beta test.

However, from the customer’s point of view, he insisted, your pilot run must be successful enough to avoid creating negative customer perceptions or the need to apologize after the fact.

The cost and consequences of doing it badly are customer skepticism, hesitation and negative word-of-mouth. That’s a cost too high to pay in today’s fast-moving world of instant communications.

Key Learning Point

If you are planning the design and launch of a new customer interface or web-enabled process, be sure to have enough staff and resources on hand to execute brilliantly from the customer's point of view, even if the technology itself proves problematic.

Action Steps

Plan ahead, staff up and allocate more resources than you will require. When you do launch, do whatever it takes to create a positive customer experience. Keep your breakdowns and learning behind the scenes. Make sure your customer is well satisfied and well served out in front.

Ron Kaufman is an internationally acclaimed educator and motivator for partnerships and quality customer service. He is author of the bestselling “UP Your Service!" and founder of “UP Your Service College". Visit for more such Customer Service articles, subscribe to his Newsletter, or to buy his bestselling Books, Videos, Audio CDs on Customer Service from his secure Online Store . You can also watch Ron live or listen to him at .


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