I was amazed when this “half a piece of mail” made it to me in a protected sleeve. The torn direct mail piece did not even have my full mailing address, but was still delivered by the USPS.

On any given day, the United States Postal Service handles more than 500 million pieces of mail. Even if damage is a rare event, the sheer volume of mail handled makes any failure sizable.

What impressed me most is that USPS has a process in place to try and put as many pieces of the damaged mail back on their path to the destination. In my case, they only had my street name and city; and somebody manually identified the zip code and hand wrote it. Going above and beyond, having a process in place, and that too for a piece of direct mail; it made me feel good about USPS genuinely caring about delivering my mail.

In any business, failures happen. Identifying likely failure points and having a process to act with care when it happens is essential to winning the hearts of customers.

It is not the failure but what you do or don’t do after failure that defines your ongoing connection with your customers.


Five questions to ask to plan for winning the hearts of customers after a failure:

  1. What are some of your highly likely failure points?
  2. How do you become aware when they happen?
  3. Who is in charge of action post failure?
  4. What is your process for recovery?
  5. Finally, how do you celebrate wins from recovery after a failure?


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