What Would Barbara Do: Humans make mistakes too

This story is part of our Making Business Human series. For more on the series and our mission, check out this post!

Q: I sometimes make typos or mistakes in chat - what’s the best way to recover?

A: Ah, being human. When I think about what that means at Olark I think about it as being the real, approachable, honest, no BS, only appropriate extra floof, Barbara. And along with being awesome, that Barbara also makes mistakes which, if handled in a human way just makes me more human. And often more approachable :)

For example, I was in a chat that seemed pretty dry. It was early in my shift, on a Monday and I just hadn't completely warmed into my totally awesome phase yet (you can't force it, you just have to get there). My text expander went wonky and I sent the customer this:

wee hhaavvee 22 ooppttiioonnss ffoorr cchhaatt rroouuttiinngg -- rroouunndd rroobbiinn aanndd aallll ooppeerraattoorr -- hhttttpp::////wwwwww..oollaarrkk..cco omm//hheellpp//cchhaatt--rroouuttiinng

There's no way around it - that's not what a reasonable person would send. I made a, gasp, mistake. And I owned it the way I do most things - by making a joke. "Uhh... oops - let me try that again... my computer has a case of the Mondays, it seems". And my visitor laughed, replied with "don't we all" and BOOM. The chat felt lighter. More personable. We connected because sometimes I'm a bit of an idiot. And hey - that's a-ok because sometimes we all are and that's part of what being a human is about.

If you do make a mistake - own it. If it's your personality and seems right, make a joke.

So - should you intentionally misspell words and make mistakes to build a connection with your visitors? That I don't know - there are definitely some folks who will think less of you for it (and I might too, just a bit, if you don't correct an erroneous there/their/they're). But if you do make a mistake - own it. If it's your personality and seems right, make a joke. And know that while you may occasionally make mistakes, hey - me too! It's just part of being human. :)

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Barbara Maniar

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Barbara is part of the support team at Olark and she loves to chat. When she's not talking with all y'all she's chasing around her 2 kids, having mild success at craft projects and trying to schedule in a nap.