Picture this: it's the middle of your work day and you have a few free moments on your hand. Maybe you'll message your spouse on iMessage, or ping your friend on Facebook Messenger - only, you open them and find your messages just won't send.
You Google the issue and see servers are down - and...that's it. Maybe they're working on fixing it, maybe they're not. There's no ETA on when things will be back to normal. All those cute dog pictures you wanted to trade are un-sent and un-received grey squares and you're suddenly frustrated and unsatisfied with a service you expected to work.
You've likely experienced this feeling before, where a service that has chugged along merrily and uninterrupted suddenly stops. That day-souring frustration, while not the end of the world, can tarnish a brand's reputation or shake consumer's confidence in their service when it was otherwise secure. There's a lot we can learn to do right by what companies do wrong when their services go down.
Be The First to Know (and Tell)
If a client is the one to discover your website, email, or other service is broken, they have no way to know if you know about the error, if you're working to correct it, or when the issue might be taken care of. Instead, try to get ahead of the problem by reaching out to clients when they may encounter an issue. Even a general message stating what you know and that you're working to resolve things as soon as possible is better than silence.
Once you've told your clients what's going on, be sure to follow up with them every so often. If it seems like it will be more than 24 hours before you can fix an issue, notify your clients of how long you expect the issue to continue. This will make sure that no one feels left in the dark, and clients are reassured that you're still working on the issue and will resolve it as quickly as possible.
It's All Over Now
Most importantly, always notify clients when the issue is resolved. There's nothing more frustrating than knowing a service you use regularly is down and never being told when it's safe to resume usage. Promptly informing users your services are fully available again is the neatly-tied bow on top of your well packaged communication throughout the whole incident.
Taking note of what frustrates us most in our own customer service interactions can be an excellent road map to improving your own interactions with your prospects and clients. Communicate effectively and consider outages and issues from your clients' perspective to potentially improve client satisfaction with your problem solving.
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