It happens to almost everyone, with almost no warning your website has inexplicably gone missing (just today an Amazon Web Service outage took down Pinterest, Airbnb and Redditamong others). There are a lot of reasons a site can become unavailable, if you’re a Blue Tent client, your first call should be to us and we’ll help find out what’s going on, even if it’s not due to our servers or code. After you’ve taken a moment to make sure it’s not your fault (you did remember to renew your domain right?) and you’ve gotten in touch with your hosting provider to find out when your site will be back, it’s time to fill the void and inform your customers.
Having a communication plan in place before a service outage is critical. You’ll need to craft a message that will let your customers know when to expect service again and that you’re on top of things. The proper outlet(s) to deliver the information can vary widely, but a message out through all your social media channels is a good start.
If the site is likely to be down for more than a few minutes, you may want to provide more detail and give customers the opportunity to get ahold of you via another method. That’s tough to do in a 140 character tweet, so one option is to issue a full statement or update on Facebook or Google+ and compose an accompanying tweet to make it clear that’s where more information is going to be available.
Plan on being more engaged with your social media presence during an outage or site issues, people will be looking for answers. Don’t be surprised when people vent their frustration in public view on your social channels, it only shows how much they depend or rely on your service. It also gives you the opportunity to show any bystanders what a high level of professionalism and service you have.
Keep the updates coming, one tweet isn’t going to cut it for an extended outage:
Don’t forget to sound the all clear when things are back up! If you can, let people know personally, especially those who took the time to let you know things were amiss!