6 Ways Your Support Team Should Respond to a Service Outage

Last Updated: April 6, 2021

You’re settling down for the evening – may be to watch your favorite show or surf on your favorite website, but no luck. You receive a notice that there is a service outage and your patience is a bit short that night.

It is helpful for companies to put themselves in this place so they understand customer frustration when providing support around a service outage. Whatever your method of support, online, phone, or email, you have to be quick and proactive when communicating an outage to customers.

In a 2020 survey, 25% of global businesses reported the average hourly cost of service outage to be around $301k to $400k.

However, this does not include the financial impact caused by customer dissatisfaction. Here are 6 ideal ways to respond to a service outage.

How to Respond to a Service Outage?

1. Don’t Wait

Don’t wait around for the problem to fix itself, hoping customers will not notice. They will notice! Get a message out immediately that you are aware of the issue and provide any information about what you are doing to address the problem. Waiting for customers to contact you is not an ideal solution.

2. Communicate across Multiple Channels

Not everyone is on Twitter. Although customers refer to the social media handles of companies when they encounter such problems, many others may not be Twitter users, and using that as your only method of online support may leave them out. Use Twitter, but along with a maintenance page on your website. When you are proactive in communicating the problem to your customers across multiple channels, you are also cutting down on the number of requests sent to your support team.

3. Post Where People Hang Out

There are other places where customers hang out to talk about you besides your company-owned channels. DownDetector.com is one popular site with information about downtime which you can use to keep abreast of these outage issues. Ask yourself where your customer base spends time and initiate proactive communication.

4. Give an Estimate

In most cases, you can’t decide when the problem will be fixed. But even so, people still want an estimate. Should they check back in an hour? In a day? Provide a rough idea of when people can expect full restoration of services.

If it takes longer, make sure you update people on that too. If it looks like it will take 2 hours, do not commit to restoring service in 30 minutes. As good as it makes you look, it’s not helping you or your customers. And definitely, give yourself some wiggle room. Underpromise and overdeliver.

5. Provide Relevant Information

Relevant information doesn’t mean in-depth technical details into what led to the service outage. Instead, provide information that is relevant to the customer. Do you expect to be back up in an hour in the Southeast, but expect longer times for other areas of the country? Will only a part of the service will be back? Give the customer some basic information about the problem.

6. Follow up

The problem is solved and you are back online. But don’t stop there. Yes, you can thank customers for their patience and apologize for the inconvenience caused, but how do you plan to prevent this in the future? Of course, there are some things you can’t control, but what are some scenarios you can control? Let them know any internal changes that may be made to prevent a reoccurrence. You want to nurture your relationship with your existing customers and open communication is a key way to do that.

Schedule your personal HappyFox demo to see how you can easily manage your communications with customers in a proactive or a worst-case reactive manner.