How to Keep Business Running During a Service Outage

3 min read

Service outages can be exceptionally stressful for both providers and their users. The global Facebook outage of 2021 that lasted for 5.5 hours has reportedly cost the company $79 M in ad revenues and significantly affected the business owners using it as their primary platform for sales. The outage also took down popular apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Messenger. Business owners who were willing to speak about the damage caused by Facebook’s outage have estimated the losses from sales, affiliate links, sponsored posts, and product launches to range from a few hundred dollars to over $5,000.

However, recovering from a failure in service, let alone doing your best to operate despite it, can result in a surge in customer loyalty. To bounce back stronger than before, you need two things. Well, three if you count fixing the service, although sometimes it can be beyond your reach. You need a solid communication strategy and an equally solid channel to broadcast the message.

What channels to choose?

Staying afloat during an outage is all about finding ways to be in touch with your audience. While your primary platform might be down, you can still communicate about the promotions and share vital information about your customers’ orders — provided you have access to a proper CPaaS solution. A reliable multichannel messaging platform combines all necessary messaging channels in a single suite. This way, you can easily set up the flow of your communications, track the results and leverage the 2-way capabilities of messengers for providing additional support and instructions for the users in need.

Messaging apps like Viber allow you to connect with the audience in their preferred communication channel. Sending a message through the app your customers use to chat with their friends and loved ones guarantees that they will see your message as soon as possible. Moreover, leveraging the two-way capabilities of messengers, RCS, and SMS can be vital for preserving your business revenues. In your initial service interruption announcement, you can suggest that your customers choose a channel they would like to be contacted through to ensure they still receive the services and goods they require.

Another reason to use a CPaaS solution is the ability to set up the fallback options. Following up your message with an SMS can drastically increase the success rate in case your message was not delivered through messengers or RCS. Does this mean that you must manually go through the delivery reports or segment users to see who did or did not receive your first message? Fortunately, not, as the fallback message flow is fully automated.

Building your message

While the service interruption is a tense event to begin with, your customers are likely to be having an even harder time. While cut from the service, they also have way less information on what is going on. And in many cases, they have their own customers that are demanding answers.

A clear, accurate and timely message about the situation at hand will help to alleviate the audience’s concerns. It serves three purposes: to tell the customers what is happening, what the interruption means for them, and what are you doing to resolve the issue.

A few points to keep in mind while communicating about the outage:

1. Admit the problem

The information about the issue should be clearly visible on all unaffected platforms in addition to your corresponding messaging campaign.

2. Be authentic and show some empathy

Make the message revolve around the client to let them know that their wellbeing is your primary concern.

3. Communicate the scope of the issue but don’t go too technical

Mention what features are affected, in which way, and what geographic locations suffer from the interruption.

4. Don’t overcomplicate the message

Write to your audience’s level and avoid overwhelming them with technical detail.

5. Offer workarounds and alternatives

Clearly explain what workarounds your customers can use while you are attending to the issue.

6. Take responsibility but provide context

Your customer is your customer, yet mentioning a third party can prove useful to help customers better understand the situation and the ways it is being handled.

7. Don’t go too heavy on promises

It is better to avoid specifics until you are adamant about the timings.

8. Add a speckle of personality

Use a simple, friendly tone and throw in an emoji or two (just do not get crazy!), or even better — a fitting branded sticker.

9. Follow up regularly

Consistently update the affected customers about your progress and get back to them once the interruption has been resolved.

If you want to learn more about the ways you can bring your customer support and engagement to a new level, make sure to contact our experts today!

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