How Do You Manage Customer Expectations During Service Outages?


    How Do You Manage Customer Expectations During Service Outages?

    When service outages or product issues arise, maintaining customer trust is paramount, as a Group Product Manager and a Founder & Head of Customer Delivery explain through their strategies. Alongside these expert insights, we've gathered additional answers that range from technical solutions to direct customer engagement tactics. From ensuring clear incident communication to offering compensation for service disruptions, discover a spectrum of strategies for managing customer expectations effectively.

    • Provide Clear Incident Communication
    • Proactive Email and Social Updates
    • Develop a Real-Time Outage Dashboard
    • Send Instant SMS Alerts
    • Create an Outage-Specific FAQ Section
    • Establish a 24/7 Support Hotline
    • Offer Compensation for Service Disruptions

    Provide Clear Incident Communication

    Our systems and software are used for mission-critical operations worldwide. The most effective way to exceed our customers' expectations is to provide clear communication before any incident about what they can expect from our team should something happen. These guidelines are tailored to the severity of each incident and are shared with our customers. The incident management process we share provides guidelines for communication, including what our customers can expect, how often they can expect it, and how they can expect to receive messages (email, status web pages, etc.). Internally, we emphasize comprehensive training and adherence to established processes to ensure that all customers receive clear, consistent, and timely information.

    Paul RossGroup Product Manager, Esri

    Proactive Email and Social Updates

    One notable instance where we successfully managed customer expectations during a service outage involved an unforeseen technical glitch that temporarily disrupted our contract review services. Understanding the potential impact on our users, we promptly sent out a personalized email to all affected customers, acknowledging the issue, explaining its root cause, and outlining the steps our technical team was taking to resolve it.

    Simultaneously, we utilized our social media channels to broadcast real-time updates and engaged with customers directly through our customer support channels. To further enhance transparency, we created a dedicated status page with a live feed of updates and an estimated time for resolution.

    This proactive communication approach not only kept our customers informed but also demonstrated our commitment to resolving the issue swiftly.

    As a result, we received positive feedback from customers appreciating our transparency and the prompt resolution of the problem, ultimately strengthening our customer relationships.

    Aseem Jha
    Aseem JhaFounder & Head of Customer Delivery, Legal Consulting Pro

    Develop a Real-Time Outage Dashboard

    To effectively manage customer expectations during service outages, a company can develop a real-time service outage dashboard. This dashboard allows customers to view the current status of any service disruption in an easy-to-understand format. It shows which areas are affected and provides estimated times for resolution.

    Updates are provided as they happen, ensuring customers stay informed throughout the outage. The availability of this information helps to reduce the volume of inbound inquiries, as customers can see the efforts being made to restore service. Check our website for the real-time service status and stay informed.

    Send Instant SMS Alerts

    Using automated SMS to send instant alerts to customers during a service outage can greatly help in managing their expectations. This system ensures that customers receive timely updates directly to their mobile phones, which is crucial for immediate communication. The messages can include a brief description of the issue, the expected time for service restoration, and any steps the customer may need to take.

    Credits: Real-time message receipt and Systematic updates. Encourage your customers to subscribe to these SMS updates for the most current service information.

    Create an Outage-Specific FAQ Section

    A comprehensive FAQ section dedicated to addressing expected issues during service outages can be a proactive approach to managing customer expectations. The FAQ should cover a range of potential questions and concerns, providing detailed answers on why outages happen, how long they typically last, and what customers can do in the meantime.

    This resource serves to inform and reassure customers, reducing confusion and the need for them to reach out to customer support for common queries. Advise your customers to consult the FAQ section for helpful information regarding service disruptions.

    Establish a 24/7 Support Hotline

    Establishing a 24/7 customer support hotline is a reliable method for managing customer expectations during service outages. This hotline provides a direct line of communication for customers seeking support or information. Trained professionals are available around the clock to answer questions, provide updates, and offer assistance during outages.

    This approach can significantly improve customer satisfaction by demonstrating the company's commitment to service and support. Remind customers that they have access to 24/7 support by calling our dedicated hotline whenever they need assistance.

    Offer Compensation for Service Disruptions

    When significant service disruptions occur, promising compensation can alleviate customer concerns and manage expectations. This gesture acknowledges the inconvenience caused by service outages and demonstrates the company's commitment to fair treatment. Compensation can come in various forms, such as service credits, discounts on future bills, or other appropriate benefits.

    It serves as a tangible expression of the company's dedication to customer satisfaction and can help retain customer loyalty in the long term. If affected by a service outage, remember to inquire about eligible compensation.