What Really Happens in IT During an Outage?

A typical workday for your IT team may go from calm to all hands on deck. When a problem occurs on your servers, you may not know the cause right away, but before you can start figuring it out, customers are blowing up your phone and monitoring systems.

Everything you do from this point has a timestamp attached to it. If you wait five minutes to put up a status page, that could equal 100 people who have submitted tickets. The longer you wait, the more people you will have to get back to. Those 100 people who submitted tickets can blossom into 200 or 300. This is on top of the new people contacting you. Without a singular place to automatically send messages to your customers, you may continue falling behind.

What does this look like up close — and how can you prevent it? Here’s an hour-by-hour look at how an outage can throw your workday into chaos.

9:30 a.m. With your first cup of coffee in hand, you check your emails and phone messages as usual. All is well. Coffee time can continue.

9:45 a.m. Your emails start piling up and phone calls are coming in fast and furious. It takes you 15 minutes to find out what’s going on. You realize you need to send a message to your customers alerting them to the outage.

10:00 a.m. By the time you know what’s causing the outage, 200 people have put in support tickets, phone calls or emails. You’re working as hard as you can to do the backend work of telling those 200 people to look at the message you posted.

10:15 a.m. You record and post a voice message saying there’s problem and you’ll get back to them, but at this point your sporadic messages aren’t satisfying your customers.

10:30 a.m. You write a post for the website and social media, then have another set of eyes check for grammar, spelling and that it’s a clear, calm message to likely frantic customers.

10:45 a.m. Your phone desk is no longer able to pick up calls and they’re being yelled at, so they’re panicking too.

11:15 a.m. People who aren’t impacted by the situation and are putting in a ticket for a routine password reset are not getting a response. Now your good customers are calling about regular issues and not getting heard, leading to long call times and feelings of neglect. People who know there’s an issue may be more forgiving, but they’re still upset.

11:45 a.m. You’re replying to conversations and one-on-one calls/tickets, but customers only want to know when the problem is going to be fixed. Plus, your employees aren’t sure what to say to customers on their end, and you need to craft a response to them.

12:00 p.m. It’s lunch time, but you’re not leaving your desk anytime soon.  

If you’re thinking, “There’s got to be a better way,” there actually is. Having one status page will eliminate many of the headaches outlined in this hour-by-hour look.

You’ll be able to:

Send custom messages to customers during an outage. A status page allows one of your techs to send custom messages when customers need it most. Since the updates load immediately on the status page, there’s no wait time. That means less messages/emails for you to answer. Even customers who don’t have an issue will know there’s an issue being worked on, managing their expectations. This message also goes out to all of your employees, alleviating their own inboxes and phone systems. The emergency communication systems calm down, dropping ticket and phone volume.

Automatically update everything. Set your page to send out an update message every 30 minutes. Without a status page, you can’t rely on that happening because you’re trying to solve the problem while customers are asking when the issue will be resolved.

Give yourself peace of mind. Working while there’s potential for an emergency to derail your day can be stressful. Knowing that you have the proper emergency tools in place will make you feel calmer and better able to handle your workdays — and maybe get to lunch after all.

If you’re interested in learning more about how a status page can decrease your call volume and increase customer satisfaction, schedule a call with us here.