A status page is a critical part of your business continuity plan. By providing information to customers about outages and other disruptions, you can minimize the impact on your business. A good status page will also help you proactively answer customer questions before they have a chance to call or tweet.
Why you absolutely need a Server status page
Most importantly, a status page can help prevent unhappy customers becoming ex-customers. It keeps a level of open-communication that is critical to great customer service.
If you’re not sure if you need a status page, ask yourself these questions:
- Do we experience outages or downtime that I would like to communicate to our customers?
- Are our customers frequently asking me about our service status?
- Do I need to proactively answer customer questions about our service reliability?
If you answered yes to any of these, then you need a status page.
You might think… I don’t want someone to know when my site goes down! That will publicize that I’m having troubles. But the opposite has actually proven true. Being forthcoming with this information actually improves customer relations. Your customers might rely on your application to do business themselves, and helping them understand the situation will go a long way with setting expectations with their own clients.
Creating and maintaining a status page doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many services available that can help you get started. In addition, there are many resources online that can help you create an effective page. Gravyware’s Monitoring free tool provides you an excellent one to use.
If you’re not sure where to start, sign up for a free account and you can get set up quickly and easily.
Successful uses of a Server Status page
There are numerous businesses that have successfully used a status page to improve their customer service. Some notable examples include:
In 2011, Twitter was suffering from routine outages that impacted users around the globe. They were able to effectively communicate with their customers through implementing a status page which helped avoid any additional PR disasters.
Netflix has been known for its poor customer service in the past. However, they turned things around when they implemented a comprehensive status page strategy in 2014. The page was updated regularly with information about outages and other disruptions in service.
Dropbox had an outage in 2013 that affected millions of users worldwide. The stress of the outage was equal to the customer relations nightmare. A simple status page was implemented that would give updates to users and proactively communicated with their users while the outage was corrected.
A Server Status page shows transparency
Having a status page is essential for maintaining your company’s reputation. Customers value transparency and will appreciate knowing what is happening with your service. A well-maintained status page can even help prevent bad press in the event of an outage.
A well-maintained status page is also pro-active. It shows your customers that you want them to know about issues so that they have time to prepare for their own customer communications.
A Server Status page can save you money
It will cost you a lot of money to react to customer calls and unplanned events. A status page can help you prevent these types of events from happening in the first place. Having a page that is always up-to-date with your latest information will let your customers know that you’re reliable and proactive.
A Server status page can drive more business
Of course, a status page can also show potential customers your site reliability. It should show uptime and downtime statistics, and information about your service providers.
It gives you some legitimacy
Savvy customers have become use to seeing a link to a status page for the best companies. They realize the risks of using an outside company for a service and may actually prefer to use a business that is forthcoming with server status information.
What not to include on your Server Status page
There are a few things you should avoid including on your status page. Personal information should not be published. You also don’t want to share any confidential company information that is not already available to the public.
Many companies do not want to include a “contact us” option on their status page. The reasoning is that you want users to reference the status page as the communication method instead of reverting to email or another means.
Finally, do not include internal system’s status on an external status page. Outside customers do not need to know that your internal chat program is having issues. This should be broadcast on a separate “internal only” status page (Gravyware has a password-protection option for you to keep a status page private). The exception to this is if an internal system failure is impacting an external system.
How to use your Server status page to improve customer service
Once your status page is set up, it’s important to use it effectively. The first step is ensuring that your contact information is correct and easily found. You should also make sure that all of your social media links are included on the page.
In addition, you’ll want to ensure that outage information is updated as soon as possible. This will help customers avoid any confusion or misinformation.
Finally, be sure to keep an archive of past outages and incidents for future reference. Doing so can help you improve your service going forward.
Setting up a Server Status page for your business
As mentioned previously, there are multiple companies that provide status page options for you. Some status pages are manually updated and some are automated. Gravyware Monitoring’s free option is super simple to setup, and connects with the site monitoring service offered (so it’s automated). We particularly like the automated version as it adds to the transparency impact mentioned above.
Whichever option your decide upon, make sure you choose a good URL for the page itself (typically you choose through the status page admin area), and make it search engine accessible.
You will also want to link to the status page from your main site. Think of it as another page making up your main application. Gravyware’s status page is located here. We include it in the footer throughout all of our sites.
Finally, customize it as much as allowed so that it truly looks like your creation.
A status page is an important part of any company’s communication strategy. It can help you with communication during outages, ultimately save you money, and improve your customer service all at the same time. If you have any questions or comments regarding this blog post please reach out to the Gravyware team.