Businessman Preparing Checklist

Checklist – 15 Things to Help Plan for a Service Outage: Part 1

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How to guarantee that you can maintain a high level of client service when an unexpected service outage disables your operations.

The following is part one of a two part article. Find part two here.

When providing excellent client service is your top priority, unexpected operations outages can be disastrous. To ensure your client service centre is prepared to handle nearly any surprise service shutdown, here are a few preparatory steps you can take.

1. Apologize

Step one is always to apologize. Surprisingly, this crucial first step is where many companies go wrong when managing a service outage. Be prepared with a ready-to-go apology that can be rapidly implemented as soon as your operations go out.

2. Be Prepared

Handling an unexpected service outage will go far more smoothly if your organization is already prepared to handle such an event. Take the time now to prepare for potential service failures so that when they happen, all members of your team know exactly where to start.

3. Draft a Plan

Being prepared means having a well-designed service outage contingency plan to help you get back up and running. Invest time now to minimize downtime in the event of an unexpected outage.

4. Stick to the Plan

The point of creating a contingency scheme is to stick to it. Don’t let panic make you question your blueprint – that’s why you created it in the first place. Stop. Breathe. Initiate the Plan.

5. Think Like the Customer

When drafting your emergency contingency plans, make clear communication, minimizing inconvenience, and shortening downtime your top priorities; these points are highly valued by your customers.

6. Communicate Clearly

Speaking of communication, there is perhaps no other aspect of managing an outage that is more crucial than clear, concise, and considerate communication. Be sure your service outage materials express your sincere desire to fix the problem as quickly and completely as possible.

7. Don’t Be in Denial

Pretending there isn’t a problem is the quickest way to guarantee complete customer alienation before you can restore service. Don’t make denial the quality your customers remember you for during the unfortunate instance of a service outage.

8. Establish an Update Centre

Just like government agencies that create emergency response centers in the wake of natural disasters, your company should establish an update centre from which all the latest information about your crisis response plans can be released. Make it a one-stop shop; information should be constantly updated and easily accessible from a customized disaster status page on your website and social media.

When providing phone support, recording an upfront phone greeting updating customers on your outage status also works to your benefit. Most customers when informed up front that there is an issue that you’re working to rectify, will be very understanding. This can also help deflect high volumes of calls from being “live” answered in your centre, eliminating the need for your staff to repeat the same information continuously.

These eight steps will help you get started in preparing your contact centre for an eventual outage. For more information and strategies on how deal with service outages, be sure to download our free whitepaper below. Click here for part two, to find out what the next steps are.

Download the FREE Whitepaper: 10 Proven Strategies to Decrease the Costs of Your Customer Care Without Sacrificing Service Levels