If someone were to ask you what tools you use to fight website downtime, your immediate answer would likely be, A website monitoring service. While that answer in and of itself is not a bad one, if a website monitoring service is the only tool in your arsenal against the havoc that website downtime can create for your online business, you are not taking a comprehensive approach to protecting your business from downtimes effects, nor are you protecting your sites reputation to the best of your abilities. While a website monitoring service is definitely a must-have tool when it comes to fighting website downtimes consequences, it is not the only tool you need to employ. If you have yet to explore how social media can be used to your advantage in the fight against the damage caused by dreaded website downtime, here are some things to consider.
Communication Is Key
If your customers cant do something that they want to do while visiting your site, such as make a purchase or browse your sites offerings, they are going to want to know why the site isnt available when they want access to it. Obviously, if your site is experiencing any type of downtime, you cant use the pages of your site to go into detail about what has gone awry or give your visitors estimates as to when they can expect the site to be functional again. This is where social media comes into play.
While your site may be down, social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter are likely up and running. If you have invested time and effort into creating a social media presence and a following on these sites, you can use these platforms to communicate with your customers when downtime issues do arise. Lets look at two example scenarios to see the difference that using social media in conjunction with your website monitoring service can make.
Site 1 has gone down. They have no social media exposure, no accounts, and no followings. They have no way of communicating with their potential customers regarding the downtime they are experiencing or updating customers as to when the site can be expected to be back up and running. When customers visit the site they get an error message saying the site is down due to technical issues, but no further information is given. Customers become frustrated with the continued downtime and as they do, they begin searching other websites to meet their needs and make purchases. Site 1 begins to lose customers to the competition, whose websites are up and running and who have better means of communication.
Site 2 has put social media profiles in place and the company has worked on gaining a large social media following in addition to using a website monitoring service. The company has prepared for the worst and they know that when website downtime occurs, they need to use the social media tools at their disposal to communicate with customers regarding said downtime. When the business is notified of downtime by their website monitoring service, they go to work to determine what has caused the downtime so they can communicate the issue with the public, using their social media accounts. When the company has estimated how long it will take to get the site back up and running, they communicate this with their customers as well. They may even use the social media platforms to advertise an apology offer that allows affected customers to receive a set dollar amount off or a percentage off a future purchase to compensate for the inconvenience. Not only does this foster goodwill among customers, it helps ensure that customers will wait until the downtime issue has passed so that they can take advantage of the apology offer rather than going to a competitor to fulfill their needs.
Which Companys Lead Will You Follow?
You have website monitoring service in place. You are made aware the moment downtime occurs. The question is, what will you do when you are notified by your website monitoring service that there is a downtime issue occurring? If you have invested time and effort into setting up social media accounts and creating a customer following, you can use those social media tools to your advantage, providing transparency to your customers and fostering goodwill and respect amongst them.
If you have yet to put social media to work for your online business, now is the time to create a social media presence so you can have your customer following created and built before an issue with downtime occurs. Then, when your website monitoring service alerts you that downtime has become an issue, you can go to work to use those social media tools accordingly.
Furthermore, if you do not have website monitoring service in place just yet, now is the time to set that up. The last thing you want is to be notified via your social media followers that your site is down, making you the last to know about the issue and causing you to lose face as well as profits.