How to Make Customers Happy after an Episode of Website Downtime

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – website downtime isn’t a matter of “if”, it’s merely a matter of “when”. Throughout the pages of this blog we’ve given our customers and the public quite a bit of advice regarding how to prevent downtime, how to minimize downtime damage and how to prepare for the inevitable. We’ve even discussed ways you can ensure that you don’t lose customers, such as communicating with them through social media outlets. Today we’re going to discuss how to keep your customers happy after a website outage occurs. Communicating during an outage is indeed important, but what you do after the outage occurs can be just as crucial to maintaining customer satisfaction.

Sometimes an Apology Is All That Is Needed

If your site only goes down for a few minutes and doesn’t have too much of an impact on your customers, then sometimes an apology is all that is needed. Simply extending your apologies via Facebook, Twitter and a blurb on your website will usually keep customers happy. The published apology will let them know that you are on top of things and that you understand that the downtime may have caused some frustration. It’s a warm and fuzzy gesture – a gesture of goodwill. There are other times, however, when something more than words alone may be needed.

Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

There are times when an apology in and of itself just isn’t enough to make up for website downtime. If your site was down for hours or went down during an important limited-time sale, then you may want to do a little more than just extend a few kind words and an explanation to your customers. You may have to put your money where your mouth is.

The Fred Flare website was recently a great example of how this can be handled. The site used Twitter to apologize for the downtime and to offer customers a 20-percent off coupon code good for one day only. They were timely in their message regarding the discount offer and broadcasted it using Social Media to ensure that customers had time to take advantage of it. A tweet stating, “We're sorry our site went down! Enter code "SORRY" at checkout for 20% off! Today only!” was sent out alerting customers of the deal being offered. This is a great example of how to turn website downtime into a positive experience for customers. The discount may have put a dent in the profit margin of each sale, but chances are that the site still made more money than it would have on the day of the offer if the offer had not been put into place.

Turn Website Downtime into Sales and a Great PR Opportunity

Website downtime is never a good thing, but when it happens due to circumstances beyond your control you can turn it into a positive experience for customers and a great PR opportunity. No one is saying that you have to offer 20 percent off of all sales, but any discount is usually appreciated by customers and extending one will show that you do care about any frustration your website downtime may have caused them.