Recovering from Website Downtime: How to Build Back Trust & Prevent Future Issues

When your website goes down, it’s not just your website’s profits that are put at risk. The reputation of your site also takes a hit when downtime strikes. Bouts of website downtime often create trust issues amongst online consumers and can make customer retention (a priority for online businesses) harder to maintain. Fortunately, by taking the right steps to build back trust and prevent future issues, you can undo some of the harm created by the downtime episodes all online businesses dread.

Transparency is Key

It is a fact that the companies who take a “hush hush” approach to website downtime do not fare as well as businesses that are completely transparent. Online consumers want to do business with businesses that have nothing to hide, and if you aren’t completely transparent about what caused your website’s downtime those consumers are apt to assume that you are indeed trying to hide something.

While you may assume that customers don’t really need to know what’s going on with the back-end of your business or that they really don’t need to know how your website operates, when downtime creates frustration for those consumers it is only natural for those individuals to want to know what caused the problem. While you may not be obligated to share such information, doing so portrays goodwill to online consumers and will make it much easier to mend fences and undo some of the damage that the downtime did to your website’s reputation.

Transparency during and after episodes of downtime is the key to mitigating damage. Utilize tools such as social media sites and apps to communicate with consumers regarding what is causing the downtime, what your company is doing to get your site back online, and when consumers can expect your site to be back up and running. Then, after the downtime has been resolved, publish a statement on your site explaining what occurred and why and what you plan on doing to avoid such issues in the future.

Offer Incentive to Come Back

Let’s face it, if your site experienced an extended period of downtime you not only lost profits, but you likely angered a few customers who had wanted to do business with you when your site was down. What better way to recover some of those lost profits than by offering a limited-time coupon code as an apology to customers who may have been affected? Not only will the coupon code be appreciated by customers, thereby fostering forgiveness, but it will also likely drive additional sales and help you recover some of the profits that were lost during the downtime episode.

Think Ahead

Once your online business has encountered website downtime, you need to plan accordingly to avoid such issues from occurring in the future. While you can’t completely avoid downtime entirely, you can take steps to minimize the downtime your website experiences. For example, if you notice your site going down at the end of each month because you’ve exceeded the resources of your hosting plan, upgrade that plan immediately to prevent the issue from occurring again in the future. Once your plan is upgraded, keep an eye on increasing traffic so you can accommodate any future growth of your site without running into downtime issues again.

If your site has been unfortunate enough to gain a reputation for frequent bouts of downtime, when you begin to minimize those downtime episodes and your website outages become farther and fewer between, consumers will stand up and take notice. You can even publish your uptime statistics on your site to show how drastically your business has improved in the uptime arena. When consumers see you are taking the performance and uptime of your website seriously and that you want to make their experience on your site as pleasant as possible, they will repay you with customer loyalty that will help your business grow, profit, and flourish going forward.