How to improve the customer service experience through status pages
With the 2021 holiday season right around the corner and the COVID-19 pandemic still prevalent, businesses are being conducted online now more than ever. The holiday rush also comes with incidents like websites going down, slow load times, and even possible hacking attempts.
While planning to tackle the sudden increase in website traffic during the festive season, businesses must have an incident response plan in place to handle unexpected outages and the consequent surge in customer inquiries. With a properly thought-out response plan, the help desk team can also avoid customer service disasters.
How can businesses prevent customer backlash during an incident?
When a service is down and panic sets in, teams usually have to handle multiple responsibilities simultaneously. It helps to have a communication plan laid out in advance so teams can concentrate on fixing the issue and spend less time figuring out how to communicate what's going on to customers.
But through what mediums should you communicate outages to users? The help desk will be flooded with tickets and calls, and a Twitter post can bring about public outrage. Even emails can go unnoticed and prove to be counterproductive. Using an incident communication tool is the answer to all these questions.
Enter status pages
A status page is a real-time communication tool that lets you convey downtime and service interruptions to your customers and employees. With status pages, you can add information on incidents and acknowledge the service interruption as a first measure. You can post regular updates on the progress of an issue fix. Alternatively, even if there isn't an active incident, status pages can be used to communicate upcoming planned maintenance. Learn more about what status pages can do.
Specific to handling and improving customer service, status pages go a long way in creating a positive user experience for customers even during a disaster. Here's how:
1. Status pages reduce the burden on help desk teams
Happy customer service reps translate to happy customers. When there's an issue with a business's website, users flood the support desk with repeated emails and calls. Without timely updates from the product teams, support personnel will feel flustered and unable to answer customer inquiries, leaving customers frustrated over generic responses that don't answer their questions. Status pages have a provision for multiple teams to post updates, giving help desk personnel real-time information that can, in turn, be conveyed to customers.
2. Status pages are the ultimate source of truth
Internal teams can collaborate through status pages and post updates as and when they uncover issues and deploy fixes. By recording progress at every step, from identifying the issue and rolling out the fix in stages to observing the impact, customers can get the whole picture at a single glance. This way, frustrated users need not switch between multiple social media channels or call the help desk repeatedly to get the latest updates. Accessing the business' public status page is all it takes to get answers to any questions customers might have.
3. Status pages facilitate advanced notifications to customers
Customer service satisfaction isn't just measured by how a business treats its customers during an incident. It is evaluated throughout the product usage life cycle. In addition to being reactive to incidents, notifying users in advance when there's planned maintenance or known service unavailability goes a long way.
While also providing the latest information in their public pages, status page tools allow customers to be notified in advance via a channel of their choice, including SMS and email, when there's planned maintenance activity. Giving users ample time to plan ahead is a good mark of a brand's incident management plan and increases trust in the business.
A paper published by PwC, "Experience is everything: Here's how to get it right," states that 73% of people point to the customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions. This is why it's essential to have an incident communication tool like status pages in place that help you better communicate outages and provide a positive customer experience.
Before investing in a status page tool, read this article to evaluate the parameters that make an excellent status page. We recommend StatusIQ, the status page tool from Site24x7 for incident communication. You can sign up for a free, 30-day trial here.