Amazon’s AWS cloud outage last week is a good example of a rare lightning strike. Every cloud-based solution provider puts safeguards in place to meet that 99.99% uptime guarantee. But in Amazon’s case, it wasn’t a virus or malware that caused the disruption – it was just a simple human error according to this Fortune Magazine article.
Unfortunately, the crash caused a chain reaction – web sites and mobile applications either crashed or performed very slowly. And we all know that when customers have a bad experience, the result is higher levels of disengagement and ultimately, lost revenue.
When a company experiences an outage, they lose all of their consumers’ interactions during that time period, and those missing data points can really affect the quality of their data analysis. A good way to mitigate this risk is to practice iterative optimization, or in other words, collect data as consistently as possible all the time. This approach ensures that you always have enough data points to work with, and a brief outage or momentary hiccup won’t distort your analysis in a significant way.
Bad customer experience certainly has a negative impact on your brand and company reputation. A best practice to mitigate this risk is to test and know your response alternatives ahead of time. There is no such thing as over-communicating or communicating too soon in a bad situation. How you respond to an emergency situation is important, and should be in alignment with your customers’ communication preferences. Do they prefer email, a phone call, a text or all three?
In many instances an apology is not enough to compensate for a bad experience. It is worthwhile testing different “apology” promotions to know what resonates as well. Depending on the lifetime value of the customer, you might consider having different options available. A free month of service, a special discount or unique reward for patience and loyalty can go a long way toward restoring a customer’s faith in your brand. However, this is also an opportunity to optimize, by testing different options to see what works best, and for whom. It all boils down do how well do you know your customer such that you can provide an offer that takes the “sting” out of the situation and communicates with them in the way they want.
Being prepared for a disaster may not help you avoid it altogether, but it will certainly help you offset risks and losses over the long-term.