Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend at the end of last month saw big-name brands such as Neiman Marcus and Target suffer total site outages. Even some online retailers that didn’t crash experienced performance issues that cost them sales from those customers who would not wait for the slow checkout process to resolve (for instance Walmart).
Non-retailers have a lesson to learn here too. The same disruptions to a seamless user experience impact software and hardware adoption as they do to online shopping.
Convenience is a key factor to converting new customers and developing the relationship necessary to retain their continued business, as is transparency and responsiveness about uptime and performance issues.
Newegg (whose site also went down that weekend) was responsive to customer inquiries on Twitter- for which their customers were grateful. Neiman Marcus was similarly responsive to tweets from concerned customers, but the questions just kept coming in. One customer nailed the approach the designer apparel store should have taken.
Reducing Frustration with a Status Page
End users (consumers in this case) who care to receive site or application uptime status updates should have been able to subscribe to those updates via their preferred communication channel (e.g. twitter, SMS/text, email, Slack, etc.). These notification capabilities are standard to any status page tool (a status page is no longer just a “is the site/app down?” webpage).
This proactive communication frees your users to pay attention to other things while they wait for the issue to resolve, rather than frustratedly reloading over and over, hoping your site/application comes back up- and getting increasingly irritated as it continues to fail to do so.
This also frees your own staff to fix the downtime or slowness issue, rather than focusing on communicating about it back and forth which each frustrated end user.
Not Just Application Uptime Status, but Slowness
Earlier this year, Aberdeen Group prominently re-iterated the sentiment “slow is the new downtime.” Even if your site or app isn’t down, if it’s experiencing slowness, you need to be accountable and transparent about that via your status page.
For a sense of what constituted slow for online retailers on Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, check out this thorough series of reports from Dynatrace.
While ideally you won’t experience disruptions to site or application uptime or even to performance more generally, when it does occur you need to be prepared to handle it professionally and efficiently. See how a status page can help you do that here.
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