Using an Application Status Page to Send the Right Message at the Right Time
An application status page translates the technical information you’re getting from your application performance management tool into more customer-appropriate terminology about application availability.
This information can be shared in real-time, edited or merely delayed before sharing, or omitted/restricted entirely if it isn’t suitable for customer consumption.
The extent to which this information needs to be delayed and/or manually filtered will depend on the nature of your business and the nature of the information you receive from your application performance management tool.
Automated, Real-Time Updates to Customers with an Application Status Page
An application status page can provide a seamless, real-time bridge between your application performance management system and your end users. In these situations, simply setting up the automated alerts will ensure that customers are notified immediately when there’s a service interruption and when the issue is resolved. This is the least labor-intensive and most expedient approach, but is not suitable for all products.
Sending Edited Updates with an Application Status Page
Your end users do not need to know about every service interruption – some are geographically irrelevant, pertain to different aspects of your product(s), or are going to be fixed quickly enough that resolution comes before communication.
It’s also possible that it will take some time to determine how long or extensive the interruption will last. In this case it’s important to include information on your application status page to appropriately set customer expectations.
In these situations, it may be beneficial to set-up some automated alerts but leave other issues to manual intervention/involvement. You can check out similar features that Statuscast provides.
Using an Application Status Page to Restrict Updates Entirely
What’s the difference between having an application status page that doesn’t include updates and not having an application status page at all? An application status page can present historical information, which inspires confidence through proving past performance – even if it isn’t “to the minute.” That said, there’s ethical issues with presenting such information if it is inaccurate, so be careful about how long you let your application status page go without an update.
If you need to segment information by audience, your application status page can be set up to limit access by password, custom invite and/or IP address.
Additionally, a well-designed status page can be broken down by sub-components, geographical locations, varying servers, etc. This type of status page will allow you to be honest with your end-user base while limiting your downtime statistics to individual areas. For example, if you have redundant installations and you temporarily take a server down for maintenance you can provide this information without it affecting your overall service levels.
Beyond the Application Status Page Itself
The goal of an application status page is to provide information that your end users can understand and appreciate. Forcing your customers to visit your application status page may make things inconvenient for them.
To make things as convenient as possible and prevent end-users from becoming agitated, you can use your application status page to send out email, SMS (text message), and other alerts (edited or automated). Being transparent and making your updates convenient and accessible will help you to smoothly reset customer expectations.