Dealing with Customer Questions

Just because you have a status page doesn't mean you can ignore direct calls for help; and it's important you deal with them properly.

Expect less traditional approaches

When customers are feeling frustrated and confused they may come seeking help through less traditional methods than your usual help-desk or call centre; perhaps phoning members of staff directly or reaching out to your CEO on Twitter.

Make sure everyone in the business is vigilant and that they know how to deal with this when it happens.

Always respond directly

If someone asks about the incident, be sure to respond to them, don’t just expect them to stumble across your status page or spot a notice published on your social timeline. Take the few moments required to get back to the customer personally.

Don’t palm them off to the status page

With your status page in place there is a temptation to just pass people a link to it. Instead, always recap the situation for them directly, and only offer the status page as a place for them to follow up on with the story should they wish to do so.

Take criticism on the chin

People will be angry, and the partial anonymity of the internet means they’ll speak their mind. Don’t take things too personally, and don’t rise to the argument. Take the knocks like a champ; defuse the situation and you’ll win through in the end.

“People were upset, and they were right to be. When we mess up, we deserve to be the punching bag.”

Jason Fried on

Don’t assume it’s the end of the conversation

Once you pass the customer a link to the status page, always be sure to ask if there’s anything more you can do to help them. Don’t assume the conversation has ended, as this can leave people feeling snubbed.

Bear in mind that service status is not a one-way broadcast, it’s simply an agenda for a two-way conversation.

Take Aways

  • Respond to every request.
  • Recap the situation for the customer.
  • Expect customers to come out punching.
  • Keep the conversation open.

Next Chapter >

Understanding what Went Wrong

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