Breaking the news you are offline

I’d been sent a “friend” invite on Open Coffee today but when I clicked the link I was surprised to find that the host, “Ning”, was evidently offline. Now this wasn’t a time critical task and nor was I inconvenienced by it, but in some cases you may be offering a service that is business critical. In such a situation, is there anything you can do, leaving aside weeping over the harm to your reputation with existing customers and the potential loss of new customers?

It’s been interesting to note that several of the largest sites that you might categorise as consumer entertaining and non-business critical attempt to use humour. This is how Ning responded.


Sadly, it’s a fact that your service may go offline for many reasons, despite all of your well designed measure to build in resilience and fail-over features (you have these don’t you?). How you handle the inconvenience to your customers will be a major business test and could “kill you” if poorly managed. This is just the same in the offline world – remember JetBlue’s experience after leaving passengers on board planes on the runway for 11 hours on Valentines day.

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