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Service Outage Alert

Many service providers experience both planned and unplanned service outages. Some companies can plan and schedule needed down times to minimize services disruptions. Still, other disruptions happen unexpectedly.

Companies—such as utilities or communications providers—who deliver vital services to other businesses and consumers need robust customer contact solutions. With the right technologies, service providers can give customers advance notice of known service-impacting issues. Plus, these firms can also implement rapid customer outreach when unexpected down times occur.

How Service Disruptions Can Affect Your Customers

Service outages can have wide-reaching effects on other companies—and on their customers. For example, a power disruption can shut down other companies service providers’ information networks—and inhibit their ability to meet their customer demands. Recent research revealed that 80% of companies lose revenue when a network goes down. On average, those companies lost $140,000 per network incident, with financial firms losing an average of $540,000.

Other data from global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) stated that more than one-third of companies take more than one day to recover from a significant outage. One in ten companies require more than a week to recover from an outage scenario.

The takeaways:

  • A single disruption of vital services—such as electricity or communications connectivity—can create a negative ripple effect which damages other businesses and affects their customers.
  • Advanced notification of service-affecting issues is an imperative for any provider serving a business community.

Handling Outages: The Old Way vs. The Better Way

In the past, most companies took an “after-the-fact” approach to managing unexpected service issues. The typical response was adding more front-line support representatives to respond to a flood of inbound calls from customers.

Obviously, this approach caused a spike in personnel costs, which added to the expense of managing an unplanned outage. Moreover, this practice created the potential of customers perceiving the company as reactive and inattentive to their concerns.

However, your customers have huge service demands. They expect to be able to get what they want when they want it. For that reason, you have to keep your customers informed of any service-affecting outage—including something as simple as a brief website downtime.

Today’s service providers have an unprecedented opportunity to handle difficult outage scenarios much more effectively.  Here are a few steps you can take to improve customer communications about service-affecting issues:

  • Use Customers’ Communications Preferences to Alert them to Known Issues: The ideal way to reach out to customers is to use the communications channel they prefer. Ask your customers how they want to be contacted—whether by email, SMS, and/or IVR. Use those channels to let them know of any issues which could affect services in advance. This approach demonstrates to customers that you listen to their preferences and value their time.
  • Communicate Promptly When the Unexpected Happens: With a robust and scalable contact management approach, you can deliver messages to all or part of your customer base very quickly. You can employ channel preferences and past customer contact history to maximize reach rates and keep your customers informed. Moreover, you can use advanced voice mail detection solutions to ensure delivery of complete messages so that your customers receive the vital information they need.
  • Reroute Service Outage Questions Automatically: The right approach can help you minimize inbound call volumes and cut the burden on your front-line teams. You can automatically route any calls related to a service outage to IVR so that your customers get the information they need without having to speak to a service representative.

Without question, service-centric businesses need to plan for the unexpected. A solid communications approach coupled with knowledge of customer preferences and advanced contact technologies is key to managing service outages effectively.

Anticipating The Customer of the Future—Today

If you think customers have expectations today—just wait a few years. The Customers 2020 study by Walker revealed that customer experience is fast overtaking product and service quality as the #1 brand differentiator. In addition, the customer of the future will expect brands to anticipate their needs and deliver personalized information and experiences.

All these factors underscore why proactive service notifications are essential. The brands who heighten their focus on customer experiences will be tomorrow’s winners—and the rest risk falling by the wayside.

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Engage with Us

If you have questions or thoughts about how businesses can accelerate their customer contact and service notification strategies, please share them with us. You can address these questions or offer your own insights:

  • How does your brand handle service-affecting issues?
  • Do you have a strategy for both known and unknown service-affecting issues?
  • Can you segment your customer contacts to send targeted messages to specific audiences to mitigate outage consequences?

We look forward to hearing from you.