Outage communication plan template

How to Communicate with Customers During a System Outage

Outages in IT and DevOps are inevitable. Even the most well-defined processes aligned with the best infrastructure resources are bound to face outages. Some outages are planned for scheduled maintenance and are easier to handle and communicate. Others may occur abruptly and put your business and operations at risk — costing you vast amounts of time and money. The outage recovery starts with contacting multiple people, assigning multiple tasks and allocating available resources to the recovery teams. Any amount of delay puts you at risk of losing customers to the competition. Processes that depend on outage-affected resources may also become obsolete. So, with a pre-defined and automated communication plan, you can save substantially on recovery time and cost. We put this guide together to help you improve processes, maintain brand reputation and ensure positive customer experiences with a foolproof IT outage communication plan. Communicating with the internal DevOps, IT teams and stakeholders about an outage forms the base of your communication plan. Here are some best practices to follow for facilitating the outage information flow to your internal teams:. You can use alerting tools to pre-configure notifications and send them to the team that can identify, analyze and act on an outage in order of priority. You can also use these tools to provide multi-channel targeting via email, SMS or telephone, thereby reducing your inbound call volume and associated costs during an outage. Tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams are widely used by enterprises for instant notifications, quick hyperlinks to data, and other updates during an outage. Mobile access to alert data and communication tools will enable rapid incident response. An incident management mobile app can enable DevOps and IT teams to quickly act and collaborate around alert data and identify the cause of an outage. You can leverage chat and alert routing functionality in the mobile app to loop-in other people and teams to quickly jump on an issue. Automated escalations are a wise way to manage on-call rotations and incoming alerts. Automated escalations let you notify the next person in an on-call rotation in case someone is unavailable, ensuring consistent on-call coverage. This avoids unnecessary service interruptions and haphazard decision-making when immediate action is required during an unplanned outage. Give your stakeholders accurate information about the outage. What type of outage is it? How long has the outage persisted? You can quickly inform your colleagues that your team is busy working the outage and that other tasks may be de-prioritized or reassigned.

IT Outage Notifications Set High Standards At Towers Watson

Many of the leading technology companies have begun to transparently discuss outages with their customers, and there are a number of good business reasons for doing so. Regardless of your approach, here are 6 things you can do to ensure successful customer communication during outages. The initial notification can take many forms: a maintenance page on your website, social media post or update to your Status Page, or perhaps just an internal outage communication to your customer support team. Not every incident requires widespread disclosure, but if your outage is affecting your clients, you should get your initial communication out as quickly as possibly. Proactive communication can stave off a mob of irate users and helps you get ahead of the problem. Make sure you have a reliable system that lets you know as soon as something breaks. We obviously have strong opinions in this area, but getting ahead of the problem is a crucial part of customer communication. However, as more information becomes available, be sure to let customers know the root. A sanitized summary is fine here. You can save detailed technical messaging for your internal team. Image source. Make sure you set the right tone. Be concise, authoritative, and serious. Your customers will not appreciate you being jokey or cute when their business is affected. Blaming external forces for your outage sends the message that you are not in control. However, proactively letting customers know about the incident can go a long way to build customer trust. Customers value honesty, and, in fact, talking about your outages might generate sales as it will grow your image as a forthright business partner. Keeping them up to date signals that you are in control and that you are handling the issue efficiently. However, bad word of mouth will do the same thing, and can ultimately be more damaging to your business. If transparency is the route you choose, there are a number of ways you can get the word out. For your top customers, it may be worthwhile to be proactive, and reach out to them personally. Especially in the event of an outage, quick responses are important to reassure customers. Status pages, like StatusPage. They give your customers and internal support teams a single, authoritative place to figure out what is going on. PagerDuty and StatusPage. Depending on severity, you may want to go further. Social media offers a widespread platform for communicating with your customers. Seventy-one percent of tweets are ignoredand it only takes two and a half hours for a Facebook post to get seventy-five percent of its total impressions. But customers that are looking for information will see your updates and know that you are on it. Choose your social media wisely. Twitter is a good platform for B2B businesses, but Facebook might be more relevant for a consumer-facing business. You could also go to where your customers are. Post on HackerNewsor another forum where you know your users are hanging out. It gives you a chance to be empathetic and sincere, as well as instantly provide a channel like an email address for further resolution. This can help you build a reputation for developer outreach and support. Long silences will only frustrate your customers, even if they occur in the middle of the night. They might otherwise assume that everyone has given up and gone to sleep. If you have new information, send it out right away. Update: There has been some slowness and connectivity issues for the past few hours.

Template for IT Outage Planning and Notification

Our Guarantee. Money back if not fully satisfied. Top Sellers. General Checklists. Database Checklists. Your Company is in Phase. This eShop is operated by Services Concept Whitepapers. This template with in-depth explanations of tasks required to plan outages on medium to large IT Systems will avoid that important steps are foregotten. The initial, one-off step when using this generic template is to customize the template for your organization, e. Sometimes the templates and checklists might be reformatted according company standards. Afterwards this customized template is available for planning individual outages. But in this case you already know about the complexity of planning and coordinating outages. Secondary use of this document: When a new, very important IT system is just in the planning phase, then use this generic document and customize it for your new system. This exercise will validate related information which needs to be part of the operations manual or help to complete this important system specific information in the operations manual. The new software release is fully tested, new hardware parts are delivered. Initiating the outage planning, typically by using a form which contains first information about system which should be shut down. Some systems might be strongly affected as they access the application for which the outage is planned during normal processing. Other systems might be less affected, but they might receive their nightly data update later, or one of their jobs is in a job-chain which will be started delayed due to the outage. This section summarizes all details identified in the evaluation step and helps to better understand the end-to-end impact of shutting down one single application. Missing such dates might postpone the outage for another week. It is obvious that the process of requesting and planning the outage needs to be initiated sufficient time in advance. Answer: A "High Available HA " Solution strives to eliminate unplanned outages caused by hardware failures, but usually does not support upgrades without downtime. Next Audience. Our Guarantee Immediate download Money back if not fully satisfied.

Best Practices in Outage Communication

When a customer outage occurs, its impact is felt across the organization. While the technical response is underway, stakeholders from public relations, customer support, legal, and executives must also all be engaged and kept informed. But as teams become more global and distributed, coordinating streamlined internal and external communications and response only gets harder. You need a well-defined plan and processes in place to ensure effective messaging during an outage. This minimizes time wasted when every minute counts, and maximizes transparency and order in the face of stressful, major outages. Today, outage communication is often manual as well as ad hoc. Unfortunately, this creates several challenges. Traditional outage messaging is often done via email distribution lists, conferencing, and chat in multiple, non-consolidated streams. There are dire needs for standardized processes around incident communication, and centralizing information to get everyone across the business on the same page. This is where doing some pre-planning makes a world of difference in reducing chaos in a war room situation. John from Support? There are great tools out there, like PagerDuty, that enable you to predefine groups of stakeholders that must know about various types of issues. When an incident strikes, automatically notifying all the right individuals with their preferred contact methods can be as easy as pushing a button. For the most part, systems of record are not where people do the bulk of communicating during the incident response. Streamlining the post-mortem with templates and easy timeline building is key to learning faster. The best way to get good at responding and communicating an outage is to regularly practice failure testing. The ensuing response is an important opportunity to get more efficient at getting on top of unplanned issues, and at resolving issues fast while remembering to keep the right people engaged. Teams must effectively coordinate incident response across subject matter experts and front-line responders. Appoint an Incident Commander who is the point person for getting all the right people from respective teams on the line, track the incident, and coordinate response. For more information on the role and best practices of being an Incident Commander, check out this webinar. Whether you right channel depends not only on the severity and scope of the incident, but also on your team culture and work location. The main thing that matters here is making it easy to get the right people immediately engaged. ChatOps tools are a fantastic tool for the incident response team. Having a simultaneous discussion in a chat client provides actionable, searchable, time-stamped data of who is doing what, and on what services. Even better, you can automate certain tasks and bring important information like monitoring graphs into a shared view, which helps drive down resolution times.

How to Create an Outage Communication Plan

IT professionals do not spend much time sending communications directly to customers. But what about unplanned service interruptions that happen at 4am and require immediate action? These are the times when proper and effective communication to the customer is crucial. If you do not already have a template in place, you can use the following guidelines to craft one today. Send Immediately — If your customers have not already realized the outage or disruption, they will soon. This will give them the confidence that you are in control and doing everything you can to restore services. Quality over Quantity — Get to the point. Try to be more like a stop sign and less like a singing telegram. Depending on how disrupted your customers are, they may not have the time to read through non-essential details. Therefore, it serves no purpose to give excuses or point fingers. Be honest about what the issue is and then go back to working on a resolution. No Need For Apologies — You may genuinely feel bad for the customers who are affected by the system outage but telling them how sorry you are will do nothing to resolve the issue or make them feel any better. However, no matter how nice you are, they will still be without some service that is necessary or critical to their business. The information and layout you choose for your system outage notification will vary based on your unique business needs, customer type, industry, and other factors. However, there is a general outline that most notifications follow. Example: One of our data centers has been experiencing problems since approximately a. Users on shared server plans may be unable to access their server s during this time. Example: Our engineers are working resolve the issue. Once the issue has been resolved, we will email all users. Skip to content. Professional Services Quote Request. Quote Public Training. On-Site Remote. NEW Quote General. Quote General Quote General.

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