When you’re trying to keep your finger to the pulse of your website or application and a performance issue arises, notifying your IT team is only part of a professional response. What about notifying your end-users?
When an application goes down, or experiences noticeable performance issues, users will reach out. External customers will contact Support, internal customers will contact your IT team directly, and particularly irritated and important customers may reach out to your Executive team (who will then come roaring to IT directly).
This is an undesirable situation for a number of reasons, and one which can be largely mitigated by choosing to be transparent in your communications with your end-users.
Using the integration built with StatusCast, Pingdom can transmit uptime and other performance data to a hosted status page and extended communication channels (e.g. SMS, Twitter, Email, HipChat, etc.), and translate that data into terms your customers can understand.
In this manner, StatusCast helps you get ahead of the wave of confusion and frustration from customers as a result of application downtime they were not expecting.
Application Outages vs. Scheduled Maintenance
Not all application outages are unplanned – but not all customers understand that. Most times, customers probably won’t pay attention to an email about upcoming maintenance. It isn’t until the moment that they try to access your application or website and cannot that they care about the maintenance schedule. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t alert them ahead of time, only that you should make it as convenient as possible for customers to learn/remember about that maintenance.
Much of customer confusion and frustration can be avoided by simply doing a better job at setting expectations.
A hosted status page can serve as the go-to means for customers to find out when your application will be unavailable due to scheduled maintenance or due to periodic testing for things like system stress and disaster recovery.
Tailoring Notifications from Your Hosted Status Page
Notifications from Pingdom to your hosted status page can be set to send immediately, scheduled after a certain time or to only send upon manual engagement. The recipients of these updates can be filtered by differences like system components (e.g. geography, server, etc.) or even the recipient’s IP address. All of this means you have the flexibility you need to only send relevant messages to relevant end users, at the right time.
Freeing IT/DevOps from End-User Communication
StatusCast is designed to be simple enough that non-technical staff can use it. Once your DevOps or IT team clarifies what audiences are impacted by what triggers in Pingdom.
Your Marketing team can take care of actually crafting a message that your average end user can understand, that appropriately sets expectations, and that includes other relevant information you’d want those customers to be aware of.
This empowers Marketing to do what they do best while keeping the burden of end-user communications off IT/DevOps when their ability to focus on what they do best matters most.
To restate it in other terms: SaaS providers earn their customers’ trust by treating application downtime as a Marketing issue as much as a DevOps issue. Integrating APM reporting and customer communication systems helps accomplish this without distracting DevOps from resolving the issue quickly and completely.
Author: Chris Frascella is a Content Director at Statuscast.