When Things Go Wrong Be Honest With Your Customers
Yesterday gmail went out for about an hour and a half. Not terribly bad for any Internet application, but I don’t recommend gmail for my clients. Not for that reason, but if you are in business, with the low price of a domain name and small hosting hosting account there is no reason to have an email account with someone else’s name on it. So MyName@MyBusiness.com is always better than AnyName@gmail.com (or Yahoo.com, Verizon.com, Comcast.com, etc.)
Despite what I say many people will still use gmail and the others for business email. What I learned from this is that while their web interface went down folks that had POP or IMAP access to gmail still were able to use it. So if you don’t know what IMAP or POP email access is, you should learn and if you don’t have it you should add it.
The reason that I’m writing this post today is not because of what happened, we all know shit happens, but because of the way Google handled the situation. As you probably know the social world was buzzing with all kind of Tweets, facebook, LinkedIn posts and news stories about the outage. People were already asking “what’s the best service to switch to?” I’ll admit it’s more than a bit extreme, but still it’s a situation that’s needs dealing with quickly and decisively. Google did just that.
- First they admitted there was a problem and apologized right away. You might say that’s a given, but it amazes me how many companies miss or ignore that step.
- Second they explained exactly what went wrong. This was an issue that was fairly technical and they explained it in a simple and clear way that almost anyone could understand.
- Third they let their customers know what they would be doing to ensure that this won’t happen again.
All in all it’s the right way to diffuse a bad situation before it gets ugly.