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  1. #1

    What do you say to your clients when your server is down?

    when you have a server down... what do you say to your clients? i am unable to start apache on a server... and i have several very unhappy people.

    i want to reassure them... i'm too small to have people losing faith now.
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  2. #2
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    Re: What do you say to your clients when your server is down?

    Originally posted by VagrantHost
    what do you say to your clients?
    The truth.

    Then set about fixing it asap, and letting them know any other pertinent information when services are restored.

  3. #3
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    I tell them the truth.

    Let them know what happened, and that you are trying to fix it. They will have more respect for you if you tell them the truth (even if it is as simple as Apache not starting).

    Never make something up, and always respond.
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  4. #4
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    Honesty is the best policy, definately. I've been with 'inexperienced' host owners in the past, and even though there were problems that made me unhappy, I was satisfied with the service simply because of their forthright honesty.
    Adam Reyher
    PylonHosting.com - We deliver quality hosting

  5. #5
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    The problem and the solution. Expected time to remedy.

    No lie for sure.

  6. #6
    Just for the sake of variety

    Tell them that the data center burned down, but not to worry you are loading your most recent backup onto your backup server that just happens to have the same IP address.
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  7. #7
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    The truth in a nutshell (repairing the server is the top priority) and an ETA. Once everything is back online I provide a DETAILED explanation of what went wrong, and what actions are being taken to prevent it from happening agian.

    If the downtime was anything significant (hours), I provide compensation options to the affected users.
    Tyler
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  8. #8
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    Just keep your clients well informed as to whats happening. Theres nothing more frustrating for a client having their website down and no reply to their emails. Always tell the truth, and give assurances that your doing everything possible to resolve the server issues. Offering a free month is always an option. As you said your small, its probably a better option to loose a months income than to loose customers.

  9. #9
    The truth is always best even if you tell them you have no idea what the hell you just did to mess up apache . The clients appreciate it, they really won't respond the way you may think.
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  10. #10
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    Tell them the truth, if they know whats going on, they generally let you fix it.

  11. #11
    I have a server maintenance page that I try to keep up to date with any server issues. I update that as information comes to hand.

    BTW, are you still having problems starting apache? Got an error message we could look at?
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  12. #12
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    Try having a live server monitor on your site. Also, if there is a problem, something must have caused it, right? Explain that to the customers in plain english(for those that don't understand the tech admin mambo jumbo) and reasure them that you have taken precautions that it's won't happen again unexpectedly...

    Of course, all this is valid unless the problem was caused by you&staff ...
    Lorand R. Minyo
    Co-Founder @ Neveli

  13. #13
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    Re: What do you say to your clients when your server is down?

    Originally posted by VagrantHost
    when you have a server down... what do you say to your clients? i am unable to start apache on a server... and i have several very unhappy people.

    i want to reassure them... i'm too small to have people losing faith now.
    Greetings,

    The Server you are being hosted on is experiencing some problems and is currently off-line. The problem is being worked on and we expect the Server to be back online within [insert number of minutes or hours].

    .... etc.


    As for Apache being down, that should not be a problem.

    /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -t

    Will tell you what the problem is and where. Fix it then restart Apache. Shouldn't take more than a few minutes.
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  14. #14
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    Rob - exactly. Fact is Carter, you DO need someone to manage your server. Don't rely on SM monkeys that think a web server is an eight legged waiter.

    As to the question of this thread, don't have to tell them anything because if a apache does fail, it usually starts by itself and if it doesn't someone starts it within 10 minutes. You could have the same peace of mind if you got real on server management.
    Last edited by NexDog; 04-14-2004 at 06:32 AM.
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  15. #15
    Greetings:

    Always tell the truth.

    Please remember that crisis defines our true character.

    Tell the truth and build integrity.

    We had our own disaster on March 25, 2004 when one of our own servers had the OS get corrupted.

    It took a while to get the operating system stable (no data was lost).

    When client's called, we told them the status as we knew it.

    And when all was back up and running, we called as well as emailed clients. We then worked on a battle plan that was executed last Friday and this past Tuesday to migrate all services and clients from that server to another with a newly installed OS (they were pre-notified for that move).

    While we had two extremely ticked clients (out of which one was super ticked if one can be that upset) for the event on the 25th, all of them appreciated our honesty and high level of communication.

    As long as you don't have a lot of down time events, when you handle a crisis with truth and dilligence (including planning for the future avoidance) you build credibility with your clients and all relationships.

    Thank you.
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  16. #16
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    Similar war story from here last night. One of the power bars on a rack blew and took out 7 servers. Email clients, work on it and got things back up and running in an hour or so. Not one complaint and two thankyou's as people were kept informed. Customers understand things happen but if you tell a lie they will soon spiral out of control

    Rus
    Russ Foster - Industry Curmudgeon

  17. #17
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    I give my clients:

    - A non-technical outline to the problem
    - A detailed technical outline to the problem
    - What needs to be done
    - What we are doing
    - When to expect the problem to be fixed
    - Alternative contact methods and e-mail addresses so the client knows he/she can reach us immediately if they need to.

    Luckily for us we haven't had any serious problems, but thats our approach and that's what we will do if the worst should happen.


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  18. #18
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    What Rameen stated is a perfect way to hadle the problem professionally.
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  19. #19
    Not simply truth, but truth quickly.

    Ideally, you should be the one telling them there is a problem - not the other way around. If it can be helped.

  20. #20
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    Tell them the truth and expected time when the server will be back online

  21. #21
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    Originally posted by stealthdevil
    I give my clients:

    - A non-technical outline to the problem
    - A detailed technical outline to the problem
    - What needs to be done
    - What we are doing
    - When to expect the problem to be fixed
    - Alternative contact methods and e-mail addresses so the client knows he/she can reach us immediately if they need to.

    Luckily for us we haven't had any serious problems, but thats our approach and that's what we will do if the worst should happen.


    Rameen
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    - 'It was a PEBKAC issue, the offending tech has been fired, and then strung up and beaten with a wet noodle' (PEBKAC = Problem exists between keyboard and chair)

  22. #22
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    LOL




    Rameen
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  23. #23
    "My dog ate the power lead. We have sent it to the vet to have its stomach pumped."

    No, actually that was one of my university lecturers excuses for not marking an essay on time. but its useful for all situations.
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  24. #24
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    1. Tell them what happened.
    2. Tell them the when it will be back up
    3. Apologize
    4. If you know you are not going to meet your ETC then send another email to everyone with the new expected time the server will be up
    5. Refer back to action #3
    6. Offer a partial/full refund depending on how long things are down.
    Last edited by alvinks; 04-15-2004 at 01:56 PM.
    Alvin

  25. #25
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    So far we havent had any downtimes for over 10 minutes this year...So we just tell them the truth...usually its something on their end such as an ISP problem...
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  26. #26
    It's such a wonderful thing that there haven't been any trolls, yet. I was a little concerned that someone might post, "Tell them the truth- you're a terrible hosting company that can't maintain 99.995% uptime!"

    Just stay calm. Be polite to the folks fixing your server. Keep your customers updated. Keep your ETA on the vague and pessimistic side- that way, they don't feel like they're in the dark, but things are less likely to backfire on you if it takes longer than expected.

    Or, just for fun, see who the "smart" customers are. Tell them that the server got hijacked by foreign hackers, and set up a fund to pay the $500 ransom.
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  27. #27
    I send my customers an email letting them know how long the server has been down and when we expect to be up. It helps customer relations when you let them know.

  28. #28
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    Tell them the truth- you're a terrible hosting company that can't maintain 99.995% uptime!
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  29. #29
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  30. #30
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    I like to issue press releases on the sit. The incident with servermatrix yesterday was no big deal. Customers completely understand when you tell them exactly what is going on and try to give them an estimated time it will take to fix the problem.
    Patron: I'd like my free lunch please.
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  31. #31
    Tell them that the data center burned down, but not to worry you are loading your most recent backup onto your backup server that just happens to have the same IP address.
    Thats awesome! hahaha

    And as for downtime, I have not had any problems with that due to exceptional management by CheetaWeb. I have been with them for almost 10 months. Before Cheeta I had some problems: the server would go down (only apache) every night at 4am until I rebooted it. I was honest with the customers, but they surely let me have it. Whatever, I did the same before I started this company...

  32. #32
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    Speaking of fire, remember the NAC.NET episode?

    Everybody thought it was a great joke, untill they realized that none of their sites were working for about 12 H

    It was a good day, had nothing (support) to do at all...
    Lorand R. Minyo
    Co-Founder @ Neveli

  33. #33
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    I Just say The server is currently down if you need anymore information please visit the data center site

  34. #34
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    Unless the site of the datacenter isn't offline as well
    Lorand R. Minyo
    Co-Founder @ Neveli

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