Systems Down! How to Handle Technology Outages for Your Small Business

Though your initial reaction may be to panic and freak out, instead use an emergency situation to improve your small business.

Oh no! Calls are pouring in, nothing is working, customers are freaking out; this is what happens when technical systems go down. Whatever that system may be – a server, a switch, hardware, software, a maintenance issue, don’t panic.

A system failure does not mean you must sacrifice customer service. Rather, it can be a chance to show customers how well you respond to an emergency, even if they are panicking.

Take a deep breath, sit down and follow these easy steps to deal with a system outage and get back on track:


1. First things first, assess the problem.

What is actually wrong? Who should you contact? The sooner the proper administrator, third-party service or consultant is notified of a problem; the sooner a resolution can follow. If you aren’t sure what you’re dealing with, don’t assume you can fix it yourself. This can only waste time and risk making things worse. Save yourself the trouble and confirm the best contact to fix system malfunctions for your business.


2. Don’t neglect your customers.

Do what you still can. If any piece of technology is still working and allows you to do what you need to do, take full advantage of it. Take customer live chats from your smartphone and conduct business from a tablet or device that is not impacted by your technology or system glitch.

For example, if your company website is down, odds are that support calls will increase. Take the following steps to meet customer needs:

  • Reassure customers that the problem is being addressed. Tell them you notified a technical support expert and the problem is pending a resolution.
  • If possible, share a timetable. People tend to find it very reassuring when you can tell them a time at which the problem will be fixed, so that they don’t have to wait around.
  • Keep customers posted. Keeping customers in the loop is a simple, but essential way to show you value their business. Offer to take down their email or phone number so you can notify them once the issue has been resolved.


3. Lastly, assess the issue and how it was handled.

Did everyone remain calm and collected or do you need to implement a better response procedure? Was the issue resolved in a timely manner? Or was it resolved at all? Perhaps you need to upgrade certain equipment?

Whatever the issue was, follow up and analysis can prevent future mishaps and ensure your staff members are adequately prepared to respond to technical malfunctions.


Though your initial reaction may be to panic and freak out, instead use an emergency situation to either demonstrate superior response skills to customers or assess areas for improvement. As long as you remain calm, address the issue, and keep customers in the know, there is no reason that a system outage should significantly affect your bottom line.


Jacklin Altman is the Digital Marketing Specialist for LiveHelpNow, a customer service software company based out of Pennsylvania. Jacklin maintains the company blog, creates and implements innovative new marketing strategies, and handles customer outreach. Her passion for writing and technology led her to LiveHelpNow and continue to drive her professional aspirations.


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