When things go wrong, your users need to know – but it’s not always easy to determine what to say or how to say it. If you’re responsible for getting the word out to hundreds or thousands of users, it can feel like a heavy weight on your shoulders. The task at hand is urgent, yet must be handled delicately.
As someone who’s handled incident communication on Statuspage’s status page – the mother of all status pages – I know how difficult these moments are.
To combat the frantic nature of incident communication, Statuspage offers a feature called incident templates. Incident templates allow you to store pre-written messages in Statuspage so they’re easily available when you need them.
Still, it’s not always easy to write these messages. Some people want a little help or inspiration when crafting their incident templates.
Create incident templates using our new incident comms template generator
We created the incident communication template generator to help incident communicators create clear and concise incident messages in less than a minute.
If you’re a Statuspage customer already, add the messages you generate into your incident template library so you’re ready the next time things go wrong.
If you’re not a Statuspage customer, sign up for a free trial here.
5 tips for better incident communication
1. Communicate early, even if you don’t know what’s going on yet. Customers want to know you’re working on the problem. Regularly updating customers leaves no room for “What’s going on?” or “When will you have more information?”
Instead of saying, “We ran into some issues with our server earlier today. We’ve addressed this and all systems are operational now.”
Say, “We’re investigating an issue with our platform. Next update in 15 minutes.”
2. Communicate often, even if you don’t have any new information to share. Customers want to know you’re actively working on the issue. Share updates often, even if you don’t have anything new to say. Simply being present and saying “We’re still looking into this” ensures you’re not leaving your customers in the dark.
3. Communicate precisely. Remember, you’re communicating with a wide range of people. Leave out technical jargon and keep messaging clear and concise so everyone understand what your saying.
Instead of saying, “Remediation of applications on the new load balancer configurations are in progress.”
Say, “A fix is in progress. Next update in 15 minutes.”
4. Stay consistent across channels. Define your most effective incident communication channels, and ensure the incident communicator is updating each channel consistently and simultaneously.
5. Own the problem. Don’t throw your vendors under the bus. You made the choice to use a service provider, and in your customer’s eyes, the incident is your problem. Own it, and don’t shift blame.
Instead of saying, “Acme Co. is experiencing an outage that has caused our servers to be unresponsive.”
Say, “We are currently experiencing an outage with our servers. We are working to resolve this and we will post another update in 15 minutes.”