After the longest downtime since MadeByMark.com launched in November of 2000, we’re back on the air.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+, you know I’ve been hammering the good folks at Squarespace pretty hard these past few days. Squarespace is a service for people who are serious about their content, serious about publishing that content on the web, and serious about making it look great. Since I moved my site here from my previous host (Typepad), Squarespace has been rock-solid.
This past Thursday, I was shocked, then, to see that all my entries had disappeared. The shell of the site was still here, but the content — eleven years of posts — had vanished without a trace. I contacted customer support, received a quick, garden-variety “We’ll check on that for you!” response, and waited.
Long story short: after a couple of days of not getting the level of support, customer service, or assurance I felt Squarespace promises customers, I started leveraging social media in hopes of getting more attention and action. Ultimately, though — and I have no proof of this — I think it may have been an email I sent to the company CEO that turned the tide, because about fifteen minutes after I sent that note, Things Began to Happen.
And, now, as of last night at midnight, we’re back. I appreciate the work of the engineers and support team at Squarespace, particularly Tom and Shaun, John C., and Jesse H. While the first two days of downtime were frustrating, the support I received over the last 24 hours goes a long way toward reversing my decision to leave Squarespace for another service provider. (The free month of service they offered was also a nice gesture.)
Some lessons I’ll take away from this, for application in my own life, and for use with my own clients:
Especially in a crisis, over-communicate. When something’s gone wrong, touch base more often, even if it’s just to say, “We’re on it.” Don’t make the customer ask for updates; promise updates on a schedule … and deliver.
Give people specifics. These days, we’re all savvy enough to know “escalation” just means making a phone call or sending an email. Instead of using Customer Service Calming Words (™), say exactly what’s being done and set clear expectations for action and resolution.
Find out what’s important to the customer … and provide it. For me, that would have been 1) assurance that my content was safe and 2) regular updates on progress. Had we established that from the beginning, this interaction might have gone very differently.
A good recovery can turn the tide. You can’t fix what’s already been mishandled, but you can take the reins in the present and make a difference going forward. That’s what the Squarespace team did yesterday. Even though I was a little hot under the collar by that time, their response on Saturday made a good impression — and probably retained me as a customer.