Jason Fried of 37Signals on how they responded to recent downtime of their most popular product, Campfire:
So here’s what we did when Campfire went down. First, we posted regular updates on the status page of our company’s website. We let people know we were working on the problem. As we figured things out, we shared the results. And if we still didn’t understand something, we admitted as much. That’s OK with us. What isn’t OK is leaving people in the dark. Everyone’s afraid of the dark when their data are involved.
We also took to Twitter. My business partner David Heinemeier Hansson responded to more than 100 tweets from customers. “We’re battling demons on all fronts and losing. It’s pathetic, I know,” David tweeted to one customer. “We’re spending the goodwill we’ve built from years of reliable service like it’s going out of style.” “So sorry for the disruption,” he wrote to another. “You can only say duh! so many times before people just think you’re annoying. We’re way past that,” he wrote.
We responded to every complaint and took the blame every time—even when people went overboard and launched into personal attacks. There was no fighting back, no attempt to save face. We messed up, we knew it, and we let every customer know that we knew it.
And our customers responded with enormous goodwill.
We decided to give every Campfire customer a free month of service.