How to keep your customers loyal during a disaster

Having customers that are loyal to you will benefit your business in several different ways. Not only will they keep coming back to you for your product/service but they’ll also act as an advocate. Building up an army of advocates is hard work: you have to give your customers a reason to trust you; after all that is what loyalty is built upon, trust.

Now let’s break that trust

A web hosting provider has suffered a serious problem, causing all their servers to go down for two weeks.  This means that for two weeks their customers didn’t have access to their own websites, which resulted in severe problems such as:

  • Loss of business
  • Reputation Damage
  • Customers calling in asking if they’ve been hacked

The web hosting provider’s phones’ have been ringing non-stop for the last two weeks with complaints from their customers. After being told that they haven’t got a date when the servers will be up and running, most customers take their business elsewhere.

Once the servers are back up, 60% of their existing customers (many of which have been loyal for over 5 years) have moved to another provider.

5 years of good service doesn’t count for anything once you break the trust your customers have had in you.

Avoiding Disaster

It’s not always easy to avoid a disaster, but it’s easy to deal with it if you have a plan in place. If this hosting provider had a Business Continuity Management System in place, they would have had backup servers ready and waiting for when a problem like this happens. With those backup servers, their customers would have suffered a much shorter downtime and most likely would have let it slip.

I watched a film recently, and came across a concept which I think describes a good way to manage disasters.

After several disasters that NO ONE thought could happen, the Council decided that if a vote was unanimous against a possible outcome, one member would act as if it was ABSOLUTELY going to happen, and trying to prevent it. This way, if they have a crisis, one man is prepared for it, and assumes directorship of the council for the duration of the crisis

Effectively, the above describes a business continuity management system (BCMS), a set of policies and procedures which prepare you for the unexpected and enables you to take control of things when disaster strikes.

Have you heard of ISO 22301?

ISO 22301 specifies the requirements for a business continuity management system. A business continuity plan is a start, but they’re known for being lost in a drawer and forgotten about. A business continuity management system however, grows with the business, requires testing and can be integrated with other management systems such as ISO 27001 and ISO 9001.

To learn more about ISO 22301, you can do one of the following: