This is a great thread!
I'm currently working on a proposal that our brand uses community to be more pro-active in the way we communicate about outages (and incidents).
The current method is similar to @PeteW in that there's a decision matrix around whether we pro-actively inform customers of an outage i.e. if it's between 2-5am and affects a small number of customers then we wouldn't. If we do, then it tends to be messaging only displayed when you log in to our secure services - so there's still a chance you wouldn't know about the outage until you go to perform the action.
Thinking of the customer, I would prefer to let customers know regardless of the time and volume of people affected. If you're that person who works night-shift and is planning to do your finances at the end of the shift because the world is asleep then you're still going to be very annoyed if you can't and no one told you! And I see these verbatim comments again and again.
Many stakeholders are worried that laying bare a record of outages creates a perception that "they always have issues!" Like @ClaudiusH pointed out. I firmly believe that the opposite is true, and in fact it's the regular comments that "they never tell us!" that causes more negative brand sentiment. However, it's probably right to remove old records of outages etc so that should alleviate those concerns internally.
I will propose an outage page that is perhaps updated every 2 weeks - removing old info and updating with the new planned outages.
In terms of incident management, we have used Community pretty well. We had a pretty large-scale fraud incident last November and Community was a key part of our Comms strategy. In saying that, we could have done more. Not so much in the channel strategy but more in our speed, responsiveness and transparency of comms.
Thanks for these examples of Community status pages - very useful for my proposal. I will let you know how I get on with convincing our stakeholders.
I guess it depends on your business but I would strongly push that if setting a stake in the ground of "the place to go" for outage info then I would suggest its a 24/7 service with a regular flow of updates. In my industry updates are expected on the hour and even that's too long a wait however in reality often you dont have any updates.
Since my last post on this topic, we started to push more traffic to the community status page essentially it's now our strategic go to point for all customer comms if they want to check the latest status of our core products and we have a team who cover 24/7, 365 to ensure any known issues are updated on the dashboard
Given the results I've seen in deflection, i cannot recommend this enough!
If you have the full buy-in and support of your faults teams, as suggested, then go for it.
We have a separate Service Status section, updated by all the relevant faults stakeholders.
However if something is impacting us on Community / Social Media then we direct to Community - as Mr @Fellsteruk says, the deflection is awesome.
There's a valid concern that you could be advertising faults - in the industry which some of us work in on this thread, we have multiple faults each day - down to a postcode (zipcode) level. A bespoke service status tool allows us to manage faults for individual customers, rather than blanketing the issue for all.
It works really well in other industries, for sure - it simply depends on a: the buy-in and b: the number of faults - is it practical to list a problem on a street in Wisconsin - and if that information isn;t on the page, where can it be found?
We've positioned the Community in our incident strategy as one of the channels to 1. inform customers on 2. offload contact volumes to. We use it reactive e.g. during outages or disturbances, but also pro-active if we know one of our services will go down for ie. a maintenance window. Once the issue is over, we usually close the topic with a clear statement - and wait a couple of days before archiving.
Years ago we used the Community to inform customers about downtime / incidents on our mobile network. With (tens of) thousands of network masts across the country, the odds of issues on several masts a day is quite obvious. The number of topics a day quickly rose to a number that required nearly an FTE to just keep up with the list (24/7). The upside was a lot of traffic and contact deflection from other channels. The downside was that our LSI and metrics were practically unusable while nearly 90% of traffic and posts, accepted solutions etc. were due to using the community this way. So, eventually we built a tool on our support website that shows a map of all current incidents, so we could close the community board and improve the overall experience.
it is much easier to manage crisis that spill into the community when the official channel of news or updates is external (your website, PR team, etc). Being the person that gugurkan kandungan is "just passing the info along" is a much better position to be in as opposed to being the source of the (potentially bad) news.