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Live Chat Provider Zopim Handled Their Outage Admirably

Blunders are natural and happen to most massive global enterprises down to the smallest of companies. Companies, after all, are run by humans. And humans… well, we make mistakes.

We’ve all seen PR gaffes, lapses in service, and everyday miscommunication spread virally online. It’s simply what happens in this age of connectivity. So if a) employees will, without a doubt, make mistakes, and b) some of those mistakes can go viral and seriously damage a company’s public reputation, what’s a modern company to do? Just accept that it’s all a gamble, shrug, and wait for the fallout?

Of course not. Companies may not be able to stop mistakes, but they can manage the crises gracefully.
Recently, our live chat provider named Zopim had one such crisis, and we were impressed with how they handled it. Zopim had experienced an issue after making a change in their network. This is what they sent in response.

“On 10 November, our service was disrupted for approximately 45 minutes. We’d like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize for this lapse and explain the cause of the downtime in more detail.

Here is a brief summary of what happened:

We performed an extensive network infrastructure change on 8th November 2014 between 9.00 am and 1.00 pm (UTC). Thereafter, on Monday, 10 November, as our traffic began to increase, our monitoring team noticed signs of stress with the new configuration. Customers also faced intermittent disconnections and so, our engineers began mitigation work immediately.

Despite our best efforts more users began to experience intermittent disconnection. At 6.15pm, the engineering team made the call to execute the back-up plan to roll back the network infrastructure change. Our service went offline between 6:30 pm and 7:15 pm, during which time the back-up plan was executed. Following the successful roll-back, service availability was gradually restored for all customers.

What we will do to ensure this does not happen in the future:

We are reviewing our network configuration to ensure sufficient capacity can be provisioned for. This will prevent future occurrence of the problem.

Again we apologize for this lapse and will endeavour to make sure it does not happen again. If you have any questions or feedback, please email us on support@zopim.com or chat with us on Zopim.com.

Regards
Team Zopim”

Graceful.
Zopim addressed their mistake by following this tried and true framework:

  1. They apologized. It’s just polite and well-mannered to offer an apology when you do something wrong.
  2. They explained. In the letter, they gave a high level description of what happened – not some overly technical diatribe.
  3. They promised to change. They offered a remediation plan to address how to avoid the problem from happening again.

In the end, Zopim responded swiftly, transparently, and in a straightforward way. We can all learn from Zopim and should strive to handle our own mistakes – at work and at home – in the same way.

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