GoDaddy is one of the biggest providers of web hosting services, so when the company experienced a nearly six hour outrage last week, the results were obvious and immediate. Thousands, and possibly millions of websites from around the world were suddenly inaccessible, and the owners and customers of those sites quickly grew irate.
What happened next says a lot about GoDaddy and its customer service philosophy. The reaction of the company was swift, and that could have long-term implications for the future of the firm. GoDaddy turned to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to keep its customers informed about what was going on, mitigating some of the damage that could have been caused by such a lengthy service outrage.
After the servers were back up and running, GoDaddy went a step further to soothe the tempers of affected customers. The company sent apology emails to all who were affected, along with a voucher good for a month of free service.
As to what caused the outrage, the original reports indicated that the hacker group known as Anonymous was to blame. Someone posted a message on Twitter claiming that GoDaddy had been hacked and that the group was responsible. GoDaddy claims that the outrage was not caused by external factors – that it was a series of internal failures instead. GoDaddy said that the service outrage happened when internal network events caused the router data tables to become corrupted. Without those tables, websites could not communicate with the internet, resulting in the outrage that affected so many customers.
Any type of outage is troubling for a company that makes its living serving up web pages, but the GoDaddy situation could have been much worse. The way the company responded went a long way, and it should serve as an example for other companies who suffer similar outrages. Instead of trying to hide the problem or avoid customers, GoDaddy immediately turned to social media to get the word out. The company continued to communicate with its customers throughout the outrage, providing relevant and timely information until the situation had been resolved.
The firm also used telephone chains, emails and text alerts to notify customers that there was a problem. This helped to keep the situation from spiraling out of control, preventing users from relying on secondhand information that may or may not have been accurate.
GoDaddy also provided a detailed explanation as to what happened and what was being done to correct the problem. This type of transparency is always important, but it is especially critical in a crisis situation. Many companies rely on GoDaddy to run their businesses, and having timely information is especially welcome during an extended outrage.
The company also took pains to assure customers that their personal information was safe and secure. The initial reports of a hack were troubling, but the web hosting company moved fast to reassure concerned customers that personal information like credit card data had not been breached.
An interruption in service can be a disaster for a web hosting company, but the response the firm takes to the outrage can be just as important as any technical fix. The GoDaddy situation is a clear illustration of a company stepping up to the plate and putting its customers first. Time will tell how the outrage – and the response – impacts the firm in the future.