As a business owner, these are words I never thought I would utter: "Our website is temporarily down. And we're cool with that."
That shows you the power of great communications. Our site is hosted by Squarespace. They're a great company and their operations have been impacted by Hurricane Sandy (more on that below). Operational disruptions happen. But it's the way the company handles the communications around the disruption that can be the deal breaker in the eyes of the paying customer. A few hours ago, we received a pre-emptive and proactive email from the company letting us know what was happening in very clear and descriptive language and giving us a heads up that our site (and millions of others) might soon be going dark.
After reading the company's email (which I've pasted below), I have to say that my already-solid loyalty for them has grown. On a day when so many people are suffering through the devastation and aftermath of this storm, their proactive and honest communications helped to manage expecations about a potential service disruption and served as a gentle reminder that if your website being down is the worst thing that's happening to you today, you should probably say a little prayer of thanks.
Here's the company's email. How would you rate their handling of this situation?
I have some unfortunate
news to share. Our primary data center, Peer1, in Lower Manhattan lost power
yesterday at about 4:30PM local time. At that time, we smoothly made the
transition to generator power and took comfort over the fact that we had enough
fuel to last three to four days. (Peer1 stayed online during the last 3 major
natural disasters in the area, including a blackout that lasted for days.)
At 8:30PM yesterday, we
received reports that the lobby in the data center's building was beginning to
take on water. By 10:30PM, as is sadly the case in most of Lower Manhattan,
Peer1's basement had experienced serious flooding. At 5AM, we learned our data
center's fuel pumps and fuel tanks were completely flooded and unable to
deliver any more fuel. At 8AM, they reported that the generators would be able
to run for a maximum of four more hours.
Unfortunately, this means
that Squarespace will be offline soon (our estimate being at 10:45 AM today).
Be assured that while this will impact our availability, there is no chance of
data loss or any other permanent effects. We have simply run out of power,
backup power, and cannot access our fuel in a flooded basement.
Our teams have been working
tirelessly on contingency plans. We are working to bring the Squarespace
systems back online as soon as possible. As you have probably read, all bridges
and tunnels into and out of Manhattan are closed and large portions of the city
remain without power. We will do everything in our power to get Squarespace
running as soon as possible, and we will remain online for as long as it is
Squarespace support will
remain available 24/7 during this downtime. We will post updates to Twitter via
@squarespacehelp and urge you to follow us
there. Updates will also be posted to blog.squarespace.com.
Our hearts go out to the
many people who have lost their lives in this terrible tragedy and also to
those who continue to suffer through the consequences of this historic storm.
you for your understanding,
Founder & CEO