There are a few keys that I have found when communicating with customers about outages and service interruptions:
- Our customers can accept bad news, they cannot accept no news.
- Getting the team out into the patient care areas, communicating face-to-face, buys a lot of goodwill.
- Don’t use generic email addresses, send genuinely worded emails from a real person, ideally someone that shows the level of attention the problem is receiving (like the CIO). It is easier to be mad at a department than a person who is trying their hardest.
- Empathize, don’t apologize. Say something like: “We understand that this is disruptive to your work and patient care. This is important to us and we will work day and night until things return to normal. Thank you for your patience and support.”
- When closing the outage, make sure your customers know that there will be a full Root Cause Analysis and systemic changes will be put in place to avoid a recurrence.