When Things go Wrong

My dad has a good friend who is a veterinarian. He once told a story about something his assistant said during a standard neutering job on an animal:

I’ve seen you perform that operation hundreds of times. I know it backwards and forwards. I’m positive I could perform it by myself.

The doctor understood that this was more a question than a statement, and responded accordingly:

I’m positive that you have the knowledge and skill to perform the operation as well. The difference between you and me, however, is that you don’t know what to do if something goes wrong.

GoDaddy’s recent server outage (1) was a great reminder that excellent work in good circumstances is no guarantee of satisfied customers. How your company handles problems might be the best test of your team:

Adversity cause some men to break; others to break records.

– William A Ward

The good news is that if your walls are shored for good and bad weather, you can use storms as an opportunity to remind people that you have their best interest in mind. If you’re really good, you do it with a dash of humor:

Click the image for a larger view.

This is a shared productivity app that several people on my team use. The other morning we started to plan the day and noticed the app was down. It was very inconvenient. Their error message, though, was clever (and simple) enough to make me smile – a great reaction from someone who needs your broken service.

* For the record, I think GoDaddy’s products and services are far from excellent and don’t recommend using them.
(1) You can read about how the GoDaddy outage affected small business here.

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