If you have a social media bone in your body you will know about the recent hack of Buffer. You may also have seen or experienced its response, I know I did. This post is all about how each organisation handled the service recovery process: one very poorly and one very well.
In my opinion, and many others, Buffer did a stellar job in responding to a major issue. Almost as if to counter point Buffer’s success, internet hosting company Crazy Domains’ response to recent network outages shows how not to respond.
What Happened at Buffer and Crazy Domains
“Buffer has been hacked” – that’s not me being overly dramatic. That’s the subject line in an email they sent one hour after the incident took place. From my understanding a hacker was able to post to Twitter and Facebook using the Buffer credentials.
The result of this was fake weight loss posts from user Buffer accounts to both platforms. A pretty bad outcome. This affected a lot of users, a reported 30,000.
Over at Crazy Domains a thousand customers of the company were locked out of their websites and email accounts. The organisation claims 750,000 customers were affected so about 0.1% of their clients. A very small number but quite a big impact.
How They Responded
Buffer responded quickly. Within an hour of identifying the issue they had emailed users with their initial view of the impact and what was going on.
It’s not clear how quickly Crazy Domains responded, only that at some point they emailed their customers. As customer email systems were part of the problem I’m not sure how clients would have received the news.
The very first thing that Buffer did was take responsibility for the issue. This is the first line in the email they sent.
“I wanted to get in touch to apologize for the awful experience we’ve caused many of you on your weekend.”
No weasel words there. Just empathy for what their clients are experiencing and commitment to fix it.
Crazy Domains also took responsibility but in a more “we’re working on it” approach.
“Unfortunately, the server containing your web and email hosting is still down.”
Is how it was reportedly described to customers. Not so much taking responsibility as stating the problem.
Keeping Everyone Up to Date: Publicly and Privately
Buffer kept its customers up to date via Twitter and regular updates to its original blog post. Customers with questions were responded to via Twitter and there was no ducking for cover.
When the major crisis was over they emailed customers with an explanatory email to say what had happened and why it would not happen again.
” I wanted to follow up with you after yesterday’s hacking incident. For many of you this has seriously disrupted your weekend – I’m sorry we caused that awful experience.”
What’s more they even asked for people to respond with questions.
”I want to invite you again to hit reply to this email or post a comment on our blog post. We will be sure to respond to you as fast as we can.”
On the other hand Crazy Domains did not even respond to newspaper reporter requests for information. Their Facebook and Twitter accounts did not provide any feedback on what was happening and it has even been suggested that they deleted Facebook comments about the incident.
Who Cares How They Responded
Customers, that’s who.
At Buffer the opportunity for widespread social media backlash was huge; remember their product enables customers to post automatically on social media so these are high volume social media consumers. However, they mostly just received support and understanding from their community.
Customers even helped to spread the word and communicate this issue in a positive manner.
Sure there will be a few customers that will leave them but I’d say that their customer loyalty is at an all-time high when it should be lower than ever.
Not so much at Crazy Domains. Their customers don’t have much good will for the company. So much so that there is even a Crazy Domains Fail page over on Facebook.
Being authentic and taking the naked approach seems risky and hard to do but in the end it will win you more customers than hiding.