You can take your product down for maintenance – there is nothing wrong or to be a worry. However, it is important to pre-inform your users using the appropriate communication channels like email, SMS, or push notification. This tutorial will share the various best practices and communication emails for ensuring smooth website/product maintenance.
Points covered in the article
- What is website maintenance?
- Why is website maintenance necessary?
- Reasons why website maintenance is important
- How to write a maintenance email?
- When to schedule your maintenance email?
- Understanding the impact of the maintenance window
- 5 Best Maintenence Email Examples
What is website maintenance?
Website maintenance is the process of inspecting whether the website is healthy and carrying out its operations well and keeping up with security updates, fresh content, and encouraging traffic growth.
Website maintenance service is an essential component for engaging and hanging on to your customers, thus strengthening your SEO and Google rankings. Websites are something that needs to be oiled and serviced regularly, just like any machinery or vehicle. E.g., let’s compare it to a motorbike. A motorbike needs proper monthly maintenance to ensure that it’ll get you where you want. You bought it, investing your money and resources, and now you must keep it well-maintained and attractive, so it’s always up and running smoothly. A website acts just the same. If you’ve invested money in its creation, and you’ve devoted precious time to create content and portray your business at its best.
A website is not something that someone creates once, and then it functions on its own. That’s not how it works. You need to maintain your website from time to time to enhance it and make it more user-friendly, keeping in mind that your customer doesn’t face any issue using your services.
When the site maintenance mode is enabled, server downtime might prevent the customers from accessing the store on the internet. You must notify your customer about the server downtime for maintenance well in advance.
Why is website maintenance necessary?
A lot of business owners understand the significance of owning a website. Still, they often create a site, launch it, and never look at it again or try maintaining it, ignoring the website maintenance completely. If the site isn’t properly maintained, you might lose precious customers – and that might impact your business in the long run.
Websites need routine maintenance to establish that all elements, like payment mechanisms, shopping carts, images, forms, etc., are working securely and systematically. In addition, creating a visually attractive and responsive, user-friendly website is a significant step for letting the world know about your business’s existence. Still, a regular check-up of your website is a must if you want your business’s visibility to grow and prosper.
4 Reasons why website maintenance is important
- Website security:
Website Security is the critical reason to schedule maintenance of a website. Because hackers worldwide are always searching for a way to break into the system, it is essential to keep your system updated and prevent such security breaches before they take place.
- Driving Traffic And Boosting SEO Rankings:
If your website has not gone into maintenance for several years, then there’s a possibility that few elements will not render appropriately on new smartphones and tablets. Your website might appear if someone enters your URL and searches the web, but the site may not be compatible with new devices. If your business’s website is not mobile-friendly, your website may not appear in google search results. When Google detects a person is searching, your website might not rank among the top websites, which will ultimately decrease your growth.
- Engaging customers:
Keeping your site updated with original, fresh content will help you satisfy and engage your existing customers and new customers. Your customers might view and share your latest content if they like it, which may help you make your business grow and flourish. But if you don’t post new content for an extended period, visitors might assume that you don’t have anything new to say. This might lead to a gradual decrease in your website traffic.
- Adding new features:
You might need to add payment methods on your website or integrate some new features that may require regular or timely updates.
How to write a maintenance email?
- Recognize the problem: A considerable number of your customers might get impacted during the outage. Recognize and acknowledge the problem before you write to your customers. Get an early message out. So they don’t get anxious if the services stop working suddenly.
- Sympathize with impacted customers: Show some legitimate understanding towards your customers who might get delayed and possibly much more heavily affected. Avoid platitudes and be more specific and honest, rather than using statements like “we apologize for any inconvenience.”
- Communicate the scope of the outage: Make sure you define the outage to your customers in the email, specifically what services will be affected and how long it won’t be accessible. It makes it easier for the customers to understand whether the issue you have mentioned is the same one they might face during the outage. If it’s a particular area of an application or a geographic location affected, share certain vital information.
- Take responsibility: You are responsible for the experience your customers might face due to the outage. Even if the fault is from a third-party service that you use, you should take responsibility and acknowledge it.
- Give an overview of the outage: If the downtime is for upgrades, let the users know what new features and improvements this upgrade will bring while the servers will be down. It will help increase user acceptance if they understand that the outage will benefit them in the long term.
- Timely reminders: More significant impacts call for longer lead time and more frequent updates before the maintenance. For minor updates which won’t affect users, one announcement message about the downtime is usually enough. As the impact increases, you consider adding a reminder update right before the actual maintenance time. e.g., you should send a reminder message about an hour before the scheduled maintenance update.
- Write at a professional level: Too much technical detail might be confusing and difficult to understand. Ensure you give a detailed overview of the outage so it’s easy for customers to recognize and analyze the situation. Give as much detail that will be helpful to the customers but not more technical.
- Don’t make fake promises: Please make sure you mention the exact time the server won’t be functioning and back up running, and customers can once again access their services. Don’t make fake promises like the website will be up in 5 minutes and so on.
When to schedule your maintenance email?
For planned downtime, give your users a notice a few days prior, which will provide them with enough time to prepare themself well in advance.
You must communicate server maintenance at least one week ahead of time. It is ok to inform one or two days prior for any minor maintenance activity. Only one email is not enough. You need to send at least 2-3 reminders about the downtime to the users. Not all of your customers will remember a single notice, so use multiple notifications and remind them about the scheduled maintenance’s time getting closer.
And make sure you don’t forget to send a follow-up notification or email after the system is back online. Let the users know that the downtime is over, and they can work again.
Understanding the impact of the maintenance window
Understanding the effects of the maintenance window on end-users is essential for a triumphant maintenance announcement. Before scheduling your window, you should answer all of these questions, which will give you a glance of impact, which will convey your entire strategy.
- How important is the service to your users?
- Will the maintenance window take the whole system offline?
- Will there be degraded functionality or performance to affected services?
- How many percent of users will be affected during the window all or a small percentage?
- What’s the expected period of the maintenance window?
- Do you have an action from the user’s side to take?
- What is the risk of emerging problems that could increase the downtime limit or affect other services?
5 Best Maintenence Email Examples
- HDFC Bank
HDFC Bank Limited is a company that provides banking and financial services. They are very well known for delivering several products and services in the market like wholesale banking, treasury, and retail banking. HDFC Bank had a customer base of around over 5.60 crores, up from 4.90 crores as of 31 March 2020; hence they need to maintain and update their system from time to time.The HDFC bank’s maintenance email template is simple and direct. Even though it does not have a visually attractive appearance, it’s pretty basic. It has a bold heading stating scheduled maintenance that grabs the viewer’s attention at first glance. They have mentioned that their net banking app will not be available on the given date and time due to scheduled maintenance. They ended the message by saying they regret the inconvenience caused.
CoinDCX is an Indian-based cryptocurrency trading and exchange platform. The company has two applications like CoinDCX Go and CoinDCX Pro. Both the applications are essential apps for traders and investors looking for investments and exchange in cryptocurrency.Since CoinDCX is a new application, they often have a maintenance check over their system for recent updates to make their user experience much better. This email template looks visually appealing with a small illustration around the email header. They have a big logo at the top with a catchy tagline saying, let’s go for crypto. Following that, they have mentioned their scheduled maintenance and upgrade for improved user experience on their platform. Since this email is for Indian users, they have announced the time window of the outage in Indian standard time (IST). They also have an important note letting their customers know that all services on CoinDCX go will be unavailable during the maintenance period. Lastly, they apologize to their customers for the inconvenience caused during the outage and request users to be patient.
Proto.io is a prototyping platform designed to prototype on mobile devices; Proto.io allows users to prototype apps for anything using a screen interface, including a digital camera, Smart TVs, interfaces, airplanes, cars, and gaming consoles. Proto.io uses a drag and drop user interface (UI), which does not require coding. They have a simple email design with illustrated image on the top, followed by their notice about the scheduled maintenance, and have mentioned their time window in GMT format.
At the bottom of the email, the bright side will be back bigger, better, and stronger than before, building trust and assurance among the customers and the company.
- Tout app
ToutApp is a sales software that is a leading provider in the market that helps sales teams streamline communications to direct more deals. ToutApp’s robust email tracking helps increase engagement throughout the sales process. Their scheduled maintenance email is straightforward in design but has a crystal clear message regarding the downtime. They begin the email with a personal greeting mentioning the customer’s name, which helps establish a personal touch that is an excellent way of attracting and retaining customers to engender loyalty and trust. They have mentioned the day and time in PST format for approximately how much time the scheduled downtime will be.Apart from other emails, most importantly, they are letting their customers know the reason for rest. As they have considered, they will perform an upgrade on the infrastructure; they also communicate that the toutApp platform will be inaccessible during the window. Email delivery will be paused and will resume immediately after the maintenance window is over. Lastly, they acknowledge their customer’s patience and understanding and ask them to submit issues or questions, if any, on their website.
GitHub is a well-known website for programmers and developers to work on code collaboratively. The benefit of GitHub is its version control system, which allows collaboration without compromising the integrity of the original project. In addition, the projects on GitHub are examples of open-source software. Their scheduled maintenance template looks effortless, giving the date, time, and other instructions about the maintenance window. They have mentioned that they will perform some database upgrades to keep git up reliable and fast. They also notify the customer that their deliveries will be suspended and return once the maintenance window ends. They assure their customers that they will inform them through their status page at the beginning of the maintenance and once the maintenance job completes.
Now, after you know the essential points that a good maintenance email entails. You also need to keep in mind that maintenance emails may be just another way to engage with the audience. It is one of the most important emails as a problem or outage in the system may cause a huge amount of inconvenience to your customers. Keeping your customers informed gives them a chance to be aware that your company cares and understands their needs. Therefore, you
always should be ready with a maintenance email if required.