In the modern business environment, your employees rely on a range of IT systems to be able to do their jobs. This includes software and hardware, phone systems and internet access.
As we all know, technology isn’t without its problems. Sometimes systems go down. There can be bugs with software that cause issues. And malicious interference with viruses, malware and phishing attempts can cause havoc for any company.
When there is a known issue affecting numerous people, the IT help desk might find itself getting swamped and overwhelmed as multiple callers report the same problem.
This can be particularly time-consuming in an organization where there is a large number of employees.
The help desk may send emails and/or put information up on the company intranet site, but this is often not enough to stem the flow of phone calls. Emails aren’t always read and can be missed when employees are getting dozens and dozens each day, or don’t check their inboxes regularly.
Read more: 10 Most Common Helpdesk Problems
What sort of information should you include in an outage notification?
When you send an outage notification to your employees, it needs to be clear and concise. Avoid writing technical jargon that the average employee is unlikely to understand. Similarly, you don’t need to provide lengthy and complex explanations.
This is what you should include:
- Let them know briefly what is happening (what is the problem, what is the cause of the problem if you know it)
- What systems/users are affected.
- Is the issue company-wide or just affecting employees in a specific location.
- Are there any steps that employees can take to help overcome the problem or is it something they need to wait to be fixed.
- Tell them that you are investigating or fixing the problem.
- The estimated time of the issue being resolved.
- When you expect to provide them with any further information.
A simple way to remember what to include in your system down message is to use the mnemonic A-L-E-R-T acronym:
A - tell people the name of the affected APPLICATION and what the problems are
L - What is the LOCATION or scope of the problem
E - was the EVENT scheduled or unplanned, what times/dates are relevant
R - When can users expect a RETURN to service
T - Is there someone users can contact/TALK to for more information?
How to use DeskAlerts to send system outage messages
Many companies have taken the burden off their IT help desks by using DeskAlerts to communicate with employees during a known outage or incident. This frees the help desk staff up to do other things, like solving the problem people are calling up about!
DeskAlerts is an internal communications software solution that has a range of features to make it easy to keep your employees updated, no matter where they are or what they are doing. The system provides numerous tools and delivery channels to ensure that people find out about important information.
For system outages, this includes features such as:
- Pop-up notifications that can be sent to employees’ screens, bypassing email, so that they know about outages and maintenance.
- Push notifications or text message alerts sent to mobile phones.
- Scrolling desktop tickers that can keep employees informed about the status of an outage while work is being done to resolve it.
- Login screen alerts that can let people know about critical IT incidents
- Screensavers and digital signage that can remind people about outages or maintenance.
The messages will appear no matter what other software the employees’ are using at the time and can’t be skipped. Messages can even appear on locked screens. Messages can also be sent to all employees in the company or specific groups of employees. For example, you may only need to advise users of accounting software if it is offline, and not everyone in the company.
Sending messages to employees when there is a known issue and then updating them throughout the process can help them to remain productive and plan to do other work during the estimated outage time.
You can communicate even faster when you have pre-written templates all ready to go within the DeskAlerts IT outage notification software. All you have to do is update with the relevant details of the current situation and hit send – and everyone can be informed within minutes.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel – we’ve made it easy for you to send IT outage messages to your employees with our pre-written IT outage notification templates.
Frequently asked questions
How do you write an outage notice?
An outage notice should be something that is straightforward and to the point, using plain language so that your employees understand that there are known issues affecting your systems.
Your outage notice should contain:
- A description of any services affected or interrupted
- When the problem began or was first identified
- The ways that users are being affected
- What the IT department is doing to resolve the situation
- When the problem should be resolved
- When and how employees will be given further information and updates.
How do you inform users of an outage?
There are many different ways to inform users about outages. This can include emails, information on the intranet, pop-up alerts, desktop tickers, company discussion forums, collaboration platforms such as Teams, push notifications, SMS text messages, screensavers and digital signage. It is important that however you choose send the information, you send it in a time sensitive manner. If you know of an outage at 9am, don’t wait until midday to tell people.
What is an outage notification?
An outage notification is a piece of communication sent to users of the software and other technology systems to let them know that the service is unavailable, or is going to be unavailable at some time in the future. It is used to advise people about both scheduled maintenance and unforeseen incidents that cause disruption to systems. This can include upgrades to software, bugs that need to be fixed, or malicious activities that impact services. Sending an outage notification is good for productivity so that people are aware of the issue and can plan their workflows to reprioritize other tasks while the system in question is offline.
This post was updated in 2021