Small business owners sometimes think that IT downtime will only cost them a few hours of productivity that they can quickly make up, but there is much more at stake when your systems go down. Your customers are affected which causes a loss in satisfaction and can damage the integrity of your brand. Some more visible areas are in the realm of employee productivity and a temporary drop in sales while increasing expenses to make up time.
Here are just six of the possible ways your business is affected by IT downtime:
1. Customer Loss
With the fast paced world we live in today, buyers expect things to happen immediately. Click the mouse, touch the screen and poof, they are done. When someone is looking for a service or product you provide and your site doesn’t load, is unable to fulfill orders and requests, or is just plain unavailable you are likely to lose them to a competitor.
2. Damage to Brand Reputation
Consumers now use Social Media like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, blogs, and more to vent their bad experiences with a company. Imagine a customer doesn’t know if their order was submitted, of if a charge was made to their card or their order shipped due to internal server errors. Everyone knows that when you have a bad experience, you want to share that experience with others. Social media has made this very easy and on the right day can be shared with hundreds or thousands causing your brand and company a severe loss in reputation.
3. Internal Productivity Loss
If your internal systems stop working, this means that your employees are not working either. Imagine for a moment that your 20 employees are unable to access a system they need to perform their duties for just one day. That is over 160 hours of lost or severely reduced productivity which adds up fast!
4. Downtime Costs
So using the example above, those 160 hours of unproductivity have to be made up somewhere right? That usually means overtime which is very costly. What about the customers that were affected? Depending on the industry, this could mean compensatory costs for things like expedited shipments or discounts. These costs stack on top of the cost you already will have for the repair that caused the downtime in the first place.
5. Chance of Lawsuits
Some businesses have strict manufacturing timelines or provide service level agreements that guarantee a service or product. Prolonged downtime can not just damage the relationship but invoke the threat of litigation.
6. Wasted Marketing Cost
Does your business market your products and services? Let us consider a company with a pay-per-click ad that brings in clients to your website but the service that handles the order is out of commission. Maybe it is a lead from one of your e-mail campaigns that you sent out. When they just see an error message, you certainly have reduced the benefit of that marketing spend.
At the end of the day, a technical glitch or a power outage can wreak havoc on small businesses. Prolonged downtime even can put a company out of business. Many things need to be carefully thought out, and plans need to be made to mitigate the threat of downtime. Consider finding your business an ally who can provide you redundancy and peace of mind.