communicating after a crisis

I subscribe to IMS business lead services at work. With the holiday and the weekend, it had been a few days since I received a daily e-mail from them. Add on to that a couple more days, and I was a bit concerned. Apparently they had a huge server meltdown, which is why they weren’t sending any leads out. I wrote to find out what had happened–perhaps there was a glitch and my name was removed from the list? No, it was just the server. I received a response in a somewhat timely fashion alerting me to the situation, which I was fine with. Granted they should have sent out an e-mail when the problem started, but who knows if they had the capability. It’s what happened later that makes me pause.

As I was going through business leads, the last page was a letter from the president. It reads as follows:

On behalf of IMS, I wanted to let all of you know that for the first time in all of the years that we have been emailing projects, at about 7:30 pm on Monday, December 1, 2008 we had a massive gremlin attack and our server blew up in self defense. We immediately called for CPR but it was too late and the server died. It took our IT team almost 24 hours to replace the server and load the information back in – thank goodness for backup. We were able to send out projects from December 1, 2008 and you should have received those today. We were unable to retrieve information for December 2 so there were no projects for that date. We are up and running and are back to publishing on a daily basis. Our apologies and thanks for your patience while we recovered.

Rinda Robbins

President, IMS

Although I feel the message from the president was appropriate, I can’t say the content is. The message seems to blend casual conversation with jargon that even I can’t definitively understand. Is the CPR thing an attempt at humor? I’m not sure that’s the way to go with this audience, which is mostly business professionals and most of them are higher up the chain than I. It also seems to focus on the company more than the customer. I’m not sure that’s the angle I’d take either.

My Analysis: Message should have come out earlier and/or message should have been more carefully crafted for the audience. The danger of doing something just to get it done is, as I have learned oh so many times, the risk of doing more harm than good.



2 Responses to communicating after a crisis

  1. PauvrePlume says:

    Dear Davis,
    My comment has absolutely no relevance to your post. Sorry. I just didn’t feel like twittering you. Sometimes I need to to type more than 140 characters, OK? Sometimes I’m wordy (if 140+ characters = wordy). It happens. In any case, I just wanted to say that you seem suspiciously excited about your return to Ohio for the holidays. I am curious about the origin of this excitement. Is it family-related? or are you just more excited to see friends that you miss? Or is it more geographical? Do you miss the buckeyes? and yes, I am referring to either the buckeyes that actually fall from trees, OR the chocolate peanut-butter variety. Do you know I’m staying with you guys from the 21-23rd? True story. But, other than seeing my pseudo-famille, I am, quite honestly, DREADING the Ohio trip. In fact, I really wish I could transport you all HERE, rather than me heading to Ohio. My dread is primarily family related (NOT pseudo-family related).

    Anyway. Just curious.


  2. Jen says:

    I thought the gremlin attack and cpr comments were hilarious!

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