Empathy & responsibility when communicating issues

I don’t know, I find the Cloudflare graphic pretty useless, and it’s simple and I’m technically-minded. All it shows me is that the site is down, which I would know without a graphic. It doesn’t give me any insight as to why or when I should expect it to be back up. For me, the Cloudflare graphic is indistinguishable from Safari’s message about a server not responding.

I don’t think it’s aimed at sophisticated users, it’s aimed at reducing support load, but it does clearly show where the problem lies - with the user (common), with cloudflare (uncommon) or with the website (common). Users know the site is not working, from that graphic they find out who to ask about that (usually not cloudflare).

In Monzo’s case, the aim would be let customers know if this is a widespread problem (mastercard network etc), in which case they’ll probably just have to wait, or a monzo problem, in which case they should hassle monzo.

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I’d genuinely love to understand what riles you with “We’re very sorry you’re affected, we’ve identified that this isn’t a fault on our systems, and we’re trying to determine if there’s anything we can do to help” (sure, my first version Alex included here was more clumsily worded, but that was at like 1am my time and tapped out on my phone) vs “someone else broke. We’re profusely sorry you were affected”

(my own morbid curiosity more than anything, I’m not kidding when I say that I have written more than a few status updates over the years - probably >90% of which were for things broadly outside our control)

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I liked the version that was released. Any watered down version saying “sorry but…” “sorry, though it’s not our fault…” just sounds as if you don’t give a damn and are trying to pass the buck. Even if the problem entirely the fault of another party it is still impacting your customers and you need to apologise to them and sound like you mean it, as you did. You can always follow up the apology at a later point with fuller details of what went wrong and who caused it.

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Well the person who wrote it didn’t -

but more importantly, you’re not saying anything that hasn’t been said already in that comment so I’m not sure what point you were trying to make?

I have no doubt you’ve written plenty of updates, I’m just the type of person that can chew out a flaw with something that’s actually okay. For yours (going overboard, and including style):

“We’re very sorry for any difficulties you experience as a result of [you’re making it clear that it’s them not us as part of the apology] acquirer’s difficulties [repetition of difficulty] in processing transactions [so many long words close together] for our cardholders [impersonal] [too long without punctuation], we are offering whatever assistance we can to help them clear it. [If you can offer meaningful assistance, why is it a 3rd party service; or you are offering, not working with; or are you going to follow up? Do they have an ETR? But I’m being picky at this point…]”

The second one you wrote sounds much better to me: short, separated the apology and the 3rd party fault, and sounds like you are still taking action. But that’s the joy of writing an update to millions of people, someone’s always going to not like it.

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Are you not doing the same by calling out the comment that’s already there? I’m fairly sure, like you, mirow reads all the contributions.

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I had read his reply but I bit my tongue and refrained from responding in the vague hope that it would prevent the verbal ping pong we see go back and forth when he disagrees with another user.

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Tbf we’re still here.

No-one here has left because of a (possibly too apologetic) outage update.

We don’t know the number of active users who became dormant after the outage - only Monzo does.

TL;DR for peeps seeing this thread (and the previous closed one) for the first time:

  • Product still works.
  • Staff are chill and open about it.
  • Money is safe.
    All’s well.
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That’s why I asked the question.

[https://twitter.com/tescobankhelp/status/980151293539995648]

I much prefer Monzo’s communication compared to this example from Tesco Bank. Perfect example of a company not identifying the customers actual issue and laying the blame at circumstance and not actually admitting that their systems are crap…

I sent a “faster payment” from Tesco at 5pm yesterday (Sat) and it reached my RBS account today…not particularly helpful…

Monzo.me all the way in the future I think!

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