While your systems are down, what will your customers do?

With 47% of businesses suffering from unplanned downtime in the last year alone, it’s not a case of if disaster will strike, but when.

It’s not all fires and floods either, 95% of businesses experienced outages for reasons unrelated to natural disasters. Are you prepared for a system failure, cyber-attack, or simply human error?

The effects of an outage can be extensive: loss of productivity, loss of data, damage to staff morale, reputation, the list goes on. If you suffer any downtime, especially if it is prolonged, the impact is felt across the business. There are so many factors to consider that a third of businesses surveyed were not sure what the actual cost of an outage was to the business.

The faster you fix things, the better, but where will your customers go if you’re down for even an hour? British Airways were down for just 15 minutes and customers suffered for over a week. If you can’t keep your customers happy, a competitor will.

British Airways

When British Airways’ suffered a power outage, tens of thousands of customers were affected. A contractor made an error with a generator and this caused 15 minutes of downtime. Not much downtime, but it took 3 days to get back to working at full capacity again, with some customers waiting over a week to get their bags back.

The results could be seen all over the news: queues, frustrated, stranded customers missing flights, holidays, weddings, business meetings. It didn’t look good for BA. However, not all customers stayed at the airport. With costly holidays and important engagements to make, many took matters into their own hands. And Ryanair gleefully welcomed them.


Just after they were acquired by Facebook, a WhatsApp outage left the majority of its customers unable to use the service. Speculating that this would become the norm under the new ownership, they returned to their respective app stores in search of a replacement. Almost 5 million of them selected Telegram – making the app the number 1 iPhone app in 48 countries whilst WhatsApp was down.

With WhatsApp struggling, now was Telegram’s chance to capitalise. Unfortunately for them, Telegram was the real loser here. The unexpected demand caused 2 hours of major service disruption, leaving many of the new customers to return to WhatsApp. A huge chance to take a significant chunk of customers from one of their main competitors – missed.

What does this mean to you?

So if you’re thinking about disaster recovery and trying to decide whether it is worth the investment, don’t forget to consider your customers. How much is your company worth to them? And will they stick around if you aren’t able to deliver your usual standards of service?

Make sure that you know exactly what you can and can’t afford to lose – and plan your disaster recovery strategy around this.

If you need any help with strategy or implementation of disaster recovery, or simply want to know what is possible, contact SICL.

info@sicl.com 0345 459 1995