For thousands of users, the social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website Reddit was recently down for a few hours, showing an error screen with a code 503, after taking a long time in trying to load any pages. The platform also has its own status page, where users can track whether Reddit is working or not, and note where they might encounter any errors in their navigation.
According to this status page, the platform reported an “elevated level of API errors” and the popular website status platform Downdetector saw a spike in user reports of problems on the platform.
Throughout the outage, the company took to Twitter to inform and assure its users that the internal “team of Technical People” were working on solving the issue, and continued communicating with some Twitter users throughout the outage. Once the problem was resolved, the company informed its users via Twitter once again.
Crises like this one are quite common in today’s digital world, and most companies prepare well enough beforehand to anticipate them. Although there are some bigger crisis situations that can be devastating to a company’s reputation, most of them can be managed.
The best way for companies to handle any situation that can negatively impact its credibility, reputation, or brand, is to have a crisis PR plan prepared beforehand. With a crisis PR plan, the company will be able to outline any potential situation and create an appropriate response to it, thereby saving plenty of time and resources when a crisis situation does strike.
In the case of Reddit, the platform has gone through a number of outages and errors over the years, which is why the company was quickly able to provide a response to its users this time, and frequently updated them via social media. It’s apparent that the company has a smart crisis PR action plan, which was quickly implemented by the relevant people during the crisis, and proceeded with speed.
Aside from a crisis PR plan, companies should also be transparent and honest in their communications and responses to crisis situations. Companies should never engage with lies, unethical behaviors, or deceit, as those bad behaviors can easily end up in the news, which can further damage a company’s reputation and credibility. Although the information that’s shared with the public and with media outlets has to be carefully chosen, it should always be truthful.
There is no need to blame anyone, and if the company is not at fault, there is no need to assume responsibility or blame for the crisis situation either. Reddit also handled this PR crisis well, as the company was transparent in identifying the issue and informing its users, as well as informing them when the problem was finally resolved.. The issue appeared and was resolved in a short amount of time, with the company being transparent and informative towards its users, which made for effortless navigation of the crisis.