System status pages aren’t just for high-tech services

31Mar11

From time to time, I run into an annoying but non-critical issue in my building. For instance, the hot water may only be flowing at half of the regular water pressure, or the air conditioning is a little less effective than usual. I’ve learned not to bother with reporting these problems, since the conversation always goes something like this:

Me: Is there a known problem with the air conditioning?

Building staff: Nope, it’s fine.

Me, the next day: So I guess they fixed that AC problem, huh?

Building staff: Yeah, it was a building-wide outage.

In these cases, maintenance work or a minor equipment failure is typically the culprit. And someone from the building staff usually knows about the issue. Yet this info never trickles down to the customer base — in this case, the residents.

What’s the solution? Take a cue from the high-tech world, and create a system status page on the building website that shows the status of these basic services. Aside from critical issues, this page should also list minor problems that might be affecting multiple customers. Finally, include some sort of notification when something is simply being worked on, since weird problems tend to crop up during otherwise normal maintenance visits.

Even if the implementation of the status page is rather rudimentary, it’s bound to be far better than forcing residents to call the building staff every time there’s a nagging issue. As an added bonus, fewer phone calls reduces the work load for the building employees, enabling them to focus on other things — like actually addressing the problems in the first place.



2 Responses to “System status pages aren’t just for high-tech services”

  1. I totally agree. I’ve created a site called OffsiteStatus that aims to make these types of pages quick & easy to setup. Take a look at http://www.offsitestatus.com to check it out.

  2. Thanks Bryce. I checked out your website, and it looks like a very useful service. I especially like how the status info can be updated through both manual and automated methods, which makes the product ideal for a wide range of usage cases.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s