Worst Customer Service of My Life, Part 7 of Many

Thursday, 22 September 2005 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

So for nearly two weeks now, we’ve been looking at a hosting company with whom I had a beyond poor experience. I know from web searches as well as employees at the company (mostly the Canadian support techs who tried to help me) that I’m far from the only person who had those terrible experiences.

Who’s fault is it? Whose head should roll in a company when something like this happens?

Let’s start at the bottom. Is my experience the fault of the lowest techs? Yes, they bear some blame. They were the people who created my technical problems, and then later, couldn’t or didn’t want to fix them. There are definitely some broken links in the tech department.

What about billing? Well, I don’t like the choices billing made with respect to my accounts. Why charge me for accounts I’ve cancelled? Why charge me for services I didn’t order? Why refuse to give me any kind of refund once you understood my problems? There were helpful people in billing, but the email "support" I got was not helpful.

When a large company has a few bad workers, you either retrain them, get them into jobs better for their strengths, or you fire them. Weak links gone, company running well.

What about people at the management level? Tech supervisors weren’t able to get my problems fixed. My reseller account rep, who seemed to manage people, got nothing done for me and then stopped returning my calls/emails. The VP of Pretending to Care About Client Services never contacted me. That’s Gary, and the "pretending to care about" was added in by me. You have a VP of Client Services who never called or emailed a client experiencing the worst of your company. You could learn from what I went through, or you could just apologize, but you don’t care. Hence my new title for you.

Management either created or OK’ed the plan to move the hosting accounts from the old company to them they way they did. That’s what started ALL of my problems. Sites activated weeks after their files were transferred (activating old sites or losing days of blog-style posts we couldn’t recreate). Email not working. Database websites not working. And from what I understood from tech support, that was the plan. They moved some sites KNOWING the data was old, but "thought it would be OK." Nobody leaves this to tier 1 or 2 techs, so management either came up with this plan or were OK with a plan they saw.

When a company like this has failure at all levels, the fault is at the management level. I can’t say that strongly enough.

  • Management is not hiring the right people. If your staff are creating problems, that’s bad. If your staff then can’t fix them, that’s double bad.
  • Management was OK with the plan to migrate the accounts.
  • Management didn’t contact me even after emails and phone reps swore that the VP of Pretending To Care About Client Services cared about my experiences and would be contacting me. My reseller rep never got in touch with me again.
  • As I cancelled accounts, nothing was triggered to try to fix my problems other than weak customer service emails asking how they can "make" me stay. See previous blog entries for one of those! Management should have something in place to save a situation before clients jump ship.

I recently read that for every customer who complains to you, there are 26 with the same problem or concern who don’t bother getting in touch with you. I complained every chance I got, including in writing. I estimate that between the time on the phone with Fat Cow, the time emailing them, and the time trying to fix my sites, I spent approximately 180 hours over 3 months on things I should never have had to spend my time.

I never should have been left to clean up my own site problems. I never should have been left FIGHTING support and billing to understand my problems. That’s a purpose of CRM software. Look at what the last 3 people I spoke to wrote, and stop asking me for information you already have. That’s a waste of my time. I should never have had to fight billing to NOT charge me for accounts that were already cancelled. There are so many things I should never have to have done that highlight what’s wrong at this company.

As I was saying, the fault is at the management level. Hi, Eric, my former Reseller Account Manager. Hi Gary, the man I like to call the VP of Pretending to Care About Client Services. And look! A migration team! These people were cool with everything that happened to me. They planned it!

So what will they do next? What would you do if this happened at your company? How far would you let this problem get? How many accounts would have to leave? How many resellers would have to jump ship, taking their accounts and clients with them? How many "negative feedbacks" do you have to get before you realize the problem is YOU?

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Categories: That's Bad Marketing

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