Of these two issues, I have had numerous encounters with both of them. The first one is the easiest to resolve, in that you either get hold of the company or you don't. When I had problems with my Imac that I had just bought (the power button was not springing back up making the computer shut down and power up whenever it felt like it), I contacted Apple and had TS on the phone within 30 seconds on any of the few times I called them for this problem and other random questions. Apple clearly has, to my experience, one of the best TS departments in existence. When the TS staff didn't know the answer to one of my questions, they took my name and number down and called me back within 15 minutes with the answer. You can't beat that.
On the other hand, try contacting QPS for solutions on their never-working Que Drive (4x4x8x USB CDRW). If you have one of these drives, return them IMMEDIATELY and get a better drive. These drives are reported to fail almost 100% of the time, and once they do fail, they never work properly again. QPS TS is for the obvious reason, very hard to get hold of. Even when I wrote them an email claiming to be the purchaser for a major firm looking to install 100 or so of these drives across our network (which is not entirely untrue), it still took them over a week to get back to me (and their solution they emailed to me didn't even work). Quite obviously a bad example of TS, and quite the norm these days.
The second problem (and the main reason for this article) is the one I referred to in the introduction to this is the greater problem I believe. You call TS, they cannot solve the problem immediately, and then they claim they will work on it and get back to you. What is even worse, is if they say they will fix it by a certain time, and based on that, you pass that information on to a client/manager/boss, and then when they do not come through, you look like an idiot and quite probably lose money and reputation. My most recent example of this happened with a nationwide company called Abacus.
Picture this scenario:
Now I have over 25 different accounts hosted with them, so I am not a small client of theirs. I bring them over $1000 of business a month. They are apparently willing to eat that rather than stand by their guarantees. Their TS manager claims that nothing their TS staff said implied a guarantee. I don't know about you, but when someone tells me "It will be done by X date for sure" that is a guarantee. Management should take responsibility for their employees. Especially when guarantees have been made numerous times by various employees.
- Day 1: You recommend a web hosting service to your client based on the MIVA service they offer. You sign up with them and create the account.
- Day 2: You check back to see on the status of the account, only to be told it will take a few days. At this point this is acceptable.
- Day 3: Account is not active yet. TS is working on it.
- Day 4: Account active. Everything is okay with it EXCEPT they forgot to install the MIVA package, which is the whole reason the account was created. Call TS. They say it will be taken care of by the next working day.
- Day 5 Morning: Still not working. TS will take care of it "again" by later that day.
- Day 5 Evening: Still not working. TS is still working on it. Will be done by next day guaranteed. Based on this guarantee, I contact my client and inform them of the timeline and they fact I will have a proof up on their site by Monday (which is Day 8 in this timeline). Client wants a guarantee. So I give one based on TS. I contact TS again and confirm the timeline. Everything is on time according to them and they are aware of my guarantee and they will make it. No problem.
- Day 7: Panic sets in. No MIVA, no response from TS beyond "we are working on it". I contact TS management and they confirm it is being worked on and will be up on time.
- Day 8: No MIVA. I am out $1,000.00 in guarantees. TS is still working on it.
- Day 9: No MIVA. I am out $1,100.00 in guarantees. TS is still working on it.
- Day 10: No MIVA. I am out $1,200.00 in guarantees. TS is still working on it.
- Day 11: No MIVA. I am out $1,300.00 in guarantees. TS is still working on it. TS FINALLY gets it working.
- Day 12: Proof presented to client who is now happy, but for good reason thinks the hosting company is incompetent and wants to transfer the accounts out of their. I am in full agreement here. I contact TS and try to get them to reimburse me with the cost of my loss based on their guarantees.
- Day 13: Phone and email tag with management.
- Day 14: Phone and email tag with management.
- Day 15: Phone and email tag with management.
- Day 16: Phone and email tag with management.
- Day 17: Phone and email tag with management. Finally get a response that there is nothing they can do. They are not even willing to credit it to one of my other accounts (which has an actual cost to them of $0.00). Play some more tag.
- Day 18: Phone and email tag with management.
- Day 19: Phone and email tag with management.
- Day 20: Phone and email tag with management. Get a 2nd response that there is still nothing that they are willing to do.
The problem I have now is that I really don't want to take that $1,300.00 hit for nothing, and I really don't want to go through the bother of moving 25 accounts over to another ISP. Not only will it be time down for the clients, but also more expensive for the clients, as Abacus has really good pricing on their systems. I intend to contact the BBB and my local newspaper and TV station (the last two I have friends on the staff whom have both expressed interest in doing articles on this story).
Have you had similar experiences? Actually found a way to resolve these issues? Got any useful advice?
- Yes, I know I should never guarantee anything to a client.
- No, I will not actually lose the money, because the client understands.
- Yes, I am going to submit this story to Fox News and the San Diego Union Tribune.
- Yes, transfering to another ISP is a good solution, but I am not sure if it is worth the aggravation.