Customer service. Wow.. there’s a concept for you to take in for a moment. Every interaction you have with ANY company, whether it’s buying a pack of smokes at a gas station, or purchasing a car, or a home, requires that the employee/manager/cashier/floor person have at least some degree of customer service skill. If you hire people with bad customer service skills, you will soon find your customers going away quite quickly.
I originally intended to relay the story of my hijacked yahoo account, but something more pressing, and quite frankly, unbelievable occurred today.
I moved all 5 of my domains to a new host provider, Virtuoso Net Solutions. I set up two separate accounts, and spent approximately $300 for a year’s worth of hosting. Initially, Virtuoso Net Solutions seemed to be a perfect match for me, they emailed me when a server needed to be rebooted, and I had not had to contact technical support for any issues… that is until last week.
My email server stopped responding for about 8 hours… I went through Virtuoso’s online “Help” page to submit a ticket. One of the requested pieces of information on the online form was a “Customer Number” to which they could tie the trouble ticket. I spent roughly 20 minutes looking through my control panel, and on the Virtuoso account home page and discovered no such number. I used ‘1234’ since the form of course required some numerical input in the field.
The trouble ticket was submitted, and roughly 8 hours later the response was: “The server was experiencing issues during a routine backup. All is functional now.”
Great. Makes sense.
Then this morning I discover that once again my email server was down, and additionally, I could not log in to my control panel for either account. Virtuoso’s ‘server status’ page listed everything as normal. I decided after 2 hours to submit a help ticket. What follows is an exact play by play account of the correspondence I sent and received.
My initial email submitted via the ticket system:
Both of these domains [mentioned in the subject of the form] are giving ‘timeout’ errors when trying to connect to the email servers, or logging in to the control panel.
This has been going on for the past 2 hours.
Date: April 26, 2006 12:47:20 PM PDT
How about copying / pasting the error messages? This would help and is required when submitting tickets such as this.
I feel I need to point out that I received this response via EMAIL… on the account that I was just notifying them was not working… and had not been for over 2 hours… and while I will readily admit that I may have been a bit quick to read attitude into the response, other people who have read this also sense the attitude.
I responded, again via the support ticket system:
How about a little less attitude?
I would have pasted the error message if there were an error message to post. My browser on multiple computers would not connect to the control panel and mail client simply said ‘connection timed out’.
Hence why I notified you that I was receiving ‘timeout’ errors.
Funny enough, the problem has ‘magically resolved’ itself since I submitted this ticket. Seems the pasted error message wasn’t really necessary for the problem to be diagnosed and resolved.
And then it turned strange:
Date: April 26, 2006 1:07:27 PM PDT
I highly suggest YOU refrain from your attitude.
“Seems the pasted error message wasn’t really necessary for the problem to be diagnosed and resolved”
Your a fool. No one “diagnosed” anything so be silent and dont’ assume much. You only make a fool of yourself. If we diagnosed it withou the message we requested, then we would not have asked for the informatin in the first place.
Now because of your low class attitude your account is suspended until you apologize.
Do I really even have to say anything about this? Other than the fact that veins began popping out of my forehead, and my inner queen suddenly began singing “R-E-S-P-E-C-T.”
I debated for a while about exactly how I wanted to respond to this email, and decided that I was not going to deal with this lunatic any more than I had to… I thought at first that I should at least try calling and speaking to someone in management at Virtuoso to give the an opportunity to make this right. A call to 631.968.4151 only netted me what sounds like a home answering machine, I left a message asking for the Technical Support Manager in charge to call me back as soon as possible. Since it was beginning to look more and more like this “company” only has one employee, I began backing up all of my files from the server, my wordpress files, and contacted a new host provider, Host Gator, to set up new service.
Then I sent:
Dear Whatever-your-name-is, [funny he never signed his name]
It has become quite apparent that you are most likely a one man operation, since you believe you can speak to your customers with such vehemence… so obviously complaining to your manager will not resolve this issue.
I will have to resolve this the only way I know how. I am a frequent contributor to no less than 10 blogs, including one that has well over a million site visits a week. Additionally, I am quite well connected to a large collective of northern California free-lance web designers who are always looking for a good host provider.
I am currently writing an article detailing the abysmal customer service you have provided me. I will link to Virtuoso Net Solutions’ home page, and I will include the phone number and email address. I am making it my personal mission to make sure that by the end of next week, any Google search for your company, will turn up a transcription of this interchange. Customers will stay away from you in droves.
I have two separate hosting accounts setup with your company, [site1] and [site2]. I wish to IMMEDIATELY cancel those accounts, and I am DEMANDING a full refund be issued within 72 hours. Failing to provide the refund will force me to escalate this situation into a civil court matter.
The refund needs to be submitted to:
[my work address]
Have a nice day.
Almost immediate response:
Date: April 26, 2006 2:54:18 PM PDT
I have forwarded your threat to our corporate lawyer.
This is not a one man operation, but by your numerous assumptions you do just that, assume too many things.
Your threats will cost you for libel and you will be prosecuted for every damage incurred to this company without a doubt.
When that happens, you will find out the operation here and your behavior is the one unacceptable.
This has been forwarded to several authorities and legal team.
WTF? ‘by your numerous assumptions you do just that, assume too many things.’ Huh? And I’d like to know, to which “authorities” did this get sent?
Authority: “Hello, New York State Police Department”
VirtuosoGenius: “I’d like to report numerous assumptions and libel threats to my company.”
Authority: ” … ”
And before I could get another email sent back to him, I received:
Date: April 26, 2006 3:01:51 PM PDT
In addition, to show you how foolish you are you submitted an invalid customer number
of “1234”. Couldn’t possibly be more naive could you?
Now I’m just out to have some fun. I’m already in the process of moving everything over to a new host, and frankly, I was getting excited about just how much fun writing this out would be.
So I sent:
You must be a famous humorist, because this response makes me laugh in a way I haven’t laughed in a long time. Thanks!
Great, if it’s not a one man operation, I wish to speak directly to your supervisor. I left my number on your corporate sales voice mail.
Just to give you a hand, I shall introduce you to something called the DICTIONARY… (since it is quite apparent from your atrocious grammar and spelling that you are not familiar with one) more specifically, the entry for “libel” :
1 Law a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation; a written defamation. Compare with slander .
Just in case you are missing the point, and I’m quite certain that you are, the operative word in that definition is FALSE. Being that I have all the emails directly from you, complete with IP address headers, and being that this interchange actually *DID* take place, there is no argument that I am disclosing false information to the entire world. Additionally, I am expressing my OPINION that you are a pinheaded asshole.
I’m sure whatever ‘authorities’ you forwarded this to are getting quite a laugh at your expense. I know my friends and colleagues are.
By the way, in response to your ‘jab’ at my entering ‘1234’ as a customer number, point out where on your website, or my control panel that my customer number can be found, and I’ll happily provide it to you.
Date: April 26, 2006 3:49:09 PM PDT
Thank you. Your response is added to the information passed on to the company lawyer, including your insults and further threats.
In regards to your customer number, its in your original welcome email. Common sense is a great thing.
Any further contact from you will be considered harassment. I suggest you refrain from contacting us again. Your abusive behavior has already cost you time in the court room. Your disbelief will be reversed to belief when the letter arrives in your mail box.
Further threats? Where? Common sense? It’s doesn’t make any sense to me to require a customer to look up an email from who knows how long ago in order to find a meaningless number just to notify the company that their servers are not working properly.
I for one, can not wait for the letter to arrive in my mail box… and I promise to share it when and if it does arrive.
My next response to this brainiac will be a link to this post… just so he doesn’t have to search too hard for it. What I really can’t wait to share with you is a tiny piece of information listed on the home page of VirtuosoNetSolutions.com that normally I would have caught immediately… my friend Dan brought it to my attention:
Virtuoso Net Solutions, Bad Customer Service, Internet Host, Server Provider, Rant