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Customer support

Today I read a blog by Cameron Reilly entitled “my awesome customer support experience with Taskline”, and I realised that I have experienced some truly aweful and truly awesome service relating to my hosting providers.

About 2 years ago I started hosting with Brinkster… unfortunately I realised that they weren’t offering that great a value for money. So I moved to SleekHost (I might have moved somewhere else before then, but they’re the next one I remember) only to find hopeless support, that they did not do 1/2 of what they claimed on their advertising, and that their admin/control panel really sucked. So I moved to Instaspace, which was all fine and well, except that they didn’t offer .Net v1.1, their support people were hardly online, and even if they were online they were of no use because they could hardly understand english. They also had a very poor grasp of their own hosting environment, and I often found myself telling their support people what to do. So in a search for .Net v.1.1, I decided to move again.

By this time SleekHost had changed their offering, improved their control panels, and I’d grilled them about exactly what it was that they offered. They seemed to be ok, so I signed up. That was a BIG mistake! In the 28 odd days that I was with them, my site was operational for about 5. They were totally hopeless at responding to any problems I logged. The main one was that ASP.Net was giving me an error that basically said “I don’t have permission to read your web.config file, please fix it.” So I asked them to set the permissions on my site correctly, explaining the error in detail and how to fix it, and telling them how to confirm that it was working. The response I got was “We made one of your folders into an application, and it should now be working but we’re getting an error that says that you don’t have permission to read web.config.” Now, I’ve never ever seen a more useless support response than that. Nowhere did I ask them to make a folder into an application, and they simply repeated my problem to me. That reply only took them a few days to make (with some prodding for a response from my side). I replied to tell them that they were being idiots because my problem was still there, and that they’d done nothing to solve it. Its like me going to a doctor with a broken arm (and nothing else wrong with me), telling him what’s wrong and he says “Thanks for that. … Well here’s some medicine for your stomach ulcer, and by the way your arm is broken, I think you should look into it.”

Anyway, my site was down for a long time… I think the longest time it took them to reply to a problem was about 12 days. Eventually I’d had enough… And I stumbled upon SecureMate. Their signup process was flawless, their admin systems were excellent, and their support was brilliant. I was in awe!

Unfortunately a patch went wrong on the server’s admin systems and my site was out of order… but they responded quickly and moved my site to a new (soon to be in production) server of theirs to help me out. That was not such a great idea because when they moved the rest of the sites over to the new machine, they also moved a copy of my site from their old server, and suddenly my site stopped working. Their support people were quite good, despite some hassles with e-mail addresses of mine. I eventually got a phone call from them. They work in Singapore and I live in South Africa so that was quite impressive… I’m just a tiny little client of theirs, but they bothered to take the expense of calling me (an international call for them), and the problem was solved quickly. They’re one of the few companies I’ve found who will take responsibility when they’ve done something wrong, and will do their best to get it fixed. Recently I’ve set up this blog, so I wanted to add a SQL database to my hosting and have some folder permissions setup. Ordering and setting up the DB took a total of 20-30 minutes from my first e-mail to them to completion, and the folder permission changes were done within 15 minutes of my mails. Their support people are incredibly friendly in their approach to their customers. I love it!

Anyway, I thought I should rave a bit about them because they have totally blown me away, and all this for only about $8pm for my hosting!

To end off, here are some funnies I found on Nihit Kaul’s blog, he found them on “The Scobeleizer”. They are 2 movies… Behind the scenes at Microsoft and Every OS Sucks. Enjoy!

2 replies on “Customer support”

I know how you feel about sleekhost, i am with them now but not for long. I almost sure that Secutemate and sleekhost are the same different location.

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