Bad customer support pisses me off

February 16, 2008 3:31 PM

Smiley and sad faces

A lot of thing pisses me off (I’m an angry guy, don’t you know? ;)) and one of them is bad customer support. Getting bad support grates on me because I have been working in customer support and service for a while. Having been on the other side of the fence, I can empathise with the poor lowly techs who have to take calls or emails from an angry customer, or an ignorant one.

That is why when I have to call in for support myself, I always handle it thus:

  • The tech serving me now may not be familiar with the history of my issues, so I shouldn’t show my impatience.
  • The tech is a person just doing his/her job so I should be polite.
  • The tech may not be able to handle my issue so I should request to escalate it if need be.

And due to my background in customer support, I also make sure I troubleshoot the issue extensively before I have to call it in. To a good tech, I am probably the best kind of customer that they’d want to deal with.

So having said all that, I deem the support to be horrible when the following happens:

  • Assuming that the customer is always wrong, and being adamant and arrogant about it.
  • Poor communication and mis-diagnosis of the problem, which leads to incorrect suggestions for resolution. And also, when “the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing”.
  • Making the customer wait a long time for replies or acknowledgment of a problem.
  • Allowing an old problem to reoccur without explaining why, and not doing anything to prevent a future occurrence.

To illustrate this, I will use the recent 2-day outage of my blog as an example. I didn’t know it at first but my blog was shut down due to the massively popular Edison Chen scandal story that I wrote (it had hit 20000 page views one day at its peak) – it was consuming too much resources from the server, slowing it down for all of their other customers’ sites. I had no issue with that because I don’t want someone else’s site slowing mine down either.

But the problem begins thus:

  1. Couldn’t access my site. Thought it was the usual server gremlins and I’d submitted a support ticket.
  2. First tech said, “we are rebooting it.”
  3. Second tech (9 hours later) said, “Your IP is blocked. Send us your IP”.
  4. I told them I tried accessing my site from three different geo-locations so it can’t be an IP block.
  5. Another 6 hours later, I was told by the third tech (the most helpful one of the bunch) told me that my site was locked down. Now why couldn’t the first tech had told me that?

I was very grateful for finally getting the right answer after a 16-hour wait but I was majorly pissed off by how it was handled. I appreciated the third tech who was polite and understanding about the problem but I feel sorry that he was working in the messed-up system of his company.

In case you are wondering, the web hosting company is Site5. This incident was the last straw on top of other problems, although minor in comparison, that kept reoccurring. And when they had happened, I had to always call their attention to it. A tech company with poor customer service, and which isn’t pro-active about correcting problems does not instill confidence in me.

And yes, this site is now hosted with another company called iMountain. I chose them after doing my research on Web Hosting Talk and found that they’ve got very satisfied customers who write nice things about them. For me, so far so good. I’m happy with their customer service and the faster speed that my site loads at now. 🙂

2 thoughts on “Bad customer support pisses me off

  1. blur ting

    Yah, we missed you for a couple of days. I guess it also means that the popularity of your site has grown and you need better facilities and support now than before.


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