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How NOT to Customer Service

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Hello, my name is Lindsay and I have a confession to make.

I am not a patient person.

There, I admitted it. That's the first step, right?

I loathe lines and have gladly given lots of dollars for status at airlines and the TSA to skip or shorten lines that I would otherwise have to stand in. I get tense when my Netflix loads slowly. I actively use Waze to avoid traffic jams. I refuse to push all the buttons at the prompts for phone trees when calling the utility companies and just press 0 until I reach a person. I stare down the waitstaff when I need my bill, want to order, or need more water (though, in my defense, I don't shake the ice in the empty cup at them)

I'm well aware my lack of patience is not a nice trait to have. And I live in the South. I should be okay with a slightly lower pace for things.


When you tout your company as having excellent customer service, or offer options with dedicated lines for customers who have given you money to avoid waiting, there's a certain level of customer service you're expected to deliver on.

customer service

The image immediately above is from a recent encounter with Blue Host. For a website we manage, Blue Host is the host. We were having issues with our site load time and worked with them to move to an "optimized" site that gave us better site load speed, as well as a dedicated technical support line, in addition to the access to their live chat and their Twitter tech help. This was considered a big boon because it's several great options to get quick answers as we're making some big shifts with the website soon (or so we thought).

We had done our research before making this switch. We had a healthy level of expectation for customer service, even with my patience problem.

For three days in a row now, though, we've been having issues. The website was completely offline after 12 hours of making the shift because they forgot to add in new A records for the new IP address. We didn't make that change because they told us they would. After 2 hours waiting for our "Dedicated" help line to be answered, while concurrently trying their live chat (never did get through there), we were able to resolve the issue.

The very next day, we tell the client: website should be fixed; let us know if you see anything weird. Almost immediately, we discover that two pages are missing. But we can't get access to the admin side of the website any longer to figure out where they disappeared to.

We repeat the same experience from the day before.

We finally get a representative on the phone who then tells us he doesn't have access to that. Sends us somewhere else. Thankfully the somewhere else fixes it relatively quickly and we move on.

Then today, the SSL pages stop working. Our team has been trying since 8 am this morning to get through on phone and chat. We have also been tweeting at them. To their credit, the Twitter responded fairly quickly, which is how we discovered it wasn't just the second level pages that were messed up; it was the encrypted ones.

That was great, especially because about the time we discovered that on Twitter, the live chat guy popped up. We started exploring it deeper when in the middle of the conversation, without offering a way to resolve the issue, the chat rep signed off.

As you can see from the image, he did offer to get me to the next agent. But I never saw one.

I waited, then asked ??? if he was still there. And then sent a final chat request, saved the transcript for posterity, and started penning this post (after starting a new chat request because seriously we need to fix the problem today).

I also asked their Twitter handle for a direct supervisor's number because we have officially moved past where customer service should be. No response yet though.

(Actually, I think we moved past where it should have been two days ago, but maybe that's my patient pants fitting wrong.)

If you interact with customers of any kind, please remember that TIME MATTERS. My time is valuable. I had twenty other things I needed to do today and instead, my attention has been focused on this.

CREDIBILITY ALSO MATTERS. Blue Host has really dinged their credibility with us as well based on these experiences. They've been difficult to use, tough to get through to, and unable to fix everything in one sitting.

Finally, if nothing else, MONEY MATTERS. My money will go somewhere else as soon as our subscription expires. We paid extra for the tech support. Didn't get it. We paid extra for the SSL; wasn't installed correctly. We paid extra for the admin functionality; wasn't able to use it until we were instructed on a back-end way in due to a bug no one mentioned until after we purchased.