Business: Honesty is pretty important to your customers!

My hosting company (Fasthosts) has got on my tits this morning. This is not about a service issue or anything like that. It is because they have started a new campaign promoting, amongst other things, their excellent support service…

I’ve been with the company for over 11 years. In that time their technical support has been consistently terrible for a number of reasons, including:

  • Lack of technical knowledge in first level support staff and no access to “real” technical support staff, when the first level support staff prove themselves to be complete Muppets.
  • Providing misleading, or downright wrong information.
  • Never giving a followup once issue are resolved. All you get is, “It’s working now, your ticket is closed!”
  • Excessive times before answering phones/emails when you are trying to log a ticket.

These are just the highlights, so to speak…

So why have I not moved? I’ve looked into it several times and pretty much every UK-based hosting company that does what I need for a reasonable price have similar horror stories about support, so to some extent it is better the devil you know. It’s a cost/quality ratio that I am generally willing to put up with. I have recommended the company to technically proficient friends, saying things like, “They are pretty good as long as things are going well, but if you need support you are on your own.”

So the point of the post is, if you suck, don’t tell me you don’t suck! It’s dishonest and makes me want to write a rant like this. If you had just kept your gob shut I wouldn’t feel so angry. You would be better off spending your advertising budget on hiring some (more) decent staff!

When a company is good, people talk about it. When I hear stories about great technical support my ears prick up. Especially where support is concerned, if you are truly good, you don’t need to advertise the fact because everyone will already be talking about it. If you feel the need to advertise the quality of your support, it’s pretty much a sign that you are failing in that department.

Leaving me hanging on a phone queue with a message saying you value me as a customer is an insult. If you valued me, I would not be waiting on a queue!

So I guess the counter to this is, “Why don’t you pay more and get better service?” If that’s what you are thinking, you’ve missed the point of the post. I can live with crappy service. I just don’t like being told I am getting good service, when in fact it is crap!

Businesses are so preoccupied with presenting a certain image they forget to back it up. I truly believe that people value honesty much more and companies that delivered would command almost fanatical loyalty of their customers…

Cheers

Tim…

PS. I’ve got a cold and my throat hurts, so I’m going to take my grumpy ass back to bed…

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