It feels rather anti-climactic, honestly, at this point. I mean, I got all of my data back, I’m happily running on a much better server through a company with awesome customer support (Fusix! We love Fusix!), and so maybe it doesn’t really matter that WiredHub fucked up royally last week, at this point.
Except that it does. It matters for a few reasons. It matters because they’re a service provider that failed to provide, you know, basic service. It matters because their customer service is atrocious and in this day and age, businesses simply cannot afford to treat their customers badly and not feel the impact. (Well, unless you have a monopoly on a given service in an area, not that I’m thinking of anyone COMCASTIC in particular.) It matters because I was treated like I’m stupid and OH NO HONEY, I DON’T THINK SO.
And it matters because thanks to this little thing I like to refer to as “free speech,” I’m going to tell you all about it. And you are going to tell your friends about it. And they will tell their friends. And maybe my pals at WiredHub will change their business practices, or maybe they will just continue treating their few remaining customers like garbage. I mean, I suppose it’s their choice.
Let’s start not with what WiredHub did wrong, but with what I should’ve done differently. I’m perfectly willing to take the blame for my mistakes in this scenario. If you’re a fellow online type, listen up here. Although many of my readers know me only through this here blog, the situation I found myself in last week thanks to WiredHub’s outage was critical to my business for several reasons. I run three different web sites—the bulk of my freelance business—as well as my business email through a hosting provider. This blog going down is a pain in the butt, but THIS is not what I was so upset about.
So, my mistakes:
1) I wasn’t backing up often enough. This falls squarely on me and I take the blame willingly. I used to back up my blogs once a week, which I hadn’t even been doing lately. I now know that once a week is not often enough, and I also know that I should’ve had a backup of everything ELSE, as well. 100% my fault; lousy practices, and I have since revamped how I personally deal with backing up my data.
2) I settled for poor customer service before this. Last week’s debacle with WiredHub was certainly the worst outage they’ve had in the time that I’ve been with them, but it’s not the only one. And guess what! Their response to other (smaller) problems was predictive of how they’d respond during a larger crisis. That is, their customer service sucked hairy donkey balls even when the problem wasn’t very big, so what did I expect when things really blew up? The VERY FIRST TIME they had an outage and responded slowly and non-informatively, I should’ve switched providers.
3) I tried to save money. Yeah, you read that right. It pains me to admit this. I’m the bargain queen! I am all about saving a buck! Well, there are some places where you can’t cut corners, and this is one of them. This does not, by the way, excuse WiredHub—their web site boasts a “Rapid Response Guarantee” and “Guaranteed 99.9% Uptime” (both of which are apparently optional, or at least they were last week)—but nevertheless, I am willing to accept the blame of having tried to save some money at the expense of service I needed. Because none of my sites involve a lot of data transfer, I CAN go with a basic hosting package and it will meet my needs in the sense that I’ll have enough storage and bandwidth. But it shouldn’t have taken a crisis for me to learn that paying more for more service is the right way to go in this scenario.
Those are the things I’m willing to cop to in this situation.
Now. Let’s talk about WiredHub.
Back during a previous outage—when I was opening service tickets and pulling my hair out—it did occur to me to ask their customer service if there was some way I could upgrade to a different package. Say, one where they actually responded to problems and had redundant servers and such? While they were very quick to suggest a much more expensive “business services” package for my consideration, after a few questions it was revealed that the difference between THAT package and the one I was already on was mostly that it cost more. So I should’ve taken the clue and run like hell then, I guess. Heck, even the CSR I was corresponding with (via email, always via email, because NO HUMAN BEINGS WORK AT WIREDHUB, or—at the very least—no humans are allowed to answer the phone there) reviewed my usage and remarked that there was really no reason to upgrade, as mostly what the other package offered was more storage.
But I know what you’re thinking. “Mir!” you’re thinking, “What exactly happens at WiredHub when there’s a service outage?”
Oh, my darlings. It’s magical.
First of all, there’s no notification of any kind, of course. Once you open a service ticket, you get to wait hours for someone to respond and say “Huh. Okay, we’re working on it.” And if you are EXTRA SUPER LUCKY, you get to have an exchange like I did last week where first they tell you one thing, then they tell you another, and as the hours tick by and your frustration grows, you ask to speak to a supervisor, and then of course the fine folks at WiredHub ignore that request—and why not, they’ve pretty much ignored everything else you asked for/about—and so in your NEXT response to their non-information (which at this point can be summed up with “blah blah blah not sure blah blah blah working on it”) you end with:
Thanks for letting me talk to a supervisor, by the way. Oh, that’s right—you didn’t. Duly noted. Well, once I get my business back on track and finish apologizing to folks who were unable to access my services for an entire business day, I will be sure to spread the word about the awesome service I received here at WiredHub.
[My favorite part here is how this was after just a day of being down, before I had any idea that when all was said and done we’d be looking at three and a half days of down time.]
And then the next thing that happens is that a CSR SCOLDS YOU for being sarcastic:
We have been very professional with you thus far, and don’t deserve the level of sarcasm that you have portrayed in this ticket because a supervisor wasn’t available at the time.
Poor WiredHub! They do not deserve my sarcasm after an entire day of basically telling me to go pound sand while they finish playing Halo! And it’s funny, because I never thought of myself as particularly psychic, but apparently their failure to even ADDRESS my request for a supervisor in any way meant that golly gee, honest, we looked for one but one wasn’t available, and I SHOULD’VE KNOWN THIS despite their not having SAID A WORD. Yep. That’s professional.
And then you might respond thusly:
No, the support team has been polite. And at this point I suppose I have ceased to be, owing to the huge frustration I am experiencing. Professional would be responding to my ticket in a timely manner (no), giving an estimated uptime (no), and fixing the problem within a reasonable period of time (also no). I am not asking for the moon here; I am asking for the service promised to me in return for my payment. WiredHub has failed to deliver on all counts, and while I suppose I could be silent or pretend that this is okay with me, I am quite simply appalled.
I’m sure that everyone on the support staff who responded to me today are very nice guys and good at their jobs and kind to small animals and all of that. I am not angry with THEM (or you). I am quite upset with the service model here, however. I cannot conduct business with an unreliable hosting service. Not only has the service been unreliable but the reaction has been lackluster. Neither of which falls under the definition of professional.
The response to your clarification in this matter will be… deafening silence.
I waited another twelve hours before sending in another ticket to note that HEY WIREDHUB, YOU SEEM TO STILL BE DEAD HERE, and in a super-timely response (over three hours later) was told quite cheerfully that “this is definitely not a normal situation” (gee, YA THINK?) and they still had no ETA on a system restoration, but that I would be receiving a full credit for this month’s service charge! All I would need to do would be to OPEN ANOTHER GODDAMN TICKET to request it!
It was right around here that my head exploded.
At this point I went and breathed into a paper bag for a while before responding, and when I did finally point out that nothing seemed to be happening, I was told that things would be up that night or the next morning at the earliest.
The next morning everything was still dead. So I responded to the original ticket (because I am a glutton for punishment, and no matter how many times WiredHub responded with nonsense, I just felt deep in my hopeful little heart that EVENTUALLY they’d have to say SOMETHING that made sense), and I also went ahead and opened a ticket directly with management at WiredHub.
I detailed the saga thus far, pointing to the open tickets so they could read the previous conversation, and closed with:
I am addressing this ticket to management as I find it incomprehensible that you are aware that this is how your service is being run. First I was scolded by your technical staff for being sarcastic (which, funny, is a side of me that comes out when my entire business is taken offline by a company promising 99.9% uptime), then I was lied to by your sales staff. Is there anyone at WiredHub who will actually help me fix this problem?
The response was just as awesome as everything I’d been told previously, and it was delivered with the LIGHT SPEED PROMPTNESS that only WiredHub can offer, which is to say that it arrived THREE DAYS LATER:
I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. This was probably one of the worst issues we have had with a server and it was not a pleasant experience for any of us. I can assure you however, that our staff would have assisted you and provided you with an ETA if they could.
We are working on a new website design which will allow server updates and information right on our website for better communication in such instances.
Dontcha just feel all warm and fuzzy inside, after reading that? I know I did. I mean, hey! They apologize for the inconvenience!
The next time I completely fail to deliver on the services which I’ve promised a client, I am going to apologize for the inconvenience which this has caused. I think that’ll go over really well.
Interestingly enough, the ONLY ticket I opened during this ordeal (and there were, I think, six total that ended up being part of this) that was responded to in under an hour was the one where I let them know that they should cancel my service. That one they hopped right on, although of course they completely ignored my lengthy explanation of how disappointed I was in WiredHub’s service. There was no apology, no acknowledgment of the fact that I am leaving them for another service provider because they completely failed to do what they were contracted to do.
WiredHub does not keep their word.
I, on the other hand, do. I told them I would be sharing their awesome customer service with the world, and I am. That’s WiredHub. WiredHub. Share the love, people.