I had a couple of interesting conversations with clients this week about customer support, service and hosting. The first is a client who is currently moving their hosting to TTMG Internet despite having recently renewed their hosting with their UK based provider.
The reason this makes any financial sense at all is that at the time of the renewal, when they were a couple of days late in paying their bill, the service provider just cut off their email. Without any warning. The invoice was warning enough they thought. No doubt they also thought – “that’ll teach yah!”. They were right of course, the client took the lesson on board very well and changed their service provider.
The second client has had their site built by TTMG Internet, but has it hosted with an Eastern European company they have used for a while. In this instance the client had paid the bill on time, but the hosting company decided to move the site to another server. To be fair, server re-organisation has to happen from time to time, so no one could argue with that. However, in this instance, they seem to have forgotten to tell the client. This is wrong, but not seriously so if the transition is seamless. However, it is doubly wrong if, as this company did, you also expect the client to change some settings to make sure the transfer works properly.
This omission meant that the when the site files were moved, the first the client knew about it was when they got an alert from TTMG Internet that the site was down. When the relevant client representative then enquired as to why the site was down he was told that they had been informed of the change and that they they should have changed the (DNS) settings as instructed.
To cut a long story short, after prompting, the hosting company did what they should have done in the first place, changed the settings themselves. However, the consequence to the client was loss of his web site for more than 24 hours and loss of email for at least 8 hours.
These are just two examples of where customer support, service or any sort of care is completely lacking in the hosting companies concerned. However, these are not rare example and I am sure any group of small business people, especially, will have a string of similar horror stories.
While late payment by clients is a constant irritation, it does not remove the duty of care that the hosting company has in providing the hosting service to make sure the client understand the consequences of late payment and due warning before any loss of service is applied.
For TTMG Internet the issue is not customer service, support or anything like it is ‘client’ service and support. Customers just pay for services, clients are under our care. While we expect our clients to pay their bills on time we also understand the challenges of running small businesses and the importance of speaking to people. We will also never expect a client to undertake technical work on our behalf.