I’d like to tell you about a service experience I had today which illustrates that how a company handles inquiries has a lasting effect. It consisted of one service experience that had two very different outcomes.
On one end of the spectrum I received great customer service, and on the other end the horrendous service was off-the-chart it was so bad.
I run and administer a number of websites and naturally those sites are regularly monitored. A particular website (IP address) was attempting to gain access to one of the servers. Thousands upon thousands of times. It was very clearly a hacking attempt.
Most people, even full-fledged IT administrators, would have simply made sure that their security protocols were in place and moved on. As those who know me will attest to, I am not like most people. And I was irritated enough that I decided to do something about it.
I researched the IP address. The company hosting the IP Address is Media Temple a company that sells hosting and domain addresses. They are not a mom and pop operation, They are a large international company that was acquired by GoDaddy and power more than 1.5 million websites for 100,000+ customers.
I visited their well-designed website that touts their many services, and I was impressed since they claim to be experts in WordPress, the platform that I use. The site also has a well-designed blog with a number of quality tech-minded contributors. Once I spoke to someone about the matter at hand I had planned on spending some time reading their blog.
I located their phone number, called them and was greeted by a recording that provided two choices; support or sales.
The recording stated that if you do not have a PIN number for support then you can’t obtain any. That means that their customers most likely pay for support. As someone who is a huge proponent of great guest service, the whole tone of the recording in my opinion could be construed as slightly offensive to customers.
That was only the beginning of what was to come.
Even though I didn’t have a PIN I stayed on the line anyway and was connected to a support person. I immediately told the representative that I did not have a PIN and that my server was being attacked by an IP address that they host. Right off the bat, she said she was unable to help. I persisted and she pleasantly suggested I look on the website and send an email which I had already done when I looked up their IP. I asked to be connected to the IT department or a Supervisor — anyone for that matter — and she said she was not allowed to transfer calls.
Now just to be fair websites are attacked everyday and that it why there are email addresses to report abuse but that it is not even the point about this experience. It’s about the customer service, or the lack thereof, and the missed opportunities to obtain future customers.
I went back to the website, saw the same toll free number that I had called and one other phone number listed as the press contact.
On my second call I used the toll free number again and this time selected the sales option. I was connected almost immediately. After I told him the reason for my call, the salesman offered to connect me to support. I told him that support could not help me because they can’t transfer calls and he said that he could not help me either. Just like that. I had the distinct feeling that he knew that support could not help me and was just trying to pass the call off.
At this point most people would have given up. After all there was no problem on my end. A good portion of my adult life has been spent working in the casino industry where customer service is the lifeblood of the industry, so by now I was just very curious about the customer service provided by such a large company.
My third call was to the phone number listed as their press contact, Pascale Marchand.
I had already viewed the contact page and knew that Pascale is female yet a man picked up the phone and mumbled something so I asked if it was Media Temple and he said it was. I quickly told him about the reason for my call, and he said that he could not help me. What? Are all the Media Temple employees trained to provide this type of “service” to callers? I asked for an IT contact and he refused. Flat out refused. Told me there was no one I could talk to. I even tried to tell him that I write about things like this and that’s why I wanted to speak to someone to find out what actions they take against hackers, spammers and, — I coud not finish my sentence because… he hung up on me.
At this point I was simply floored, and the first thought that came to mind was thank God I didn’t select them as my hosting company.
Digging further because I am tenacious I found the actual company that was dealing with Media Temple, a Texas-based marketing company called Griffin Communications Group. Their contact information was easily accessible, unlike Media Temple, so I called them.
I briefly told the receptionist my issue and she said she’d connect me to their IT department. Just like that.
I spoke to Michael and told him about the attack. He patiently listened, asked a few technical questions, took down my contact information and told me he would investigate and get back to me. Michael also told me that he was fairly new to the company and worked more on the Windows end of things. I assured him that my system was secure, told him of the Media Temple runaround and let him know that at this point I was more curious than anything.
I received a call back from Michael as promised. There was an issue on their end that I will not detail here for security purposes. He apologized for what occurred, explained what had happened, assured me the issue was resolved and thanked me. Imagine that. He thanked me. A great customer service experience.
So what did I do after my great customer service experience? I took to social media.
I also wrote to Griffin Communications Group, via their website, to compliment them on their employee Michael. I visited and liked their Facebook page and left a nice comment. Since Griffin specializes in marketing, I’ve added them to the list of company’s that I may use in the future.
They immediately responded to my web inquiry via a well-crafted autoresponder, and included a contact email.
As for Media Temple, I sent an email to both of their WHOIS contacts listed and did not receive an acknowledgement or response. I sent an email to Pascale Marchand with a link to this article and sent a LinkedIn Inmail to Russ Reeder the President of Media Temple providing him with a link as well.
Will it make a difference? I’d like to think it would.
Russ Reeder, the young-ish ,wealthy and handsome President of Media Temple is likely very far removed from the day-to-day ops. His focus, according to his website which does not provide his contact information, is on the company’s brand, strategy and execution so he probably has no idea, or so I’d like to believe, about the poor service provided.
Their company’s about page prominently features their management team full of impressive titles and smiling faces, sans their contact information. I must admit that I chuckled at the Director of Employee Experience title.
Sounds like the rank and file personnel are in dire need of a comprehensive training program, or is that not part of the “Employee Experience” at Media Temple?
Seriously, though, I’d like to think that Reeder would expect much, much more from his staff and demand that they provide great customer service to current and potential customers so that others will not receive the abysmal service I received from Media Temple.
Great customer service leaves a lasting impression. So does poor service, but certainly not for the right reasons.