Offshore Support

April 4, 2009

We were discussing FH’s current move to offshore their support responsibilities.

Now, over the last few years, we’ve had so many conversations with the existing UK team where we’ve been patronised, ignored, abused, treated like we are scum etc., that to be honest:

WE DONT THINK IT CAN BE ANY WORSE

However, we’re interested in what you think…

What DO you think about the prospect of Fasthosts support being hosted offshore?

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Would YOU do business with a company like this?

(Poll at the end of this post)

Fasthosts have updated their Terms & Conditions.  Amongst other things, they have clarified their cancellation policy.  If you are considering opening an account with Fasthosts, take care to read the policy, and decide for yourself if this is the sort of company you want to do business with:

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Gordon Brown has famously ripped a few Conservative policies in his brief time as our benevolent leader, but we expect that of the politicians don’t we.  Of course we have the right to vote them out….

Taking this leadership to heart (sic), Fasthosts have pulled a classic ‘Gordon’ by launching a new webmail service today (in Beta) that bears remarkable similarity to that being presented by one of their competitors ‘Heart Internet’.

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Your website is down, you can’t get email, staff and customers are complaining.

You know that a support call is going to cost you money and take a very long time and there is a >50% chance that Fasthosts Technical support will tell you that it’s a known issue, that it was reported on the status page and is now ‘resolved’ so they can’t help you.

Rather than suffer that indignity unknowingly, you decide that before placing that call, you may as well check the fasthosts status page as published on their support site at: http://www.fasthosts.co.uk/rss/status.rss  After all, the technical support contact is going to make you feel like an idiot for not looking there first, so why not get it out of the way to begin with.

The problem is, the status page is blank.  There is nothing there, nada, and when we say nothing, we mean nothing – here is the code for the page:

 <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN”>
<HTML><HEAD>
<META http-equiv=Content-Type content=”text/html; charset=windows-1252″></HEAD>
<BODY>

</BODY></HTML>

So, genuinely nothing.  No information on system status, no history of recent events, not even page formatting.

Don’t bother calling to complain about it, because we have and technical support always seem surprised.  (Two phone calls on the same day a couple of weeks ago and the same contact feigned surprise and said that he didn’t know and had never heard of it being offline)

If Fasthosts can’t keep a simple status page alive and working, what chance have they with your business website?

 Steer clear.

Consider this scenario.  Your car is having gearbox problems, so you phone the garage to tow the car in for an emergency repair.  You need your car to work, and are delighted when the garage tells you there is a known problem and they’ll will fix it right away.  You call in sometime later and are told that the problem is resolved.  On collecting your car, the problem with your gearbox is still there.  Stunned, you ask the mechanic what is going on but all they can tell you is that the know problem is resolved and that’s all they know.  Would you accept this service? 

Well if you are a customer of Fasthosts, this is normal practise.  Sign up for Fasthosts today and you will soon begin to form the opinion that this is the preferred approach to technical support on all network wide issues.

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The Fasthosts control panel login was recently augmented with a captcha widget.  While this is a great idea for security, and we support it’s use, it may also be demonstrating Fasthosts ability to cope with the number of login attempts that are expected the night before the ‘big password scramble’.

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All Fasthosts Customers affected by the password change received an email this morning thanking them for patience and understanding during this ‘very difficult time’.

While we mull over the content of this letter, there was one statement that stood out, claiming that Fasthosts would “return to providing industry leading technical support as quickly as humanly possible”.

If you have been a customer with Fasthosts for any length of time, this statement is just completely wrong, and more like the sort of statement we expect from a politician, and not from a supplier we are paying to provide a service.

The truth is that Fasthosts support is appalling, and always has been.  With very rare exceptions, support staff talk to you like you are an irritation, or a moron, and always with an underlying sense of ‘Fasthosts Word Is Final’.  Let’s make that absolutely clear – there is no ‘Help’ from Fasthosts Help Desk.

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