How should Fasthosts technical support improve?

December 3, 2007

You are working for Fasthosts Technical Support, and a customer calls in asking why their website is offline.  You tell them : 

“There is nothing wrong with the server, and we don’t have any issues raised against it.  I’ll pass it onto engineering and they’ll get back to you when it’s fixed.  We can’t say how long that will take.”

Moments later, your customer seems irate.  Ever wondered why?

Here is what the customer is expecting you to say:

“OK, I am sorry to hear that – I’ll just have a look, and first of all lets see what we can do to get your site online as quickly as possible, then we’ll look at what the problem is, and how we can avoid it in future.”

If you genuinely can’t get the site back up and running straight away, as long as you started on the call with a genuine intention to try to do so, you promise to own the problem and give a time when you will get back to them with an report even by email, then your job and the customers experience will be much more pleasant.  Why not try to impress upon management that this is how you would like to be able to respond?

If you don’t understand this principle, you might find this approach unusual, after all these are your servers right?  It’s as if the customers think their business is more important than your job right?  Seriously, if this is your attitude then make sure you keep your CV up to date.  Fasthosts is creaking under the strain, and unless the people who answer the phones start to be nicer to the customer, you’ll be looking for other ‘Call Centre’ work pretty soon.

4 Responses to “How should Fasthosts technical support improve?”

  1. Grant McKechnie Says:

    LOL – So true. Whenever a site has been down I have had that sort of reply or: “This is a known issue, our engineers are working on it and it will be back as soon as possible”. One the face of it that sounds reasonable, except 24 hours later when it’s still not up and you phone to ask what the problem is, and you are told the Fasthosts ‘MI5 special’:

    “We can’t tell you what the problem is because that would reveal something about our technology that might compromise our security”

    Yeah right, like you are using some highly advanced, secret method to run web servers in a large data centre. Get real, your engineers have no idea, and they’ve gone to lunch.

  2. Frances Leyland Says:

    How fantastic. A site DEDICATED to how utterly rubbish Fasthosts are.

    Today I phoned them with three problems:

    1)an intermittant error with session generation (about 1 per 200 sessions, random urls so probably them). I had emailed a few months back. They said they had replied (3 weeks after the email). I hadnt received it. But they read me the reply. It said it might be because server resources were sometimes being overused. They had closed the support question because they hadnt been able to replicate the error. Moving servers was the only suggested solution.

    2)mysql errors – cant connect or too many connections. Couldnt say. I should email. Move servers.

    3)404 header not working – didnt know, only the front line guy. Could be the same as above. I should email.

    No shared hosts are great. I’ve had experience with quite a few. They are definitely the worst. I’m going to move the website when I have time.

  3. Frances Leyland Says:

    Forgot – re 404 header – the front line support guy who didnt understand things also suggested it could be …. a scripting problem.

    And of course, we cant help with scripting bla bla bla bla bla.

    It isnt a scripting problem. I wasted 5 hours isolating it. And by a remote chance, I discovered somebody else on fasthosts who also cant get 404 to work.

  4. James Says:

    Seems that nothing has improved as yet with Fasthosts – if only I’d known that a few weeks ago before I signed up with them. Damn! Lots of people seem to be having the WordPress 404 page error but no solutions as yet (see links below to WordPress forums):

    Fingers crossed they’ll get their act together soon…

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