On the Web, competition is just one click away

Dear visitor: Please keep in mind that this post is originally from Vibor Cipan's personal blog, the name of which we eventually adopted as our company name together with its conveniently-named URL. We're keeping the posts on our official company blog for all the subscribers to Vibor's blog who have read and commented on his previous posts. Please be aware that this post represents Vibor's personal thinking few years ago and doesn't necessarily represent the opinions of the UX Passion as a company today. 

This is a post about customer service, customer frustration and customer / user experience. I’ve made a move from my old webhost Inside.hr to JustHost.com. Reason? Well, I was frustrated with their „customer service“. After careful consideration, I’ve decided to use JustHost.com. I want to share my (user) experience with you.

User experience is not just about software

Most people today, even those working in the UX field, consider UX to be something that is reserved solely for software design and, to some part, to product design. However, UX is much broader term and customer experience as well as service management can be observed as parts of UX.
Being an UX guy at the first place and customer at the second – I’m really easily frustrated with poor service being provided to me. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I am going around yelling and raisin’ hell at the first site of troubles and ignorance – but I do have my limits.

Inside.hr has left very bitter taste in my mouth…

Inside Internet (aka Novi Kod) is a web hosting company from Croatia (http://www.inside.hr/) and UXPassion.com has been hosted there since it’s very beginning (summer of 2008). I wanted to host my project with serious, reliable and professional company. I was willing to pay for that service and I was looking for 0-24 customer support. In their SLA they have stated they will guarantee you 99,5% uptime (per month basis). I needed a basic service, some 300MB of disk space and 30GB bandwidth – also I was looking for Linux hosting with Apache server. And – I got that for 350 HRK (about 72 USD) per year. And – they offered customer support on 24/7 basis. Everything looked pretty promising at that moment.

And so UXPassion.com started – we encountered some glitches at the beginning, moving to new web server and other annoyances – nothing major – I’d say it was normal in the beginning. Then UXPassion.com started its growth, more content, more tutorials, more users… Several times during the 2009 I’ve received e-mails from UXPassion.com visitors saying that they cannot connect to UXPassion.com and that they are having those difficulties for several hours. Okay, I contacted Inside Internet’s support and after several hours (despite marking my ticket as Critical) I’ve received e-mails stating: “All is fine now!”  No “I’m sorry for any inconvenience we might have caused, sorry for lost advertising revenue…”

Situations like this have encountered several times – but last one was particularly serious – web site was down for more than 12 hours – no response to my e-mail, thousands and thousands of visitors without any way to access UXPassion.com – no response to their phones… I was being pissed. Seriously! C’mon – I’m paying you for this service, I’m not asking anything other than you are saying that you are providing and I’m not getting that. After double digit number of hours I’m getting e-mail: “We fixed it all now. It should work!” Great – I think – I appreciate you not feeling any responsibility and sorry for your customers.
By that time I already started looking for another web host. I’m a data / information geek. I absolutely love to collect, interpret and organize data in all forms and shapes. In the same way I’ve started my quest for new UXPassion.com web host…

Goodbye Inside Internet (Inside.hr), welcome JustHost.com

I was looking for affordable web hosting (though the price was not the major criteria) with generous hosting package. Idea is to grow UXPassion.com into serious tutorial resource site and then for some other projects we are working on. Also, generous bandwidth was needed to accommodate rapid UXPassion.com growth. Ability to host new domains under same CPanel, money back guarantee and excellent customer support were evaluated as well.

It took me some time but thanks to recommendations, reviews on the web and my personal data mining and research I’ve decided to go for JustHost. With “unlimited” standing in front of any significant criteria (bandwidth, space, emails, data bases…), money back guarantee and praised customer service – it was an obvious choice.

But hey, Inside.hr strikes again…

It took me literally 2 minutes from signing up and paying via PayPal to getting brand new web hosting package at JustHost. CPanel, FTP and all other logins were promptly delivered to my inbox and the only thing that was left to be done was domain transfer from Inside Internet to Just Host. You know the drill: Send the e-mail, explain the situation. Then wait. Wait for hours. Wait till the next day. In the mean time JustHost customer service is really doing their best and helping me transfer my files and settings, they are even helping me with some PHP scripting issues due to some permission settings I’ve managed to mess up somehow). And yes – they are responding to each and absolutely every e-mail I’ve sent them under 30 minutes. I was impressed.

So, by this time, almost a day has gone and nothing is happening with Inside. I am asking them for my EPP key so my domain can be transferred. Nothing happens. I’m calling them on their telephone. Once. Twice. Three times – nothing.

I’m pissed at this moment. I’m sending my last e-mail to them stating my frustration and the fact that I’m really sadden by the way they are treating their customers. After some time – I’m getting e-mail saying: “Well, sorry we had some network administration and we were not able to answer!” I don’t think any comment is needed here.
Then I asked about my EPP code – they say – you don’t need it. JustHost, at the same time, is trying to help me out with DNS setting and all that hassle. After almost 2.5 days my UXPassion.com has been pushed and JustHost got complete control over it.

JustHost – last hosting plan you will ever need…

This is their tagline. I hope it is true. My experience so far is great – e-mails are being answered within 30 minutes, Live Chat is working great – on oh, did I mention that they have helped me with PHP script that was acting funny and it was on Sunday.

Bottom line – competition is just a click away. Treat your customer nicely or they will go away. And guess what – they will TELL ABOUT their bad experiences. Losing customers and their loyalty is very expensive. Once lost – they are difficult or almost impossible to get back. Can I see any chance that I will be returning to Inside Internet after all this hassle? Not in any foreseeable future.

But I can and I sure will recommend JustHost to anyone – including you – readers of this blog. Just tell ‘em that UX guy from the UXPassion.com has sent you their way – or just click on the banner bellow this article and sign-up with them.

UX is a serious thing. Customers are even more so. Get used to that reality or go away and find greener pastures. You  – The User – deserve it.
On the Web, competition is just one click away. We should all learn this lesson well and learn it fast!

I’d suggest you go for more and read JustHost reviews.

Let’s keep in touch – You should follow me on Twitter now!

Comments (8)

  1. SLA? I don’t believe in these silliness…

    I respect Slicehost’s ‘SLA’: http://www.slicehost.com/questions/#sla

    Do you offer an SLA?

    Not for Slices and here’s why: most hosting SLA agreements are just plain silly. They promise things like 99.9% uptime, but downtime excludes: scheduled maintenance, network outages, hardware failures and software trouble. Well what exactly is left to cause downtime? Here’s our SLA: we’ll do our best to keep your machines running smoothly for as long as possible and get them up ASAP should something go wrong.

    • Amen to that :)
      I mean SLA is nice thing but I appreciate honest “I’m sorry” and apologies more than some formal pseudo-agreements. BTW I’m really flattered that you have come to this blog and left a comment! Thanks so much!

  2. Sorry, but you’re hosting an international website for $6 per month at a discount hosting service, and your pissed off at them? Perhaps your customers should be equally pissed off at you for not spending a buck for the best…

    • Hi Russ,
      Inside Internet is not by a chance a discount hosting service – their 72 bucks per year price is actually fairly expensive compared to their international competition and what they offer with that. As I said, price was not (and still is not) a problem here – problem was with their customer support and the way they treated me as their customer. JustHost is about the same price (or even cheaper) depending on your hosting plan but my current impression is that their customer support and willingness to help is exactly what I am expecting to see from serious, service oriented company.

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Vibor, I think that this is Croatian thing. :) After so many years, Croatian companies havent learned their lesson. They do not understand concept of choice!

    • Yes – you might be right. Luckily, however, customers are starting to understand it and embrace it!

  4. I am with shopaserver.com and really happy with them because of price and quality they provide

  5. great article,thank you for sharing

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