There’s Nothing Like Good Service

On behalf of a half-baked company called “ixwebhosting”, Sparrow Chat would like to apologize for the almighty balls-up that caused said website to disappear from your monitors over the last forty-eight hours.

Normal service is not quite resumed, as certain images and other icons still need to be resurrected, but hopefully all will be back to normal within a day or so.

Good service: unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find in this capitalistic world where money, not customer satisfaction, reigns as king, queen, and petty dictator.

Sparrow Chat’s back online, after forty-eight hours in the Stygian blackness, thanks to a web server host – ixwebhosting of Kentucky, a subsidiary of Ecommerce – who decided to upgrade their php systems without warning, sending God knows how many websites, including this one, crashing into the murky depths of technological annihilation.

No-one expects perfection. Problems occur in all walks of life, especially the technological landscape of the internet. It is, however, reasonable to anticipate some degree of consumer satisfaction in the form of a sympathetic ear, communication, and an assurance that all possible is being done to correct the problem that’s causing large quantities of one’s hair to cover the keyboard, as frustration mounts, and no-one, absolutely no-one, apparently is doing anything to put right the almighty cock-up that’s resulted in a bundle of error messages replacing the artistic, almost beautiful, webpage that graced one’s monitor just a few hours before.

In the trade, it’s known as “The Barricade”. Those of us with a few score years under our belt may remember a time when, not just lowly employees, but supervisors, managers, senior executives, and even company directors, were accessible to customers whose grouses might cause adverse publicity if heaven and earth were not moved to render their unhappiness nullified.

Now, “The Barricade” isolates these people from those they are contracted to serve.

“The Barricade” takes various forms. It may be a simple recorded message:

“Sorry, we’re not available till three weeks next Tuesday, and then only if it’s a leap year.”

Or possibly, a lowly, minimum wage, answering service employee, who’ll listen to your heart-rending tale of htaccess files interacting with modwobling server facilities in a critical mass of php overloads, while knitting her Filipino lesbian lover a new pair of gusset-free underpants, only to suggest you ring a number in Nor’ Nor’ West Bohemia and ask for Charles, who knows nothing about computers but can sell you ‘a luvly line in leopard-skin leotards’.

We’ve all, at some time, come up against the piece de resistance: the 1-800 number with sixty-five thousand different menu options, each one directing you to a further two hundred and fifty more specific alternatives, before reaching the moment of high delirium when it is vaguely suggested a human voice may be available by selecting a fifteen digit number with the addition of two stars and something called a ‘pound’ key. High delirium transposes to psychotic fury on being informed:

“You are only the three hundred and forty-second customer in our queue. Please hold.”

“The Barricade” is the latest capitalist weapon. No longer is it deemed necessary to supply customer service. Companies now are so huge that individual consumers have lost their importance. When there are only four or five companies in the world supplying a particular service, and four or five of those four or five are owned by the same multinational corporation, the loss of one customer due to bad service is hardly a problem when that consumer moves his custom to another of those four or five companies, owned by the same multinational.

Provided “The Barricade” is in place – a few low-paid, Indian or Mongolian, workers prepared to operate a headset for two bags of rice a month, – the executives can sit back, reap the huge profits, and not have to concern themselves with dissatisfied customers baying for their blood.

Such is ixwebhosting – a subsidiary of Ecommerce.

If Sparrow Chat disappears from your monitors again in the not too distant future, be not mortified. It will simply mean we’re moving servers. It may be difficult to discover a new web-host, not affiliated to Ecommerce, but the research is already underway.

Meanwhile, perhaps we should consider that the time has come when we, the People – like the French in 1789 – should gird our loins and prepare to storm, “The Barricades”.

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6 Replies to “There’s Nothing Like Good Service”

  1. R.J.,
    I really sympathize with you. Your piece has captured exactly the current state of ‘customer service’. I laughed out loud a couple of times, but, having been a victim of similar companies, I know how frustrating dealing with these idiots can be. It can really piss you off.

    In my work life I have had some success with cpanel ( an ISP. I make no guaranties. Good luck and hang in there.

  2. Have you switched from cable to Wifi? Don’t see you on statcounter statistics even though you comment.

  3. My sympathy, RJ! I suffered similar frustration when buying and returning a computer earlier this year.

    Meanwhile, perhaps we should consider that the time has come when we, the People – like the French in 1789 – should gird our loins and prepare to storm, “The Barricades”.

    Like Madame Defarge, I have my knitting at the ready!

  4. Al – thanks for that. I didn’t realize cPanel was also an ISP. I’ll check them out.

    Flimsy – no, we got taken over by Comcast (ugh!) about six months ago, but still on cable.

    Twilight – I can see you as Madame Defarge. 😉

  5. I have the same trouble with my website hosting service, RJA, worse and worse service, it used to be wonderful – a smallish company called Tucows but it has been swallowed whole by a behemoth that takes us all down without warning for 12 hour stretches and creates fresh problems each time. One particularly outrageous ‘improvement’ had my website mailbox displaying all the mail folders for a completely different unheard of company. They had mine. I know there is no more privacy in the world but this took the cake. I had all their hardcopy stock transactions, etc. They had my client tax e-file authorizations.
    I can understand your blowing a gasket or two, I know I did.

  6. WWW – the crux, of course, was your sentence: “….it used to be wonderful – a smallish company called Tucows but it has been swallowed whole by a behemoth….”
    These behemoths will be the death of us. Literally, as its they who are destroying both society and the planet, with their corporate greed.

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