Andrew Booker 2007-10-28 22:41:08

Should I quit?

Our ISP, Prime Hosting, have just moved servers for the second time in six months. The first time, I only lost mail that I had saved to subfolders other than my main email accounts. Those were mostly login details for listing sites or newsgroups. You can always get reminders from them, so no problem there. The second move dug a little deeper into my stoic reserves, such that in 24 hours I began three emails of complaint to their support centre, on different topics which I'll come to in a bit. Only the third time did I send the mail. It bounced.

Some time after drafting my second mail, I got one from them notifying all their customers that the server migration was complete. One line in particular struck me.

We appreciate the patience that the vast majority of our clients have shown during the migration process.

Before I go on, I just need to go into some minor economics. I pay about GBP 30 per year for hosting. This is not a lot of money, and it makes me think that if I'm paying that little, exactly how important a customer am I to Prime Hosting? What to they care if they jerk me off? All they lose is 30 quid.

I'll tell you what that vast majority of our clients message says to me. I'm guessing they had maybe 0.5% of really impatient and pissed-off customers. I can only guess at their customer base, but let's have a wild stab in the dark and say it numbers 2000. That's ten really annoyed people. So annoyed, they actually wrote an email. Remember we're in England. Most dissatisfied customers in this country don't complain, they just walk away.

I'm thinking, if ten people were really annoyed, how many were fairly annoyed? 50 times as many? I'm guessing, but I'm basing that guess on the number of people who reply with comments to these posts of mine, compared to the number of visitors to the Improvizone site each month (excluding spam). Looked at in this way, the whole how much am I worth to them question takes on some extra weight. If ten people alert the service provider to the dissatisfaction of 500, then each of those ten people is representing 30x50 = GBP 1500 revenue. Fifteen hundred quid! Each! All of a sudden, I'm not such a disposable consumer.

And that is why, even though I tried their support email and got an underliverable, I can be bothered to list the following ways that this server move has used up my time and created a whole load of problems for me that were not there before.

In fairness, they could have done a lot worse. They could have lost my email history. They could have thrown away all my old web stats (the stats engine is no longer updatable on demand, like it was on the old server.) They could have renumbered all the IDs in my database, which would have really wound me up.

The point is, I shouldn't have to worry about this stuff. It's their job. And if they can afford to charge me only 30 notes a year, it should be because they have the whole hosting business sorted out, and their user maintenance running extremely efficiently, such that they can scale to large customer volumes effortlessly and handle the occasional maintenance job like this smoothly.

Anyway, I'm not quitting just yet, seeing as the dust has now settled and things look as if they're back to normal. Plus I have enough to be getting on with for the gigs...

Gigs, birds and listings << | >> M3M 3 with fleeting appearance by your host