Here I am again, as I was Tuesday, on a day of the week on which I otherwise no longer publish. But it's important to do this today.
As you know, I was angry and frustrated after weeks of non-help I had received from the company where my domains are registered, Dotster by name. The two biggest problems were that
- I was not receiving a lot of my email and
- What did arrive in the inbox would just willy-nilly up and disappear, never to be found again.
The stress was constant. I was missing regular subscriptions, personal email from friends, blog reader email, banking, medical information and more, including electronic billing. I've relied on that for more than a decade to make sure the lights stay on, insurance remains in force and all the rest.
Including, I might add, Dotster itself. Without email notification, I have only the vaguest idea when the ones I pay quarterly, semi-annually and annually are due because it's easy to lose track with so much time in between. I rely on those emails to pay on time.
At the end of my rope, last Friday, I posted my story and asked you, dear readers, to help out.
You responded fantastically, leaving messages on the Twitter and Facebook pages of Dotster and you succeeded. Late that afternoon, a company representative, Danny, telephoned me promising he would see that my problems were corrected.
He's a smart and pleasant guy and I had hopes that my troubles would soon be over but my subsequent contacts with the support staff through their boilerplate emails setting up a remote session to work on the fix would have been funny as a parody of bad customer service on Saturday Night Live.
But not so funny to me as I explained to you in Tuesday's followup post.
Your responses Tuesday were filled with your own support horror stories so I approached the session on Wednesday (yesterday) morning with hope but also prepared for disappointment.
In fact, I had already done the homework necessary to switch to a new domain registrar and change the domain mapping for the blogs. It is detailed, not necessarily easy and according to various sources, can take from a couple days to several weeks to complete.
For me, that was a desperate last resort.
The Dotster service helper was right on time, at 10AM yesterday. He and I communicated via a chat window for more than hour as he worked and he was remarkably good at explaining in words I could understand what he was doing.
He kept me informed of how he was testing, what might have caused the problems until he narrowed it down, and what I needed to do to help as the cursor moved around my screen seemingly on its own but definitely with purpose.
As it turned out, there were several errors working in concert that had screwed up everything but in the end, the problem was solved and we finished off our conversation thusly:
RONNI: Thank you so much for this. The only name this program gives me for you is "serviceman1" so - again, thank you, serviceman1. I greatly appreciate your work here.
SERVICEMAN1: Haha, my name is Warren. It was my pleasure. And I'll also be sending you a follow up in case you need anything else.
And so he did. Then, a few minutes later, Danny telephoned as promised to see how the session had gone. He had already spoken with serviceman1/Warren so it wasn't necessary for me to explain details.
Because I can't help myself in such situations, I mentioned to Danny that perhaps Dotster could improve their customer relations both on the phone and those ugly, off-putting emails.
He agreed and said that he and his team are using my service difficulty as a learning experience for their company.
So perhaps some customer service good, even if it is only one company, will come from my mess, your help in pressuring them and the professional response of Danny and serviceman1/Warren.
Wouldn't that be terrific.
Through this ordeal, I came to see that this is bigger than one person's trouble getting one non-functioning email fixed.
When we old folks were growing up, it was landline telephones and snailmail that were crucial to our daily lives. Fifteen years into the 21st century, it is mobile phones and email that we cannot, anymore, live without.
Pretty much all the business of our lives is conducted with these two services and when they are broken, life is broken. Bills don't arrive, appointments are missed, friends, acquaintances and businesses are left hanging without responses.
For that reason, companies from whom we purchase these services cannot blow us off when they break. In fact, in a perfect world, mobile phones and email would be public utilities, as closely regulated as water, natural gas, electricity, railroads, etc.
Well, that's a conversation for another day.
Meanwhile, thank you, dear readers for your help and thank you Danny and Warren of Dotster for coming through. I appreciate you all.