A Tale of Two Tech Supports

One of my many reluctant adventures in geekdom is having to deal with technical support for web hosting accounts (don’t ask why; you don’t want to go there).

This here’s a tale of two web hosting companies: The one my company uses for a bunch of its accounts is hostmysite.com, which I’ve had to call probably two dozen times in the last year. Pretty much every time I get someone on the phone promptly, and that person is efficient and helpful–which is about as much as one can ask for in tech support. John says, “Thumbs up.”

My company also does a little pro-bono work for a professional association, and I got dragged in because (of course) said association has a website, and (of course) it broke–actually it’s still broken, and as I blog, my head is canted to the left at a 45-degree angle while I listen to bland hold music while I wait for tech support.

I’ve had to call this company, iPowerWeb, a number of times, too. I was supposed to call them yesterday, except that their estimated wait times were 26 minutes in the morning, and 21 in the late afternoon. Riiight.

Today, they don’t have an estimated wait time (hmm … where did that go?). The corpo-voice says, “Thank you for your patience. We’ll be with you as quickly as possible.” Right now my patience is at 12 minutes, with no ETA on the horizon. Could be 10 more seconds … could be 20 more minutes.

If I pull up the two companies’ home pages, I can compare by costs, GBs of hosting, number of e-mail addresses, whether or not I need a MIVA Merchant Storefront, Google AdWords, ASP, PHP … yadda yadda. Go ahead and roll your eyes. I am.

I’m going to take a wild guess that in a marketplace with lots of information and competing vendors, the web hosting packages won’t differ very much (just as the prices of blenders at JC Penney, Target and Sears are all about the same).

But lo and behold, look what matters. Here I am, spending time in my working day getting a crick in my neck because I have to wait (now 16 minutes) for this damn company and their enormous tech support queue. Suddenly there’s a big difference in these two companies–so big that if it were up to me, I’d switch from iPowerWeb to HostMySite in a heartbeat (or 20 minutes, which is how long I’ve been waiting to get through to iPowerWeb).

So on the off-off chance you’re ever going to need your own website, I’d suggest calling tech support–just to see how long it takes to get through. To paraphrase Geico, just one call could save you … well, let’s see: 22 minutes–and counting!

ipw_2006sep_welcome.jpeg

Pick a caption:

a) Aren’t I pretty? Good thing, because you’re going to spend a lot of time looking at me!!

b) Sorry, I don’t do phone.

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4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Tech Supports

  1. Hi,

    I read your post and couldn’t help wondering how someone would know that one company is better than another. When you began to do the comparison of the two sites home pages, I thought you might go into how they both do a good job selling the service angle or neither do a good job, or only one does. What I took away from it was that both talk about the products they offer, but until you have to deal with their respective tech support, you don’t really understand the true value and difference in service. So, how can someone know before signing up for an account that one company is better than another? Both can and do say 24x7x365 live technical support. Both appear to be concerned about customer satisfaction (30 day money back guarantee, commitment to quality, etc.). Anyone can say they have great service until their blue in the face. How do you actually show the great service before you even sign up with the company?

    Did you know that HostMySite has good tech support before your company signed up with them? Did you know that IPowerWeb didn’t? I guess what I am asking is are there any things to look for or look out when you are shopping for a host?

  2. What I took away from the experience (other than a sore neck) was the idea to call tech support even before you sign up, to see how long it takes. You might only call once and not get a reliable read, or you might find out what I did, that HostMySite is ALWAYS fast, and iPowerWeb hasn’t ever been.

  3. Pingback: My Vote for World’s Worst ISP « First Person Irregular

  4. Jack, you are 100% correct. Just reading a companies website is not enough research to make an informed decision. Do me a favor and call HostMySite. A very real, very live, and very helpful person will answer regardless of when you call. Here is the tech support number. 877-215-4678.

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