It’s Saturday night and I came back from a night of good food and company with my cousins in downtown Pasadena.
I was getting ready for bed at around 12:30am and remembered a pretty minor issue I had to call my hosting company (Hostgator) about.
Hostgator and I have quite the history (they lost my entire site data earlier) but for the most part, things had been getting better. I had no clue how that was going to change today.
I called in and spoke to a Level 1 Tech who said his name was “Mason”.
I explained to Mason that 301 redirects (redirecting pages to different pages) were not working properly on my site and I needed them to take a look at what was going on.
He took my credentials and told me to hold for a minute (3 minutes in).
I was on hold for 10 minutes and at that point I asked how it was going and he said he needed me to continue holding because he was working on it (13 minutes in).
5 minutes later, I interjected that it was pretty late where I was and could he just issue a trouble ticket and send me an email when it was completed. He told me to continue holding because he had almost fixed it (18 minutes in).
5 minutes after that, I repeated my request for a trouble ticket because it was 1 in the morning and this is where it got creepy (23 minutes in).
You see “Mason” sounded like a creepy guy. Like the sort of dude who would burn the Hostgator offices down if Hostgator pushed him too hard (Office Space).
I could tell from his voice that he was really interested in fixing this problem and I (the customer) was starting to get in the way.
After I repeated my request yet again, all I got was silence and I could hear the fingers clicking away (23 minutes in).
In uncharted waters, I wasn’t sure what to do and so I started tweeting the madness (image on the left). I waited another 10 minutes until he came back on the phone (33 minutes in). He wanted me to try and see if the situation was fixed.
I checked and it wasn’t so then I said that I wanted a supervisor and all I heard was the soft clicking of the keyboard again for 5 minutes (38 minutes in). When I repeated the demand and said how ridiculous this was, he said he had heard me and was trying to get a supervisor – the keyboard clicking continued.
(45 minutes in) I asked where the supervisor was and he responded that he was still trying to get one (keyboard still clicking away).
(50 minutes in) He gets back on the phone and asks me to check if it’s fixed and one URL was fixed. He asked me if I still wanted a supervisor. I explained to him that I had no context about what he did, why it was fixed, what had happened and what the main problem was. I was furious and yelling and saying of course I wanted a frikking supervisor!
All I heard was silence.
He asked me if I still wanted a supervisor (52 minutes in) and I said yes.
Silence – no clicking now, no hold music, just a test of wills.
(60 minutes in) He gets on to say he’s still checking for a supervisor. I hang up.
I decided to write this immediately so my memory would be fresh about what happened.
Hostgator has provided me with one of the worst customer service experiences of my life and that’s a shame.
What is more of a shame (for them) is that over the next 365 days, between 750,000 people to 1 million will read this post and have to rethink their choice of hosting.
As an online consumer with a (loud) voice, I actually have choices. I can write this and have it re-tweeted, facebook shared and Google +1’d from online tree to online tree.
What should have been a 10 minute encounter with this company turned out to be an hour from a Steven King movie.
You’ve been warned.