On Telecom, Hosting
So I had a problem with my provider yesterday – Slicehost.
Update:: They have been having quite a bit of trouble the past few days.
I got started with slicehost a few months back and have been amazed by their low prices, developer friendly community and their ability to embrace new media strategies to differentiate themselves from their competitors. I have been recommending others to use them, and even sending my own clients to them.
First lets talk about what they do right:
* Their site is simple, and you know within less than a minute what they are all about.
* They use the same communities we do. (I started receiving twitters to my phone that their network was down.)
* They have a blog that talks about meaningful things in their system (as opposed to shrouding their technology)
* Strong Education Focus: Their articles section on their site is unmatched. I didnt even have to think about how I would setup my Nginx reverse proxy, I just read the article. Seriously, more providers should have an article/wiki section. Note: Having an article section does not cut into your consulting hours, it gets you a client that might have gone to a slicehost
* The all powerful community: The forums are actually used. We all help each other out, offer pointers, ask for help and talk about whatever. I have yet to see a business really build a community like they have. I will be sad that I have to go.(see further down)
* Sysadmins available via campfire chat and IRC: this has been a great way to get in touch with staff and have quick questions answered.
*Prices and Services Listed…. Note to all the small minded local providers with a “call us” logo in every place we (consumers) are looking for relevant information, so that we won’t “shop you”. We *are* shopping you, We *don’t* want to talk to you, and by hiding the info we want from us you basically lose any chance you had to do business with us in the first place. I’m looking at you Fiberpipe and Spro..
* Speaking of Prices, Slicehost has great prices..
* Management Console: Is top notch. I can’t lock myself out.. I can reboot my server with my phone if on the road, they empower me to do my job with as little contact with them as possible.
Where they got it wrong:
* Who you gonna call? Not Slicehost. Not even if your servers are down, not even if the clients you recommended to sign up paid for 2 years in advance to get a slice in “Less than a Week” and had not heard from Slicehost in a month.
* Who Cares? Not Slicehost… When asked over and over what I could tell my clients that had noticed the shall we say discrepancy between “Less than a week” and “About a month”, they only responded with short one liners about how they didn’t know when they would get their slice.
* Lack of SLA, which I thought was almost kind of cool and upfront at first. It appears the SLA is another web 1.0 thing that should not be done away with. Honestly unless you are just running a staging server, who can afford to have their site down these days???
In truth all the automation and community in the world will never make up for poor customer service. If you had simply added great service, expressed the slightest amount of care that my clients had put their good faith in you, and offered a way to make it right, you would still have me as a customer and would have been the greatest provider I have ever worked with.
Its funny to me that you can do so many things so right, and in the end do one thing so wrong, effectively canceling out all good.
Ciao Slicehost, You have a good system but I cant afford to pay you while you work out the kinks at my clients expense. Best of luck