I use a hosting service called Blacknight. They can be infuriating. They can be nerdy. They can be geeky-patronising when you contact them with a problem and you don’t speak the Ancient Tech Tongue.
The force is weak with this one.
But I stick with them. I tell anyone who comes to me for advice that they should use Blacknight, and so far I must have sent a hundred people in their direction.
Because they understand the fundamental rule of customer service. It isn’t about how much you screw up. It’s about how well you recover.
We all screw up, because we’re human and fallible. Sometimes we screw up hugely and sometimes we screw up just a little bit, but that’s why we understand that things can go wrong. We know this because we have made so many mistakes ourselves and generally speaking, we like to be understanding about these things.
Until we get stonewalled, that is.
If my cable TV goes down, I can’t contact anyone. I have to tap my way through a phone menu that first warns me my call will be recorded for training purposes. Training? What this badly disguised threat really means is that at the slightest sound of anger in your voice, they’ll send the recording to the police who will come to your home and beat you senseless before throwing you in the slammer on charges of terrorism.
Or at least, that’s what the area sub-undermanager fantasised when he dreamed up the wording. What’s that on your pants, Fatso?
Here’s the thing about Blacknight. Unlike my many other service providers, including UPC, Three Mobile, Bórd Gáis and the ESB or whatever the latest name is that they invented for themselves, Blacknight don’t hide behind an automated robotic voice on the phone.
Dial 1 for shit you don’t understand.
Dial 2 for shit we don’t understand.
Dial 3 for shit we understand but you don’t.
Dial 4 for a veiled legal threat
Dial 5 for a loop of Greensleeves.
On the other hand, you can email Blacknight, you can phone them and you can talk to them directly on Twitter, which is what I did today when my site went completely skaw-ways after a year’s worth of uploaded photos disappeared. Where did they go? I didn’t know and I didn’t want to know. I run a website, not CSI. I didn’t care where they went. I just wanted them back.
And guess what? The incorporeal Blacknight entity manning the Twinterface rose to the occasion like a hero, restoring every single one of my pictures in almost no time at all. At no time was I threatened with recordings of my twitterings for training purposes. They didn’t play Greensleeves on an endless loop and they didn’t make me select from a menu that was completely irrelevant to my requirements.
Blacknight, here’s to you. You might occasionally be a bit OCD. You might, from time to time, demand that I speak your arcane language and laugh at me for my ignorance of your words. You might well be geeky as all get-out, and your control panel might well be the least user-friendly in the known universe, but when it comes to fixing problems, you have no equal.