In a recent blog post, Andy Sernovitz said the following:

We’ve been hosting our email with the same company for 10 years. It’s been rock-solid, with the occasional problem solved quickly and well.

We were the first in line when they offered a new, upgraded server.

And the transition was a disaster.  Tech support was surly. I had to pull strings with senior management to get help. It just kept getting worse. Now we’ve wasted hundreds of hours and are moving to a (hopefully) better host.

My big mistake:  Clearly something had changed, and I missed the collapse in service and attitude.


  1. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Don’t let past quality blind you to current problems.
  2. Bad support at the bottom is a sign of deep rot at the top.
  3. You don’t owe loyalty to a vendor who fails you. They owe loyalty to the customers who have stood by them year after year. You keep them in business.
  4. When you’re upgrading is when you should get the most fantastic support — because you’re giving them more money, and they should be thrilled. If it’s hard to give a company more money, something is very wrong.

The moment you realize they don’t care is when you should run away.

In a recent couple of calls to Telecom’s ‘help’ line, I spoke with staff in Manila, Philippines. The 30 minutes I spent were completely wasted getting no resolution and no understanding from the overseas contact centre. They are 30 minutes stolen from my life that I’ll never ever recover.
I knew what need to be done to answer my query, I knew the simple process that was required to be actioned because I spent nearly 6 years doing the job that Telecom now have farmed out to the cheapest bidder.

Customer satisfaction: Zero.
Problem resolution: Zip.
Customer loyalty generated: Substantially less than nothing.
Likelihood that I’ll become a Telecom customer again in the near future: Next to nil.

So what was this ‘impossible’ task I set the Filipino Telecom staff member? Transfer $30 credit from one old prepaid phone to another, something I’ve done every time in the past before getting rid of an old phone that had outlived it’s usefulness. A job that takes less than a minute.

Bad support at the bottom is a sign of deep rot at the top. Clearly the rot has set in very, very deeply at the top of Telecom. Thank God they’re saving money on staffing costs. Good one.