Giving Hawk another chance after a very disappointing first day


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Dear Hawkhost,

I had an extremely negative experience yesterday when I signed up for your service. Basically, the webhosts out there don't seem to realize that customers are more frequently getting fed up with being lied to, and only learning about certain limitations or handicaps of a service after they sign up. I asked to cancel my account but, after reviewing these forums and seeing users have had a generally good experience with your company I decided to give you another chance, or at least a chance more than a day.

I understand that in order to stay in business you need to market toward your competition, and so I can basically (but barely) understand that you still promise a thousand "unlimited's" on your page, which is misleading. Having been in the market for a little while, though, I know that it's a lie so I can look past it - if you posted all of the technical limits it would look cumbersome and would give you a poor chance against your competition in some ways.

However, for me the absolute worst lie that I have run into has been that everyone boasts about their support but very few have support that is not complete garbage, however it's always labelled as "fantastic" "blazing" and in your case "expert", or any number of superlatives.

The thing is, your chat and phone support is completely crippled and unprofessional. I've seen posts on this going back to January, and I haven't looked much further. If you cannot offer phone support, if you cannot offer chat support, then be brave enough to take the buttons/logos/images/promises off of your site that these things actually exist in any reasonably functional capacity. If the problem is temporary, then temporarily take these off your list of services you actually offer so that incoming customers know what they are getting or not getting.

If your support team works best or most often on a ticket-based system, and if they are indeed good or not as crippled as your phone and chat system apparently are, then why not simply put some superlatives on your homepage about your ticket system? There's nothing wrong with not having phone or chat support if you work well and best under a ticket system - and you are obviously not willing to put in even the most basic effort into solving this voice/chat support issue (really, how much effort does it take to take one of your employees aside for three minutes and record the voice mail message in a real human voice, rather than some f%^#ed up robot voice that makes it sound like I am calling HotHost?) - what is wrong or hardly professional or ethical is to use these faulty systems as leverage to lure people into your service only to find out afterword that they might as well be trying to call you with a can-and-string or chat with you by command line.

So basically, by not being honest you basically just made me extremely skeptical of your service, pi%&ed me off, and it's difficult to trust you from this point forward.

However, I see on these forums that people have generally had good experiences, so I am deciding to see how things go, with the understanding that as far as phone and chat support, I absolutely cannot trust you and will have to operate purely under the ticket system, which personally I far less prefer than an effective chat support. If you want to see an actual good chat support team check over at InMotion.com and see what kind of experience you have, you'll see what I mean.

I'll only communicate through the ticket system from this point forward, but if that "Live Chat - OFFLINE" button remains there in that state for a month, it's going to be a hard ride for me. Why say you have live chat and then always have it offline? Why have a phone number if you don't answer?

In the end, this is on your homepage:

30 Day Money Back Guarantee

If you're not satisfied with our service. No Questions Asked.

99.9% Uptime Guaranteed!

on all our Shared, Reseller, and Virtual Private Server Packages!

Why Choose HawkHost?

24/7/365 expert support via Toll-Free Phone and Help Desk.

There is no 24/7/365 phone support, is there? So what am I going to experience with the "99.9% up time"? Will this be another lie? If you just took the "Toll-Free Phone" off, at least you'd be staying a bit more honest.

And please spare me the excuses of training a new support team, etc. If you are not able to maintain your support as you are training, then you are working beyond your capacity and placing the burden on your customers, and your "24/7/365" phone support and your live chat are more like "whenever we can do it we'll offer these means of support".

I'm sure I'm not the only one fed up with the false promises webhosts pump into their victims eyes, maybe you could take a step above your competitors in this regard and actually honestly represent the customer services you offer and not make claims that you cannot keep. There are more creative ways around these issues, if your ticket support is really superior (and I question that, too, but will give you the benefit of the doubt), then there are ways you can make ticket support more attractive to customers.

Anyway, let's see how it goes.

-James

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To start, James I see you have a ticket in (which I've replied to), so I'd like to ask you to read that reply because it'll go over a lot of what I'll say here. As for your post:

If you cannot offer phone support, if you cannot offer chat support

Our phone and livechat support is available from 10AMEDT-6PMEDT Monday through Friday and that is for all departments (except abuse. All abuse is handled in a ticket). So hop on chat or give us a call during those hours and you should be able to get in touch with someone. Outside of those hours you may find someone available (a lot of our employees like to stay late / put in extra time) but it is not a guarantee. A support ticket will always be your most efficient means for obtaining support from us. You're right in that we should look to advertise this more heavily instead of putting equal emphasis on all means of help from us.

how much effort does it take to take one of your employees aside for three minutes and record the voice mail message in a real human voice

Yep, this is something that needs to be improved and there is no other way to put it. For what it's worth, we have an internal issue tracker / bug system which we use to keep our projects organized. We have an open issue to find a voice which will be a bit more soothing to callers than our existing recording. Not an excuse but we're not entirely ignorant to the fact that the phone system needs improvement at that level.

There is no 24/7/365 phone support, is there?

Right now, no there is not.

So what am I going to experience with the "99.9% up time"?

You're going to experience 99.9% uptime or higher. This is backed by our SLA and I can confidently say we hit those uptime goals on every server every month. Our sysadmin / technical team is one of the best in the business (I think at least!) and they do one hell of a job keeping us where we need to be in terms of uptime / performance for our users.

I appreciate posts like this since it forces us to take a step back and think about how we're being perceived vs what we're delivering. Clearly there are a few areas we're coming up short and need to work on improving. I maintain we are one of the most reliable + well respected hosts in our market (that is, not competing with the 800 lb gorillas of the industry) and really believe you'll be satisfied with our services if you give it a chance.

Please post here if there is something I haven't addressed in enough detail or you have any other concerns. I can also be reached off the boards via PM or just get back to me in your ticket and I'd be happy to continue discussions. Cheers! :)

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Thank you so much for the reply, Brian. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. I've been grappling with deciding on a host for so long now, have had so many disappointing experiences, and don't want to go through another migration.

It takes some time to get some sites up and running before publishing them or making them public, and all too often I have found the shortcomings of a service out after the thirty day cancellation period, before even really utilizing the resources... so I guess I'm a bit more intense nowadays to test the mettle of a service early when I can, and customer support and honesty are usually upfront.

Again, thanks for the time and thanks for acknowledging where work can be done. This is another important quality.

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I've used a half a dozen hosting companies over the last 15 years with various levels of satisfaction. Although it's temtpting to be cynical about the great reviews in the forum for HH, they are impressively and consistently that good and the best I've ever used.

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