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Recently, the Web hosting industry has been abuzz with talk of companies trying to outsource their mail service. One of our largest competitors recently announced that because half of their customer requests for help were about e-mail, and because e-mail is difficult to get right, their customers should just use GMail instead.
The problem is that GMail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail and other free mail services have no real support. If you have trouble, there’s no way to talk to the people running the mail system and ask them about individual messages.
If you send a message from a free mail service and it never appears to arrive at the destination, or if it takes hours or days to arrive, there’s no reasonable way to find out what happened to that message. And if someone’s messages to you are being incorrectly blocked by a spam filter in such a way that they never even make it to a spam folder, you can’t complain and expect a prompt, useful response.
In contrast, if you have a problem with our mail service, we’ll spend the time to find out exactly what happened to a particular message. If there’s a problem, we’ll fix it. If the message was delivered properly but lost on the other end (which is common), we’ll find out exactly where the message went to and give you all the info the recipient needs to get it permanently fixed on their end.
These other companies are seeing a problem (“People take up lots of our time with questions about e-mail”) and choosing the wrong solution (“Let’s figure out a way to stop people complaining to us”). That may be a good solution for them, but it’s not a good solution for you, the customer.
We understand that part of what you’re paying us for is to help you solve problems, with e-mail or any other service we provide. As much as we strive to make things trouble-free, you’ll sometimes have questions. When that happens, our goal is to help you, not to come up with a way to stop you from asking us about it.