Gimme a break!
Last time I wrote I was drowning at the hand of my host, Aplus.net. I'm happy to report that within 2 days of my post, our site was faster then it had been in many months. Thank God!
We also came to understand that our gateway had shut down. There seems to be a disagreement as to whether or not we were notified of this. We have no email to that affect, however we've been assured it was sent out to us. We have every single email filed from the last six years that was sent to us from Aplus, we just don’t have that one. We are now set up through Authorize.net, which I’m really excited about by the way. And so within 3 days of my blog post we were back in business.
So now what? My business had been paralyzed, but is most definitely moving in a better direction. This is a long hike out. I'm left wondering how I recover from this. How many customers have we annoyed? How many won't shop with us again? How much money have we lost? I don't want to think about it. That's water under the bridge, right?
I try to live my life in a way that I let go of what I can’t control. It’s done. It’s over and I need to move forward and not hold grudges. Lee Ann lives by the same guidelines. I just reread that. Sounds so naïve. But here’s the thing.. I’m not up for a fight. And I shouldn’t really have to. Maybe I’m worn down by the kids lately, staying home has made me soft. This just aggravates the hell out of me.
My dilemma is this: I'm struggling to pay my bills. I’m playing catch up. My renewal with Aplus.net is due in a week. Do I deserve some reduction in fees? Some refund for the poor customer service I received for months and a dysfunctional website? They didn’t give me the product I bought. I still sold product in that time, but nothing like in previous years. The site was so slow it was painful to navigate through. I wouldn't have stayed to shop. I have no patience for that. We didn't even make enough to cover our monthly expenses, and it got worse in December. January, historically a much better month, wasn't even 50% of December. Add to that the week of absolutely no sales because our gateway shut down and we didn’t know it.
I didn't want to have to leave Aplus.net. Until this last upsetting event, I had been generally quite satisfied. Other than the free, albeit inaccessible Rodopi Gateway we were offered as part of our package initially, everything else was easy to use. I had my whole business there. I was comfortable there. I didn't want to move.
As soon as it was brought to their attention, through this blog, that my site was paralyzed, our ticket was elevated immediately. As I said, we were back in business in 3 days. That was fantastic but it wasn’t enough. I don’t want to estimate what I should have earned, or attempt to quantify my potential loss. I just want some respect as a long standing loyal customer… Stand by your product, and admit when you failed. Ie… Do the right thing and let me get back on my feet before you bill me again.
I can't pay my bills. Where do I go from here?
Tanya Steinberg says:
How frustrating Michelle! If you have an email list set up of your customers I'd recommend drafting a short, but upbeat, apology coupled with a promotion or special offer extended to those customers you may have turned off with your site/gateway issues. This may go a long way towards regaining their trust and business.
Shirley Tan says:
I wish I was there to give you a big hug. But I can't, so here is my take on how I would approach your situation.
First, let’s break down your concerns.
To renew or not to renew. What would be the reasons why you would want to renew? Do you have a commitment from them that if they will respond faster when something goes wrong? You know from your experience that sites goes down and hosting companies have server issues and the like, the question is not if it’s going to happen, its how they treat you when it happens.
You can get in writing that the next time it happens that they will credit you back "X" - this is not likely because if they commit to this with you, they'll have to do it for everyone, they should but they probably won't or can't.
Second, the refund/credit for loss of business, it sounds a little like if they had given you credit for loss of business that you would feel better, is that the case? But if they did give you credit this time around, how do you know that they will treat you fairly again, more importantly, what are they doing to mitigate these types of occurrences from happening again?
For me, that is what I would focus on instead of trying for a refund or credit, my energy would be focus on ensuring that I take steps to have back up plans just in case this happens again.
Lastly, I would spend the time in looking for another platform. Another platform where there are large customer base, with large third party developers that support that platform so that you widen your options as much as possible, so you don’t feel trap.
PS: See if you an renew for a shorter time so that you can move once you're ready.