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Email Fail, Part 38

, , , , , , | Right | September 22, 2022

In the early 2000s, when high-speed Internet and commercial email were still relatively new and shiny things for some organizations, I was selling commercial Internet access and related services. One day at the office, I took the following call from one of my clients.

Customer: “I’m calling to cancel my contract with you! I am completely unhappy with your customer support, and our services aren’t working at all! This has been extremely costly to us!”

Me: “Oh, no, I am very disappointed to hear this! What is happening?”

Customer: “Our email hasn’t worked for weeks! We can’t respond to customers! We’re losing business because of your company, and you refuse to help.”

I opened an internal trouble ticketing system.

Me: “Hmm, I don’t see any recent trouble tickets on your account. When did you let us know this was happening, and how did support respond to you?”

Customer: “I’ve been emailing you for weeks to tell you our email isn’t working and you never responded!”

Me: “…wait a minute. You emailed us to tell us your email wasn’t working?”

Customer: “That’s right! And none of you ever responded. So we’ve got a new provider now, and we’re canceling everything with you!”

Me: “Again, just to confirm: you have been having problems sending email… so you emailed us… to tell us you can’t send email?”

Customer: “Yes! That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! You people won’t help me fix my email and I’ve been trying to— OH. OH, OH, OH. Oh, wait a minute…”

And it was at that moment they realized why we had never responded; their emails never made it to us… since they were having problems sending email.

Their new IT firm set them up with an internal email server and completely screwed up the configuration. They set their server to pull email from our end but didn’t configure anything else right on their end to send email. This firm convinced the customer that it was all our fault and signed them up on a three-year contract with another (more expensive) provider that was installing their dedicated Internet line that day.

The customer ended up having to pay our early cancellation fees and additional time to their IT vendor to “fix” their problem, and they had to pay higher monthly Internet access fees to the new provider on top of everything else. All because they didn’t bother to pick up the phone until it was too late.

Email Fail, Part 37
Email Fail, Part 36
Email Fail, Part 35
Email Fail, Part 34
Email Fail, Part 33

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