I had to change the school ISP this week, after 3 weeks of send email failure, blacklisted emails and just intermittent headaches for all of the users on our domain. The biggest issue wasn't actually the technical, it was trying to actually talk to someone at our ISP. It was almost impossible.
I shot out a frustrated tweet, and actually got a reply back. That began a brief exchange of emails, and raised my hopes some progress might be made - but which ultimately proved to be futile. Last I heard from them was May 5th. And we moved ISP's on May 12th.
So I sent this email back today:
"Just to let you know - I appreciated the willingness to provide assistance via twitter.
Unfortunately we never heard back from anyone at O___, after your email dated May 5th - nor were our technical support team able to get any assistance from O___.
As a result our school made the decision last Monday to move our broadband supply to T_____ - and this was provisioned on May 12th.
We have had fine service from O____ for the approximately 2 years that;we have been using your network. Like any business or school that is connected to the internet, issues only arise when that connectivity is intermittent or disrupted. The intermittent disruptions to our email;services, and the inability to diagnose these disruptions over the last 3 weeks has been very frustrating for us.
What has been more frustrating has been the inability to get any support or response from O____. Apart from you - and that response was the result of an undirected remark made on Twitter.
In this case it has been easier for us to move our services to T_____. I imagine that whilst one account means little to the bottom line at O____, I think it's damning that you are losing our custom, not just as a result of technical issues, but mainly as a result of clear communication. The technical supply of internet services is cheap - the supply of clear communication is invaluable.
To quote your website: "Our vision is to be the ultimate provider of Internet and Communications products, services and customer experience. Delivering a remarkable experience for our customers in everything we do is at the heart of our mission."
Our customer experience has been adequate and what we'd expect. But, as we've moved our services - without any contact or call from you - the final experience has been remarkably underwhelming. The sense that you actually cared about our custom, or indeed wanted to deliver that remarkable experience - well, that would have been enough to keep our custom.
And it's relatively easy to figure out who the two ISPs are. And I'm not actually bagging the one we moved from. We have had a fine level of service and supply from them. But it's when things go wrong - that a customer relationship actually matters. As an exercise in how to lose a customer - it was perfectly executed.
Reflecting on it - the power of twitter for communication was really shown to me.
And for my own teaching practise - must. keep. being. clear. and. open.
With students, parents and colleagues.
(and yes, I know that using Google Apps for Edu would have sorted this... I'm working on that as well!)