fbpx

How NOT to do Customer Service on Twitter Crucial Paradigm


Crucial paradigm “sacks” a client over a Twitter comment. Justified?

Sometimes you get frustrated and really let loose. Sometimes you just say WTF and walk away. Sometimes you do it on Twitter. It’s not just staff that get told off when they have a moan on Twitter – have a look at this exchange:

Crucial Paradigm

Now if this was on one of my forums I’d tell ’em to sort it out but it’s not really a personal attack. Actually not at all. He’s attacking the lack of service, not a person. Expressing clearly his frustration. Not in a particularly polite way but still, our feelings are valid as long as we aren’t attacking a human being.  There’s even a sense of self-reproach referring to lack of control.

Crucial Paradigm completely over reacted:

crucialparadigm2Overreaction much?

I think you’d have to be really really clear that you are justified in sacking a customer for a Twitter comment before you asked them to move on. Otherwise someone else, who thinks the whole thing is a mite unfair might blog about it. Like me.

EDIT: Overnight (I posted at around 11pm I think) this is the reach. Not the most velocity I’ve seen, but not bad considering most my followers are Australian and asleep 😛

tweetreach

Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

106 thoughts on “How NOT to do Customer Service on Twitter Crucial Paradigm

  1. As much as I think it’s a little bit OTT to sack the customer, at the same time, swearing on the phone at a customer service operator will usually not work and it’s pretty much universally accepted that it’s fair game for the operator to hang up.

    So, why should the same etiquette not be relevant on Twitter?

    On the flip side too, at least they eventually responded to @repeatnone

    1. Hi Alex,

      Your comment is spot-on and I definitely agree, but to put things in context, I (repeatnone) had been waiting for CrucialParadigm to enable my domain reseller account for 4 days after a failed attempt by a client to obtain a domain name through my WHMCS package. I requested support this past Friday (CST) but Sydney-based CrucialP doesn’t do much on the weekends… and rather than asking me to wait until Monday–which I would have been OK with doing–CrucialP’s support technicians responded combatively and inadequately. If CrucialP’s techs had simply given me an ETA, I wouldn’t have made a peep.

      So Monday rolls around and I’m thinking, “This is it, today is the day they will address my neglected support tickets.” Unfortunately it was a holiday in Australia and I had no idea. Rather than disabuse me of my ignorance with a simple canned response, “Sorry, we’re out of the office,” tickets were again responded to combatively and inadequately, by several employees. Naturally my frustration grew a lot at this point and I filed still more tickets, sent emails and began lamenting in the social media space.

      Upon returning to the office Tuesday (AEST) and realizing my frustration, management’s response, as you know, was not to simply enable the domain reseller account but rather terminate me for “abuse directed at our staff members on twitter”.

      Ultimately, my gripe is that CrucialP did not set proper expectations by mentioning time, holiday or other exacerbating factors until after deciding to terminate my account in favor of sidestepping their failures and unwarrantedly accusing me of personal attacks against their staff members on twitter. If I had to take a guess at their real motivation, I would suppose they just didn’t like the fact that I was ignorant of what was going on at their office on the other side of the world while complaining of inattentiveness.

      All of that said, I posit that my tweet was not even close to a violation of CrucialParadigm’s TOS.

      1. CruicalP claim the tweet was sent to them. Is this true ?

        There claim the tweet that got you canned was ‘sent’ to them.

        Claims are at whirlpool, where I found thelink to this thread.

        http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1281846

        Your issue starts halfway down the page.

        When something makes it to WP about an Aussie based host, you know something is going to happen.

    2. I actually use CP and have since 07 and I very much rate them. There have been some outages and downtime but less than I had had with one of the larger companies and I can say that the service that I have had from CP when this has happened has been really very good and I have recommended them so that’s a bit of background.
      With the “issue” I in part agree with Alex M and believe if you drop the “FBomb” on twitter expect the same as you would on the phone (the only difference is that it hangs around a lot longer).

      The result in most cases is that most people / companies won’t want to deal with you, who needs that at work? You’re frustrated, tell them that you’re not happy and if that does not work take your business somewhere else but as soon as you start dropping swearwords in your communication people stop listening to you and rightly so.

      Sounds like there is some useful feedback for CP and maybe all concerned including myself after reading this I will also be thinking through what I twitter as seems like there (ramifications etc) is a bit more there that I had put thought into.

  2. Ahh the refusal to own an issue, how very corporate of Crucial Paradigm. Absolutely agree with you Laurel that this is not what the whole new social world is about.

    See a customer frustrated on Twitter? Grab em quick for a bit of a chat, you might not be able to fix the problem immediately, but you have helped them by reaching out.

    Even Telstra understand this… and they can be worse than useless sometimes

    1. Hi Allison Reynolds,

      We are more than happy to assist our customers, or any potential customers on Twitter, public forums, or any other form of social media. However we do not accept and will not accept abuse towards our staff members. We consider the use of profanity towards our staff members to be excessive abuse and grounds for termination.

      That being said we take pride in the level of support we provide customers, and are always happy to work with our customers and help resolve their issues or problems they may be facing with our service.

      Kind Regards,
      Aaron Weller
      Crucial Paradigm

      1. Aaron, kudos to you for stepping up to shed light on the issue.

        I have questions, though:

        1) What if Neils’ tweet had not included the F-word, but still had the claim of non-responsiveness?

        2) Does it matter where the F-word is placed? For instance, if it had been:

        “Is it @crucialparadigm’s non-responsiveness, or my own f—ing impatience that will kill me first?”

        Because in the tweet at issue, the F-word is not directed at your company at all.

        3) Your T-O-S may have a clause about abuse of Customer Service employees and communications, but is it clear that Tweets will be read by your Customer Service department?

        It seems to me that unless you overtly state that Customer Service has auspices over your account, there might be an over-reach. Many companies with Twitter accounts have them managed by Public Relations, Marketing, or some other department.

        Thanks – I only ask because I believe the answers might be instructive, and shed more light than heat.

  3. I see this situation as unfortunate.

    It’s one of the problems with the written language, especially when it is limited to only 140 characters.

    I can see how Neil’s (repeatnone) reaction is one of exasperation. A thought flung out into the ether, because nothing is happening the way it should. I know, I’ve done this myself.

    I can also see how Crucial Paradigm could, and has taken this the wrong way.
    But, It all comes down to communication.

    I have friends that run a small manufacturing business, and my sister is currently their customer service rep. I know that she receives many emails and phone calls, wondering where an ordered product is. Why it hasn’t arrived yet.

    How does this get sorted out?
    She talks to them.
    She explains the current situation; whether it be that there are an inordinate number of orders in the system, or that they are having some production issues, or even that we’ve had a public holiday in Victoria (that no other state has had) and production wasn’t operating.
    But, this is where the Customer Service process really works. If you explain your situation, Most people understand.

    This is the same deal in any business. And I sure hope that good customer service isn’t a dying art.

    I also totally agree with Allison’s 2¢ worth.
    The better solution would have been to connect, and work out what’s happened, rather than the knee-jerk reaction of “I’m taking my Bat and Ball and going home”.

    This outcome doesn’t really help anyone.
    Neil, has to find a new hosting service (and all the hassles that that entails), and CP gets the worst kind of bad press… Word of Mouth.

    I’m glad that my hosting service hasn’t caused me any grief (infact they’ve helped me out… but that’s another story).

    PS please excuse my grammar. I suck at it (though I am better at it than Ralph Wiggum).
    PSS how did this turn into a diatribe. I should really write more on my own blog.

  4. Has Social Media increased a company’s accountability to provide customer service to its consumers or widened the gap between consumer dissatisfaction and corporate responsibility?

  5. I didn’t know that stating your opinion or dissatisfaction in public form can cause such irrational logic. Crucial Paradigm has done nothing to rectify the situation and Neils didn’t directly attack Crucial Paradigm’s staff, instead he voiced his opinion regarding the service or lack thereof that they provide. CP should be looking at ways to retain customers by providing conscientious, efficient customer service. Neils should receive a full refund of all services paid for along with an apology for the ludicrous, inexcusable actions that CP wants to take.

    1. Hi Irving Padilla,

      This has nothing to do with the customer venting their opinion of dissatisfaction in the public. The sole reason is due to the customer’s blatant use of profanity towards our staff members on Twitter.

      We are more than happy to deal with our customers issues, complaints, etc on a public forum. We have done so in the past and will continue to work with customers. However we have a strong stance of abusive or foul language towards our customers.

      Kind Regards,
      Aaron Weller
      Crucial Paradigm

      1. Aaron, this is now comical to me. “I have to get away from the computer or I’m going to completely flip the fuck out over your Crucial Paradigm’s non responsiveness” is a direct emotional reaction to the service that your company provided. Neils hasn’t in any form directed any vulgarities, verbal abuse, or provoked any of your staff members. The only thing he did was vent his frustration.

        Your reply of “The sole reason is due to the customer’s blatant use of profanity towards our staff members on Twitter.” is unjust and a cop out to the real problem at hand. Please stop embarrasing yourself any further by promulgating irrational logic and fix his problem along with a complete refund for all services paid for.

        Irving Padilla.

      2. Wow. I’m going to curse a bit here, but I’m allowed to because I’m not (nor ever will be) one of your customers.

        Look, Aaron, Crucial Paradigm reacted to a customer’s emotional outburst by essentially saying “We don’t want your money anymore, because you are foul mouthed and hurt my feelings.”

        Neil’s comment was in no way a “blatant use of profanity” towards your staff member. If I were tell you to pull your head out of your ass, *that* would be pretty blatant. Someone saying that they are going to “flip the fuck out” is not the same as saying “fuck you and your shitty customer service, Crucial Paradigm”.

        I truly hope that you have lost business over this. Welcome to the internet, where all of your bullshit is up for scrutiny. If Crucial Paradigm had handled this like a business instead of dealing with it like a butthurt 12 year old getting their hair pulled, this wouldn’t have turned into such a clusterfuck for you.

        At least now there are a lot more people who know the name of your company. Congratulations.

  6. Don’t forget, clearly, the whole reason/cause of the outburst in the first place is Crucial Paradigm’s (CP)lack of response to Neils’ apparently urgent issue. Repeated attempts to reach and resolve a customer service rep failed. Delaying, ignoring, avoiding, pissing off paying customers was the cause of the outburst. CP is using Neils outburst as a convenient excuse and justification for bad CS and obviously CP hoped he would just go away. Wrong.

    1. If they had just told me on Friday to buzz off until Tuesday, I wouldn’t have minded. At least then I would’ve been able to focus on other things until they were able to respond to my requests.

      My issue now is that they seek to turn off my account with an indefensible accusation… unless they have an employee named “non responsiveness”. 😛

      1. Hi Neils,

        Thanks for your feedback.

        This is definitely a good suggestion, and something we will look into in future. At current time there is no way for us to have our support desk automatically mail customers of particular departments being unavailable during certain time periods – however its definitely something we will look into fixing in future.

        >> My issue now is that they seek to turn off my account with an indefensible accusation… unless they have an employee named “non responsiveness”. 😛

        We continue to answer your tickets, so I’m not sure what you are referring to here ?

        Kind Regards,
        Aaron Weller
        Crucial Paradigm

        1. >> My issue now is that they seek to turn off my account with an indefensible accusation… unless they have an employee named “non responsiveness”.

          > We continue to answer your tickets, so I’m not sure what you are referring to here ?

          I believe it was a tongue-in-cheek reference to his tweet.
          eg, the only way that his tweet can be read as being directed at someone (and not just as a rant into the ether) is if there was an employee at Crucial Paradigm with the name “Non Responsiveness”.

    2. Hi RGreenberg,

      This is not 100% true, repeatnone’s tickets that were not submitted to the Accounts & Billing queue were responded to in a timely fashion. Our tech support team are available 24/7, and were assisting this customer as best they could.

      In no circumstance did we avoid, ignore, or delay, so I’m not sure where you have found this information from.

      As already explained, the sole reason for this customer’s account being closed down was due to a breach of our AUP/TOS. The customer used profanity towards a staff member on Twitter. Whether due to frustration or not, we do not tolerate this kind of language towards our staff members.

      Kind Regards,
      Aaron Weller
      Crucial Paradigm

  7. I agree with the vast majority above, it’s definitely unfortunate. But you can hardly fault the company for wanting to do business with whomever they want. At the *very least* I would expect some kind of prorated refund.

    And the fact that this behavior is coming to light might make potential customers think twice before using them.

    1. hmmmm… “But you can hardly fault the company for wanting to do business with whomever they want.” Actually an ISP giving a client a week to move an account will cost the client, sometimes a lot of money and time, especially if the client in turn has clients that depend on him or her.
      It reminds me a little bit like a surgeon getting up mid-operation and walking away with a “I don’t want to operate anymore” 😛

    2. Hi opello,

      The customer was immediately offered a pro-rated refund, and we still stand by this.

      The offer has been extended to them to allow as much time as needed to move to another hosting company as well.

      Kind Regards,
      Aaron Weller
      Crucial Paradigm

  8. I’m going to have to say that what has happen to @repeatone is not fair by any means. But seriously how many customers go through bad experiences with companies like Crucial Paradigm. No company is perfect and many times companies fall short of their claims. Does that mean we should launch into an all out vendetta against them? Because thats what it looks like @repeatone is doing here. I’m reading some of his past post and the guy seems to have had a Crucial Meltdown when his tickets weren’t answered in the timely fashioned that he wanted. He went off bad mouthing them way before they decided to Terminate his account.

    So is every company suppose to monitor their twitter accounts 24/7 to make sure an angry customer like @repeatone doesn’t pop up?

    Also with them terminating his account isn’t it for the better? Who would want to keep working with a company that fell short of your expectations? I would rather take my business else where.

    Also looking at Crucial Paradigms twitter account it doesn’t seem super active and as if its used as a means for customer support channel.

    @repeatone seems to be spitting so much negativity on this and instead should focus on moving on and implementing his plan B. He comes off as a little kid who didn’t get what he wanted and is throwing a public fit on twitter 140 characters at a time.

    It also doesn’t help when you talk to people like this:
    @crucialparadigm Do I need to reach out to bloggers, web hosting review forums & consumer watchdog sites to get your attention? (via @repeatone)

    I don’t think @CrucialParadigm realizes how many CEOs and web firms follow me on twitter. They canceled my account.(via @repeatone)

    Put yourself in the companies shoes. This is clearly a threat.

    Here are 2 pieces of advice other Twitter friends of @repeatone gave him.

    @repeatnone Mutually assured destruction is only fun if there are two players. That said, don’t do anything you’ll regret later. Please.

    @repeatnone A public complaint is one thing, a vendetta is another. Make sure your campaign is warranted, or it damages consumer power.

    I think an important lesson here is don’t have meltdowns with companies in such a public way. I think both parties lose here. @Crucial Paradigm lost a customer and maybe some future business but @repeatone looks to have lost way more. Hell hath no fury like a twitterer scorned.

      1. yes thats why I said future business. But what exactly is @repeatone gaining here? Aside from him venting. If I remember correctly the moment they terminated his account his demeanor changed. It went from “I’m Angry Customer you guys suck” to “Please don’t delete my account”.

        1. I agree, it beggars belief that the step they took to rectify poor customer service was denial of service.

          What did he gain? He gained a voice. A voice that was echoed across the ‘net by millions of others with “we won’t take bad customer service anymore”. 😛

          Crucial Paradigm lost a lot more than future business.

          1. I’m sure they will stay in business. Now if they go out of business all because of one angry customer then bravo to @repeatone.

            Seriously though have you read @repeatones meltdown leading to the termination?

    1. >>>No company is perfect and many times companies fall short of their claims.

      Crucial Paradigm did not meet the following claims from their website:
      http://tr.im/ARAc
      http://tr.im/ARAe
      http://tr.im/ARAf

      >>>Does that mean we should launch into an all out vendetta against them? Because thats what it looks like @repeatone is doing here.

      To wax semantics, according to Wikipedia, consumer activism is activism undertaken on behalf of consumers, to assert consumer rights. Consumer activist tactics can include boycotts, petitioning the government, media activism, and organizing interest groups.

      >>I’m reading some of his past post and the guy seems to have had a Crucial Meltdown when his tickets weren’t answered in the timely fashioned that he wanted. He went off bad mouthing them way before they decided to Terminate his account.

      Yep but they justified their desire to terminate my account for ‘abuse directed at our staff members on twitter’ and cited a specific tweet that contains no abuse directed towards staff members. In fact, none of my tweets even remotely qualify as ‘abuse directed at staff members’. How does saying ‘I have to get away from the computer or else I’m gonna completely flip the fuck out over non-responsiveness’ qualify as verbal abuse towards their staff?

      >>>So is every company suppose to monitor their twitter accounts 24/7 to make sure an angry customer like @repeatone doesn’t pop up?

      Obviously Crucial Paradigm was, hence seeking to terminate my service based on a tweet.

      >>>Also with them terminating his account isn’t it for the better? Who would want to keep working with a company that fell short of your expectations? I would rather take my business else where.

      I do not have the disposable income to take my business elsewhere.

      >>>Also looking at Crucial Paradigms twitter account it doesn’t seem super active and as if its used as a means for customer support channel.

      I did not seek support from them via twitter. I had myriad exchanges with them via their ticketing system over the previous 4 days. I never attempted to use twitter for anything other than a personal soapbox.

      >>>@repeatone seems to be spitting so much negativity on this and instead should focus on moving on and implementing his plan B. He comes off as a little kid who didn’t get what he wanted and is throwing a public fit on twitter 140 characters at a time.

      More like I used big boy language and Crucial Paradigm took their toys and went home.

      >>>It also doesn’t help when you talk to people like this:
      @crucialparadigm Do I need to reach out to bloggers, web hosting review forums & consumer watchdog sites to get your attention? (via @repeatone)

      When tickets and emails go unanswered and you can’t call your host and can’t fly to Australia, sometimes all you can do is defend your rights as a consumer through media activism.

      >>>I don’t think @CrucialParadigm realizes how many CEOs and web firms follow me on twitter. They canceled my account.(via @repeatone)

      True story.

      >>>Put yourself in the companies shoes. This is clearly a threat.

      It’s social media, get used to it.

      >>>Here are 2 pieces of advice other Twitter friends of @repeatone gave him.

      You found the only 2 responses that don’t wholeheartedly agree with me and took them entirely out of context. Intellectually dishonest, but effective. Kudos.

      >>>@repeatnone Mutually assured destruction is only fun if there are two players. That said, don’t do anything you’ll regret later. Please.

      I took that advice, my response was: “I plan to engage conversation around @CrucialParadigm’s brand and my experience as a consumer today.” the subsequent response from that ‘twitter friend’ was “I think that’s a very wise strategy. And one that @CrucialParadigm will live to regret.”

      >>>@repeatnone A public complaint is one thing, a vendetta is another. Make sure your campaign is warranted, or it damages consumer power.

      Again, good advice. I’ve made sure my ‘campaign’ is warranted.

      >>>I think an important lesson here is don’t have meltdowns with companies in such a public way.

      Concur, I only recommend it as a last resort after apologizing, begging and groveling. All of which I did.

      >>>I think both parties lose here. @Crucial Paradigm lost a customer and maybe some future business but @repeatone looks to have lost way more. Hell hath no fury like a twitterer scorned.

      For their sake, I hope Freshbot sees it that way too.

      1. Hi Neils,

        Let me clarify a few things you have listed here:

        >> http://tr.im/ARAc

        We have provided an excellent level of technical support in this instance. The issue you were facing was not a technical issue, but rather an Accounts & Billing issue, hence the reason for the longer than normal wait time.

        >> http://tr.im/ARAe

        This is in reference to Technical Support, and is true. Our Accounts & Billing and Sales departments are not available 24/7 as stated on our website.

        >> http://tr.im/ARAf

        This exert is from a completely different website which you did not sign up on, this is from www.crucial.com.au which is our completely Australian based division. This does not apply to www.crucialp.com and it not advertised in such a way on www.crucialp.com

        >> Yep but they justified their desire to terminate my account for ‘abuse directed at our staff members on twitter’ and cited a specific tweet that contains no abuse directed towards staff members.

        Your use of profanity at Crucial Paradigm via Twitter constitutes abuse, and hence account termination.

        >> Obviously Crucial Paradigm was, hence seeking to terminate my service based on a tweet.

        This is not true, our Twitter page mostly monitored during Australian business hours (AEST). When the Twitter page was checked in the morning when our staff came into the office, the abuse was noted and notice of termination provided. The Twitter page is no means a method for receiving support, however more to deal with any public relations with our customers. Our technical support staff do not check our Twitter page.

        Kind Regards,
        Aaron Weller
        Crucial Paradigm

  9. Once more point: This isn’t about a fancy boutique store open Mon to Fri 9am to 5pm, it’s about an ISP, a 24/7 service. Support should be pretty much a round-the-clock given, for at least a minimum number of employees at CP to ensure maximum uptime. Imagine you have a startup, suddenly find your site is offline, inaccessable by your customers or even you yourself. You’d be all over that…

    1. Oh I agree 100% but if you have problems with the ISP why not use your energy to implement a plan B and move to a better ISP? Instead of wasting your energy on all the negativity. If CP is that bad in time they will implode and go out of business soon.

    2. Hi RGreenberg,

      You are very right, we are a web hosting provider and our technical support staff are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. However like many other hosting companies and ISP’s we don’t have 24/7 Accounts & Billign nor Sales.

      >> Imagine you have a startup, suddenly find your site is offline, inaccessable by your customers or even you yourself. You’d be all over that…

      Our technical support staff are available 24/7/365, so you can always contact us if there is an issue 🙂

      Kind Regards,
      Aaron Weller
      Crucial Paradigm

  10. @Soreloser it’s not ONE customer. I told my 14,000 followers on Twitter, most of them Australian, to read this blog post. They in turn have retweeted it 14 times – that makes the exposure well over 80,000 maybe even 100,000 Australians. Plenty of cases of companies being hit badly by negative word of mouth.
    BTW His meltdown didn’t include enough F words – mine would’ve!!

    Now all we need is a journo to get involved 😛

    @RGreenberg this is pretty typical of service in Australia, unfortunately.

    By the way guys, I’ve added a chart to show the reach and exposure of the tweets overnight to the blog post.

    1. Wow thats quite a reach you got there. I’m sure I will be reading about CP’s downfall by next week.

      Now if you could please harness your Social Media powers and end World Hunger.

      1. Hi SoreLoser,

        Don’t worry, no chance of that happening any time soon 🙂

        We have been in business for 5 years, and maintaining solid growth, and continually bringing our service to new levels.

        Kind Regards,
        Aaron Weller
        Crucial Paradigm

  11. The hosting company in doing what they have – have now warned other users of their non-behaviour and inability to sort problems out.

    As Opello said “this behavior is coming to light might make potential customers think twice before using them.”

    Yes both parties may have acted in a childish manner BUT and BUT being the big word here – the ISP Should NOT have reacted in this manner. They should have sorted the problem out.

    I have domain names, I host those domain names, I have others who have domains, those people also use the same servers as me. See the connection? – I reach further than just my two domain names.

    If and when I am looking for new hosting I know where NOT to look – even if in 12-24 months times.

    I like to support AU based companies, but morals prohibit me from supporting bullies, who use their greater powers to achieve their goals

    1. Hi I_enigma,

      >> Yes both parties may have acted in a childish manner BUT and BUT being the big word here – the ISP Should NOT have reacted in this manner. They should have sorted the problem out.

      I don’t feel this is childish in the least, using profanity towards anybody is unacceptable and not something we tolerate towards our staff members (we consider it abusive). We treat our customers with the highest level of respect and excellent level of customer service – the only thing we ask in return in from our customers is that they treat us with respect as well.

      To avoid any confusion or problems down the track, this is clearly stated in our Terms of Service that every customer must agree to upon signing up.

      “Crucial Paradigm’s staff members

      Abuse of any kind in any communication between Client and Provider will not be tolerated. Provider reserves the right to Terminate Client Services for excessive abuse and the right to determine when to apply said Termination.”

      >> If and when I am looking for new hosting I know where NOT to look – even if in 12-24 months times.

      I’m sorry you feel this way, feel free to contact us at sales@crucial.com.au or call us on 1300 884 839 if you reconsider.

      >> I like to support AU based companies, but morals prohibit me from supporting bullies, who use their greater powers to achieve their goals

      We are definitely not bullies, and have worked above and beyond for this customer. We pride ourselves in our levels of customer service. Eventhough the customer has seriously breached our AUP, we have given them as much time as they require to move to a new hosting company, as well as providing them a pro-rated refund for the remainder of the unused period.

      Kind Regards,
      Aaron Weller
      Crucial Paradigm

  12. While I don’t disagree with the core points about Crucial Paradigm losing the battle of hearts and minds here — and it does look like they need to work on consistency of message, if nothing else — I reckon those TweetReach figures are a complete crock.

    The “exposure” numbers are clearly assuming that every person following someone sees and reads every tweet they make, which simply isn’t true. Many followers will be asleep, paying attention to something else, not active on Twitter at all ‘cos they’re an orphan account or robots.

    I know from my own experience that I’ve tweeted about certain things repeatedly over several weeks to the point where I felt I was completely over-doing it, only to have people still ask me what I was talking about.

    I daresay the higher the volume of someone’s Twitterstream the less likely an individual tweet will be seen, all other things being equal.

    I won’t comment further on the specifics of the case ‘cos I have a conflict of interest: I own a business which, amongst other things, sells hosting services, and I believe one of my clients is or has been a customer of Crucial Paradigm.

    1. The exposure is true, as i have no idea of the laurel BUT i her blogs like six times today. I find it interesting because twitter is turning into a great communication engine.

  13. I took the liberty of firing an email off to them expressing the fact that after this debacle I will never be hosting with them. They replied – rather quickly I may add:

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for contacting us.

    Thank you for your feedback. Please keep in mind there is 2 sides to every story.

    Feel free to contact us if there is anything else we can help with.

    Kind Regards,
    Aaron Weller
    Crucial Paradigm

    Hmmmm….

    1. Aaron has explained his ‘side of the story’ to me many times, and I quote “This is a clear cut case of you using abusive language towards our staff members.”

    2. Andrew,

      We’re you previously a customer of CP? If you were I would follow their advice that there are 2 sides to the story.

      I mean if your service wasn’t suffering why cancel?

      If you weren’t don’t worry about it and go with some other hosting company.

        1. Troll?

          Seriously man I’m telling you CP terminating you for you supposedly threatening their staff is retarded.

          But you acting like a 5yr old because he didn’t get his way and saying its consumer activism is also retarded.

          Power to the people! I suggest you use your new found voice and power in Social Media to reach out to some of those CEO’s that follow you so closely and get some real work. I mean paying work to where you don’t have to put up with bullshit hosting companies like CP.

          Stop spending so much time on your keyboard crying and playing the victim and get to work man. CP will eventually implode.

          Again what are you gaining here? Aside from the new found voice your friend here said you are gaining.

          Is all this ranting and crying gonna bring back the time and effort you wasted already?

          What exactly were you doing before all this debacle that you have no disposable income for your business?

          Again I’m sorry you suffered so bad at the hands of CP but at the same time pick yourself up and keep moving forward. Don’t waste your time on something that won’t really bring anything good to fruition.

          1. Those that stand for nothing fall for anything.

            The fact that Neils has nothing to gain and could easily shrug and say “oh well, the next person might have better luck” means he is standing for something.

            …And he’s not acting like a 5 year old on here…

            Stil, sorry you feel that commercial reality means you can’t voice how you really feel because CrucialParadigm might pull the plug on you, or a client might. A sorry state the world has come to, with this political correctness and social/business niceties…

  14. Laurel, not commenting on something in which I have a clear conflict of interest isn’t “political correctness and social/business niceties”, it goes to the very heart of credibility.

    That said, I could write something and then make my connections clear. But that’s more time-consuming and quite frankly I couldn’t be arsed this morning.

  15. “Those that stand for nothing fall for anything.” – Laurel Papworth

    Wise words there and its exactly because I stand for something that I refuse to fall for Neils act of the playing innocent part.

    Here is another one good quote “Pick and chose your battles”.

    Again I ask you did you see how many times he bad mouthed them before the responded back to him? Then the moment they say they are terminating his account his demeanor changes to saying I’m sorry don’t delete my account.

    I’ve seen that behavior in kids when they are whining and whining about something not being fair and then you take something away and they throw a fit. Just like Neils did over tons of postings on CP 140 characters at a time.

    Your post is titled How Not to do Customer Service on Twitter but again I say I don’t think CP is using Twitter as a Customer Service channel.

    I never said you can’t voice how you feel. But a post or 2 would be just fine why wage a vendetta on a sucky company that is bound to fall apart anyways?

    Am I the only one troubled by the fact that Neils has no money at the moment yet he claims to have a ton of CEO’s and business leaders following him on Twitter?

    Sounds to me like he might be running a sucky business himself. Last I checked if a business has a shitty hosting company they simply keep moving and keep doing business by switching to a reliable hosting company.

    Laurel Papworth I do want to say I applaud your effort in trying to help the little man here but it seems Neils has bigger issues then a shitty Hosting Company.

    Keep reading some of his postings on there and go way back and you begin to see a pattern. Seems he gets pissed off a lot at Tmobile and other local organizations.

    1. >>>I refuse to fall for Neils act of the playing innocent part.

      Innocent as in deprived of something or innocent as in free from legal fault?

      >>>Again I ask you did you see how many times he bad mouthed them before the responded back to him?

      Did you see how many support tickets I filed before bad mouthing them? No.

      >>>Then the moment they say they are terminating his account his demeanor changes to saying I’m sorry don’t delete my account.

      Are you suggesting I should’ve responded, “Thanks, please delete my account”?

      >>>I’ve seen that behavior in kids when they are whining and whining about something not being fair and then you take something away and they throw a fit. Just like Neils did over tons of postings on CP 140 characters at a time.

      And as well, 9-11 first responders, Iranian voters, British NHS users, Tea Partyers, victims of Texas CPS, etc.

      >>>Am I the only one troubled by the fact that Neils has no money at the moment yet he claims to have a ton of CEO’s and business leaders following him on Twitter?

      My followers aren’t interested in my money, they’re interested in my tweets.

      >>>Laurel Papworth I do want to say I applaud your effort in trying to help the little man here but it seems Neils has bigger issues then a shitty Hosting Company.

      Your repeated ad hominem attacks are devaluing an otherwise civil and interesting discussion.

      >>>Keep reading some of his postings on there and go way back and you begin to see a pattern. Seems he gets pissed off a lot at Tmobile and other local organizations.

      T-mobile didn’t terminate my account (and I was ~way crankier towards them). Instead, they gave me a free Nokia 6301 and router.

  16. Hi All,

    I’d like to clear up a few things regarding this incident. Under no circumstances do we cancel customer’s accounts for voicing their opinion regarding our service, or bad comments. We are a member of a number of web hosting forums, have our own public forums, use Twitter and Facebook so as to gather customer feedback. In this particular instance a statement with profanity in it was directed at Crucial Paradigm staff on Twitter. This is in breach of our AUP/TOS, which all our customers must agree to while signing up with our service. If they do not agree with the AUP/TOS then they are more than welcome to take their business elsewhere and not sign up with our service (this is completely their decision). Our AUP/TOS can be found here: http://www.crucialp.com/site/aup.php

    And the particular part of the AUP/TOS in question:

    “Crucial Paradigm’s staff members

    Abuse of any kind in any communication between Client and Provider will not be tolerated. Provider reserves the right to Terminate Client Services for excessive abuse and the right to determine when to apply said Termination.”

    The use of profanity towards Crucial Paradigm and its staff members on Twitter is considered excessive abuse and not tolerated. We treat our customers with the highest regard, and all we ask for in return is for our staff members to be treated with a little respect.

    Repeatnone may have forgotten to mention the countless times we have helped him above and beyond on issues which are not even usually covered by our support. That being said there was a bit of delay in getting this issue resolved due to several reasons:

    1. Accounts & Billing are not available 24/7, they are available 9AM – 5PM, Australian Eastern Standard time. Accouns & Billing are not available on NSW (Australia) public holidays. Monday was a public holiday, and due to the time difference (15 hours) it appeared to the customer we did not reply on Friday as it was actually Saturday here in Australia.

    2. Our Technical Support is available 24/7 and did their best to help this customer. However as this was an issue which they did not have the training to fix, it needed to be completed by Accounts & Billing.

    3. Accounts & Billing did not reply to repeatnone during this time as they were not in the office, and hence why he did not get a reply.

    4. This particular issue was unusual and rare, and had to do with one of our vendor systems which added complexity and time to resolve the issue.

    Repeatnone has also been provided with an extension for as long as required to move his hosting elsewhere, and a refund provided for any unused time he has left with Crucial Paradigm.

    We take pride in the level of customer service we provide to our customers, and under no circumstances do we punish customers for publically talking about our company and any frustrations they might have.

    Kind Regards,
    Aaron Weller
    Crucial Paradigm

  17. Thank you Aaron for your response. You are of course in the minority – using profanity on Twitter in connection to a brand name is not a personal attack nor is it directed to an staff member but you will not be convinced. Usually if you don’t like what people are saying on Twitter, you block them – your response still looks extreme to a general moan of frustration. Read my Rules at top of page and you’ll see I recommend “criticise the idea/service, don’t criticize the person”. Still, I thank you for responding, in depth, though a little too late I suspect.

    To the rest of you consider this: In the Age of Social Media that is coming, what if Woolworths Supermarkets, health providers and Government agencies implement a similar ToS or Rules of Engagement? Any time you tweet, Facebook or blog “Shitty service at Telstra” or “Woolworths prices are fuckin’ ridiculous” or “I think my medical insurance is a bloody rort” you can and will be denied food, phone service and medical services. A generic open tweet, not directed at a staff member, becomes a defamatory attack… don’t’ believe me? Read Aaron’s arguments above again and keep an eye on Senator Conroy…

    1. So what if Woolworths or Telstra implement similar terms of service? Business should have the right to choose what constitutes appropriate customer / staff interaction (within the bounds of law, naturally). If Crucial Paradigm wish to build a culture based around mutual respect between staff and customer, wouldn’t it be oppressive to stop this?
      The fact that they’re willing to drop a paying customer to uphold their culture shows, to me, a huge amount of backbone. If I’ve gotten anything out of all this, I’ve become aware of Crucial Paradigm and respect the way they’ve handled the situation, would definitely consider their services in the future.

      >> In the Age of Social Media that is coming

      Social Media isn’t an excuse for ignoring contractual agreements. It’s merely a quicker, more permanent way of communicating with wider audiences. If he didn’t intend for Crucial Paradigm staff to read his venting, why did he post it publicly and why did he link it to CP’s twitter account?

      1. >>>If he didn’t intend for Crucial Paradigm staff to read his venting, why did he post it publicly and why did he link it to CP’s twitter account?

        I absolutely intended for CrucialParadigm to read it, but I didn’t direct any foul language towards their staff, as claimed.

  18. Laurel, to reinforce your point, this customer’s “profanity” (and I find the use of that term curious from a sociolinguistic perspective!) wasn’t even used to describe the service, let alone the staff member — but the customer’s own frustration!

    And a single use of the f-word triggered the penalty? In Australia, where that usage in that context would be acceptable in a broadcast timed to accept MA15+ rated material, and possibly acceptable at other times since it was just a single use?

    They must be remarkably fragile little petals at Crucial Paradigm!

    The AUP says: “We prefer to advise customers of inappropriate behavior [sic] and any necessary corrective action.” Yet Mr Weller’s description of events doesn’t indicate that any such advice was given. Curious. A simple “Please don’t use that language” seems a more grown-up way of dealing with the situation.

    I wonder why, in this case, the preferred option wasn’t taken, but it escalated straight to account termination? I’m starting to think we’re not getting the full picture here.

    Oh well, as I said on Twitter this morning, I think both sides of this one are behaving like tools.

  19. Aaron,

    >>>In this particular instance a statement with profanity in it was directed at Crucial Paradigm staff on Twitter.

    An @ sign followed by a username indicates a message directed at a user. Perhaps, and even this is a stretch, if I had begun my tweet with @CrucialParadigm, you’d have a leg to stand on, but I didn’t–I never made any comments towards any of your staff. This is obvious to nearly all privy but you.

    >>>repeatnone may have forgotten to mention the countless times we have helped him above and beyond on issues which are not even usually covered by our support.

    Whether or not that statement is true, it would be your decision to help me ‘above and beyond’ and it would have no bearing on my complaint.

    >>>This is definitely a good suggestion, and something we will look into in future. At current time there is no way for us to have our support desk automatically mail customers of particular departments being unavailable during certain time periods – however its definitely something we will look into fixing in future.

    It’s not just a good suggestion, it’s standard fare. And why don’t you promote this kind of dialogue behind closed doors?

    >>>I’m not sure what you are referring to here ?

    It was a joke. Your excuse for terminating my account is that I abused a staff member. Actually, I was addressing my need to take a breather over frustration at your non-responsiveness.

    >>>1. Accounts & Billing are not available 24/7, they are available 9AM – 5PM, Australian Eastern Standard time. Accouns & Billing are not available on NSW (Australia) public holidays. Monday was a public holiday, and due to the time difference (15 hours) it appeared to the customer we did not reply on Friday as it was actually Saturday here in Australia.

    Why you didn’t bother to inform your customers of the holiday, I really can’t understand at all. That was pure self-sabotage.

    >>>The sole reason is due to the customer’s blatant use of profanity towards our staff members on Twitter.

    Bullshit.

    >>>using profanity towards anybody is unacceptable

    Bullshit.

  20. Crucial Paradigm – so you are telling me that the Fish and Chip Shop down the road, even though they make horrible chips and still put salt on the chips even when you don’t ask for it. Are okay for customer and good for problem solving and I should go back?

    Even though my neighbour says they are still doing it?

    I am associated with 10 sites, all hosted with the one reseller AU based AND i have his mobiler number (had to use once in 5yrs) That is the type of serive I am looking for.

    Not a company/reseller/fish and chip shop that slams the door in my face if I get frustrated with their service and tell my neighbours/friends

    My last comment on this subject – airing one’s dirty laundry is not a pretty sight – sometimes you are better laying low until the dust storm blows over – get my hint?

  21. Seems this has now made its way on to Whirlpool.

    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1281846#r11

    Seems there name will for ever be damaged now, probably a good thing given this and other comments.

  22. I think its amusing that a staff member from Crucial Paradigm has seemingly been assigned the task to put out the flames on an unrelated site.

    Although I do find it strange that this staff member would state “This is not 100% true, repeatnone’s tickets that were not submitted to the Accounts & Billing queue were responded to in a timely fashion.”

    IMHO its not very professional go to blabbing about a client/former clients support tickets to various departments even in such a nondescript manner.

  23. The profanity used by Neils was obviously aimed at the service he was receiving, not the employees of Crucial Paradigm themselves. They had a fantastic chance to turn Neils into a champion and instead chose to tell him to take a hike. Cure the disease by killing the patient and all that.

    Hiding behind company policy is a great way to excuse being unreasonable.

  24. Great comments on post RT @alexasigno RT @SilkCharm How NOT to do Customer Service on Twitter Crucial Paradigm
    http://bit.ly/2t4caK

  25. How unfortunate for CP, i had heard of there services and have seen there adverts on the internet BUT this is definetely a bad thing for them as i will not be recommending there service to my clients..

    And they will still be in business several years from now BUT there reputation has defeinetely taken a battering today!

  26. Hi All,

    To provide clarification the decision by Crucial Paradigm for the closure of this account was made based on recent and past communication and dealings with this customer, the tweets were the final nail in the coffin so to speak. Due to respect for our customer privacy we cannot provide this information online.

    Crucial Paradigm is a company that provides business to business services. We must all remember that customers have every right to leave a provider if they are not satisfied with the services provided, and businesses also have the right to refuse service if they feel that it is not beneficial for both parties.

    We always aim to provide the best service and support we can and in most cases we do, simply by doing a Google search for reviews on Crucial Paradigm you will see that the majority of customers are extremely happy however like with all businesses you cannot always meet the expectations of every customer, be it you cannot provide the service you promise or the customer expects more than you promise to deliver.

    No business wants to get rid of customers, so before playing judge and jury please consider that there are always two sides to a story.

    Businesses are now treading the double edged sword that is social media, we get a lot of positive press through these mediums but also from time to time like all businesses we will also get bad press but there are also other considerations you must make before throwing the hammer down on who is right and who is wrong. To name a couple, what do you know about the company in question? What do you know about the person who is making the complaint? Can you verify all the claims made are true? As much as we love to use Twitter and Facebook we still have to act like a professional business and will not get caught up in what can be considered customer terrorism. Wouldn’t it be an interesting world if businesses could tweet complaints about customers 😉

    Due to respect for customers privacy businesses defending themselves online is akin to standing in court with a tape around your mouth without a defence lawyer. This does raise bigger questions for the future of social media and how businesses can proactively respond to claims and I’m sure this topic will receive more spotlight in the future.

    At the end of the day we no longer wish to continue our businesses relationship with this customer based on our previous history and recent communication which has not been published online. We stand by our decision and it should be noted that this customer has been provided as much time as required to move elsewhere, which basically means they will stay on our hosting service and continue to receive support until they find a new home for their website.

    Kind Regards,
    Aaron Weller
    Crucial Paradigm

    1. Mr Weller,

      You are absolutely correct that social media is a double-edged sword. In that light, consider this:

      A customer of yours posted something critical of your company. The public reaction from your company was to tell the person to take his business elsewhere. There was no back and forth, no public attempt at discussion, just a “get lost.” It is this reaction, without public discussion visible to others – which is the nature of social media, obviously – that has harmed your reputation.

      If your company (any company, really) is going to use social media, you must learn to manage expectations – and fortunately or unfortunately, social media means that those expectations are now public – better.

      You asked, “Wouldn’t it be an interesting world if businesses could tweet complaints about customers?” Since social media is about conversations, you can essentially do exactly that if the situation warrants. In this case, publicly, you didn’t even try, which was the real mistake you made.

    2. You claim to respect your customers privacy yet you state “To provide clarification the decision by Crucial Paradigm for the closure of this account was made based on recent and past communication and dealings with this customer, the tweets were the final nail in the coffin so to speak.”

      Your seemingly off hand statement may prevent a new provider from taking Neils, you have quite clearly breached the privacy of your customer.

      Nice work.

    3. >>>The decision by Crucial Paradigm for the closure of this account was made based on recent and past communication and dealings with this customer, the tweets were the final nail in the coffin so to speak.

      I’m glad you’re finally admitting that the sole reason for my account being closed down was NOT due to a breach of your AUP/TOS. Your previous lies aside, this shows evolution and growth. Good show.

    4. …and MAJOR props to you for doing the following:

      1) identifying that it was a deeper issue.
      2) leaving the confidential nature of that alone.

      To be honest, the only documents in public view are those leaked by Neils.

      You’re getting beaten up here, but I feel like this pretty much says all you need to and you can leave the rest alone.

      1. >>>MAJOR props to you for doing the following: 1) identifying that it was a deeper issue.

        If CrucialParadigm had cited deeper issues as their original reason, this blog post would NOT exist.

        2) leaving the confidential nature of that alone.

        Giving props to them for not breaching confidentially is somewhat analogous to high-fiving an estranged father for paying child support.

        >>>To be honest, the only documents in public view are those leaked by Neils.

        One document, to be precise. And again, if CrucialParadigm had given an honest explanation for termination to begin with, that document would never have emerged publicly.

  27. I think this shows a major flaw in Social Media because only Neils point of view really matters here.

    Again I ask all of you, why would you want to continue hosting with a company that isn’t providing the quality of service you desire?

    Also on the topic of consumer activism, Laurel Papworth why not look into Neils. Doesn’t it surprise you that someone with that many followers, many which include CEO’s and Shot Callers, is currently struggling to find a decent hosting company?

    Seriously look at his tweets. He has a pattern. He likes to play the victim. When things begin to fall apart he tosses up the Fire Sale line of offering his services for dirt cheap.

    Lets not forget the infamous offer to offer a no-holds bar session over the phone on how to use Social Media.

    This guy seems like a hack that is trying to sell the greatness of Social Media and seems to be failing at it.

    Maybe you should mentor him Laurel

    1. My point of view is reinforced by the vast majority of those involved in this conversation.

      >>>Again I ask all of you, why would you want to continue hosting with a company that isn’t providing the quality of service you desire?

      Again, lack of disposable income.

      >>>Also on the topic of consumer activism, Laurel Papworth why not look into Neils. Doesn’t it surprise you that someone with that many followers, many which include CEO’s and Shot Callers, is currently struggling to find a decent hosting company?

      I’m looking for a decent hosting company b/c CrucialParaidgm is seeking to terminate my account.

      >>>Seriously look at his tweets. He has a pattern. He likes to play the victim. When things begin to fall apart he tosses up the Fire Sale line of offering his services for dirt cheap.

      I can only ebb and flow with the state of the US economy.

      >>>This guy seems like a hack that is trying to sell the greatness of Social Media and seems to be failing at it.

      You seem like somebody with a personal grievance that is too lily-livered to address it in person.

      1. LOL @ address it in person. Meet me after school behind the willow trees.

        There are a ton of other people in the DFW community who feel this way but most really won’t say anything for the simple reason that we don’t want to call upon ourselves the attention you’ve given CP. It would be worthless because while other really are working hard and trying to make a difference, you sit at home all day at your keyboard and complaining about every little thing in life. If someone said something you would launch into one of your worthless rants and asking everyone to ReTweet you. and hitting up @GuyKawaski what he thinks about so so calling you out.

        Its probably why you weren’t invited to play with the other Social Media Expert @ Big D Design Conference.

        Enough about Neils though.

        Crucial Paradigm I hope you learned an important lesson here. You guys do need some help in the Social Media area and on how to deal with customers like Neils. You guys should really seek professional services in that area.

        Laurel seems to be up to date in this area and maybe she could be of great value to your company and pointing you in the right direction on Social Media.

        Please don’t get upset with crybabies like Neils and delete their accounts. I do agree it was a bad move but a funny one none the less.

        Neils get your act together man and stop crying and start making a difference. Use those contacts you got from LaidOffCampDFW and get back on your feet.

  28. SL, you are the only one with some sense on this chain. Do your due diligence folks, check this guy out, and dig a little deeper. RN sucks at relationships. That’s why he’s unemployed and constantly stroking his eyes with the Kleenex. He’s to big of a threat for any organization. If a service provider won’t take him, who will?

    1. >>>Do your due diligence folks, check this guy out, and dig a little deeper.

      No digging required Watson, all of my tweets are publicly searchable at neilsbrooks.com.

      >>>RN sucks at relationships. That’s why he’s unemployed and constantly stroking his eyes with the Kleenex. He’s to big of a threat for any organization. If a service provider won’t take him, who will?

      I’ve received more requests for proposals this past week than in all of September. The common thread? Every submitter has mentioned this blog post.

  29. Well I beg to differ when it comes to Lonestar’s above statement. I happen to believe that repeatnone has many desirable qualities, the most of which in this case being diligence. There is nothing wrong with standing your ground… and any person in his situation would show some sense of remorse and wavering emotion when running the risk of losing client confidence and credibility. In his attempt to prove a point regarding the supposed “sole reason” for the termination of his account, he ran the risk of such adolescent comments as the one above. Knowing this, he put his case “in front of the jury” willingly. I think that after all the tongue-lashing he has received (most of which from soreloser) that he has managed to keep an impressively cool and collected approach in matters of the opinion of the general public. He has not resorted to personal attacks (as you have obviously stooped to so very quickly) and has been very selective in his responses. I think its time to give a round of applause to all those who do not “bend over and take it.”

  30. SoreLoser,

    >>>LOL @ address it in person. Meet me after school behind the willow trees.

    You’ll never address your enmity in person, because unlike myself, you shrink from controversy under a cloak of anonymity.

    >>>There are a ton of other people in the DFW community who feel this way but most really won’t say anything for the simple reason that we don’t want to call upon ourselves the attention you’ve given CP.

    Probably so, but none I call friend or client.

    >>>It would be worthless because while other really are working hard and trying to make a difference, you sit at home all day at your keyboard

    Benighted ad hominem attacks are a poor substitute for reasoned, demonstrable arguments.

    >>>and complaining about every little thing in life.

    Homelessness, poverty and the subsequent inability to treat life-threatening medical conditions aren’t little things where I come from.

    >>>If someone said something you would launch into one of your worthless rants

    One man’s trash…

    >>>and asking everyone to ReTweet you.

    Event promotions excluded, I don’t recall having ever asked anybody to retweet anything–it’s tacky.

    >>>and hitting up @GuyKawaski what he thinks about so so calling you out.

    I’m interested in what the bottom of the totem pole thinks as well, as indicated by my tolerance of your sophomoric, hate-fueled drivel.

    >>>Its probably why you weren’t invited to play with the other Social Media Expert @ Big D Design Conference.

    I was personally invited by the organizers to attend for free. If you’re suggesting I go into detail publicly about why I rejected that invitation in favor of boycott, I’d be happy to oblige.

    >>>Crucial Paradigm I hope you learned an important lesson here. You guys do need some help in the Social Media area and on how to deal with customers like Neils. You guys should really seek professional services in that area.

    My criticism towards CrucialParadigm was of poor communication and supererogatory termination. The ethical questions that have been raised since revolve around CrucialParadigm’s right to terminate my account and my right to freedom of speech. CrucialParadigm committed no social media faux pax, rather, their support was not up to my standard and their explanation to terminate, disingenuous. My single benign tweet, and my decision to disclose it’s consequence, pale in comparison to Aaron’s misguided attempt at damage control. To be sure, he has caused more harm to his brand than I ever could or would care to.

    >>>Laurel seems to be up to date in this area and maybe she could be of great value to your company and pointing you in the right direction on Social Media.

    If you have such respect for Laurel, quit abusing her commenting system and pontificate about me on your own blog.

    >>>I do agree it was a bad move but a funny one none the less.

    I sincerely hope your webhost never puts you through what I’ve been through with CrucialParadigm.

    >>>Neils get your act together man and stop crying and start making a difference.

    Practice what you preach.

    >>>Use those contacts you got from LaidOffCampDFW and get back on your feet.

    Like most causes I lend my effort to, LaidOffCamp is a nonprofit, volunteer-led organization. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but our ‘contacts’ consist wholly of individuals who are not gainfully employed.

  31. Laurel, I’m wondering if you’re interested in making a follow-up comment on this issue?

    At the start, it looked like someone who’d received poor customer service was being hard done by. The service provider, previously unresponsive, was over-reacting. But it now seems to me that neither of the original communications cited, NB’s tweet and CP’s emailed response, were an honest or complete representation of the situation.

    There’s a lot of hypotheticals kicking around (“If you’d said X back then, then I’d have done Y”) which I discount completely ‘cos anyone can claim anything about what they might have done.

    I’m particularly interested in how this sort of problem should be handled from the service provider’s point of view.

    Eventually there’s a point where, as a business, you say “We don’t want to do business with this customer any more”. But how do you disengage once the fight has become public, given onlookers’ natural tendency to side with who they perceive to be the underdog — nearly always the customer rather than the business — and when the customer has already spread their version of events far and wide?

    1. Thanks for chiming in again Stil, as per usual, I appreciate your tone and candor.

      >>>But it now seems to me that neither of the original communications cited, NB’s tweet and CP’s emailed response, were an honest or complete representation of the situation.

      All that matters is I never used abusive language towards any of their staff members, anywhere, which they stated over and over to be the sole reason for termination until yesterday when Aaron retreated from that formerly adamant position.

      >>>I’m particularly interested in how this sort of problem should be handled from the service provider’s point of view.

      It should always be handled honestly.

      >>>But how do you disengage once the fight has become public?

      Apologize, clarify or decline to comment. Unfortunately for CrucialParadigm, clarification came far too late.

  32. @Stilgherrian “Laurel, I’m wondering if you’re interested in making a follow-up comment on this issue?”
    Hmm I’ve kinda said everything I want to say – at a business level, it’s interesting to me that a company would sack a client for a non-abusive use of a swear word.

    As a community manager, I personally don’t care if Neils is Saddam Hussein and the Bambi killer rolled into one. Why? Because online, in community management, you have to go on the evidence presented. Not get into discussions on ethics or values or whether someone is a guy or a girl or has had an account before or anything unverifiable. The evidence presented – Neils tweet and the email from the ISP answers what I need to know. After all the email (see embedded in post) doesn’t say due to consistent and overwhelming abuse after sufficient warnings. It more or less says here’s the tweet that made us sack you . I don’t sack clients (ban them from communities) on one action, I show them the warnings and their responses and build a case.

    When I train moderators I make them put a figure on the head of each member. Say $10 each. Now banning them is losing an initial $10, plus another 10 people ($100) who are friends and another 500 people who hear about the sacking and rumours that go with it. It stops the kind of gungho banning you see on the new essentialbaby forums where people are banned for even mentioning competitor sites. Of course removing a real ratbag might attract MORE members, so take that in to account.

    That’s kinda where my rambly mind takes me. Nothing more to add to what has been said. Over and over again 😛

  33. IMO, if I had an issue with a company where I had a vested interest in, I guess I would not have put that on Twitter. You know, if you are angry at your boss, you are not going to share those feelings with someone that is friends with him/her.

    So, did CP overreact? Maybe, but the fact is that it is done and so time to move on. Things happen in life, luckily we can adapt.

    FWIW, I think Repeat over-reacted once he was let go by CP… but he was right. He fucking flipped out.

  34. Wow! Stumbled on this while looking into a new hosting provider for my growing web dev company. At first was like hmm this is not scoring CP any points. But kept reading, and eventually changed my mind and believe it is showing balls for CP to draw a line in the sand over this. Although they certainly would wish they had just said at the outset “due to a number of recent communications we no will no longer be providing etc” rather than blamed it only on the tweet.

    Would suck to be the customer tho, but like a few people have said, why waste the energy on all this, can see at first it was maybe a hostage type situation, reinstate or I’ll tweet/post etc etc, but when theat backfired just move! Why stay with a company that would do that unless of course the customer is aware they were part of the issue.

    Not sure i understand when customer says doesnt have the disposable income to move? They got a refund didnt they? So is a moot point, Comes across as simple as they called the customer bluff and now the customer wishes they hadnt tried to bluff.

    And yes is odd that ceos etc would be followers, but they cant afford a shared hosting account.

    I mean i do feel sorry for customer, moving hosting sucks but if CP are to be beleived sounds like they flew off the handle first.

    Interesting precedent and interesting site.

  35. As a CP customer I find this fairly interesting. I can see where there is some gray area, but above all I actually think CP has made a fairly big mistake in its response to the situation. I’m not about to pack up and leave CP based solely on these issues, that would be more radical than CP’s actions, but this is certainly something I would take into consideration in my future decisions.

    In my view I think it was irrational to imply Neils directed abuse at CP staff. Based on what I have read here and on the Whirlpool thread it appears the sole determining factor for CP was the use of the @ symbol meaning the message was directed at CP staff. I think that in itself is a mistake because the meaning of the @ symbol is ambiguous. It could mean Neils was talking to CP staff, or alternatively I think what he actually intended to do was simply provide a clear reference to whom he was talking about. If I tweeted “Going to go eat a cake and then sign up for @CrucialParadigm” I honestly wouldn’t expect a customer service representative to call me and ask how my cake was. They would understand that I was talking about them, not to them.

    Beyond CPs response to Neils situation specifically the thing I find far more concerning is the fact they tied Neils twitter account back to his CP account. Does anyone else see how that might be of concern? In many ways identity is a fairly liquid concept in social networking. It’s one thing for CP to look at how many of its customers are tweeting about it and what they are saying, but it’s a whole different ball game when you begin associating those tweets with people’s accounts. If I put my full name and email address at the end of this post would CP be adding a note to my account to indicate what I had said about it? What is stopping them? And if I signed up for Twitter and implied (but not to the extent of committing fraud) that I was a different CP customer I didn’t like, is CP going to assume I am actually that person and disable their account too? Could be a fairly dangerous game…

    Lastly, I am undecided if all the CP respones on this post are a good thing or a bad thing. I like that CP is willing to entertain ideas like social networking and open discussion, but at the same time it was a little petty to come a respond a dozen times with formulaic responses. The only thing I am sure of is that Aaron Weller (who from experience I think is actually the top dog at CP) really shouldn’t have this much spare time on his hands! My customer service experience with CP hasn’t been seamless. Maybe he should be getting in there and closing off some support tickets!

  36. wouldn’t be fun to make a online vote system, to see how many for/against action taken by CP?
    i was looking for a new host(reseller) and lucky did a search on their name.
    i wont be hosting with them for sure, simply because CP couldn’t find a solution to this.
    there is always solution to any issues

    CP should read Dale Carnegie, how to win friends and influence people

  37. Go Crucial Paradigm.

    I sacked two whining, problematic clients today and feel a whole lot better for it. I’m more than happy for them to become a pain in someone else’s side.

    1. While I understand the need to “sack” clients, doing it because they chatted on Twitter about bad products or services is probably going to lead people to believe that “sacking” the client is more important than fixing the problems. And when it’s two or more clients….

  38. I’m a new CP customer and although I came across this thread AFTER I signed up and thought “Yikes, what’s this!?” – I still rate them as being fast, friendly, professional and value for money. Email and phone support has been nothing but efficient and polite.

    After reading through this debate, I’m sure both parties have learned valuable lessons here!

    Kudos to Aaron and CP for taking part in this and airing the “dirty laundry” in public when so many companies would have just called in the lawyers. Who knows, maybe it’s all just a PR Stunt ? hehe

    Overall, I feel CP have come out stronger and I think it’s reassuring that they have such human and solid values.

    I’m glad I signed up to them and would certainly recommend them.

  39. Hey Laurel,
    Thanks so much for bringing this to our attention, I was looking for an alternative hosting company to make the move as my current hosting company envisageau.net is getting really bad on tech support. My next choice was Crucial Paradigm but after reading this I’m back on search
    DavidM

  40. hm, was just about to sign up for one of the VPS’s but fortunately managed to find this threat when searching for CP reviews.

    have to say this has stopped me from actually signing up as it’s quite scary that a VPS account and set up (where hours work goes in to, not to mention time it takes to migrate clients etc) can be cancelled based on a twitter message which just vent’s a frustrated customers anger in maybe not the best way but not in a abusive way towards CP staff.

    every customer should have a chance and a warning issued by CP would have been sufficient in my eyes.

  41. Awesome for CP that this is the top link when I google for “Bad Customer Service”.

  42. That is indeed a massive overreaction by CP. I hope you found a better host.

    Anyway, I find that you cannot expect too much from Australian web hosts. There’s always a few bolts missing. American web hosts offer far higher quality and I doubt very much that this sort of stuff will happen with reputable USA hosts like Linode and Slicehost. Anyway, I also have an account with CP and some of their techies seemed to lack some really fundamental knowledge. They’re not bad, but if I weren’t with CP already, I wouldn’t use them just because of what was described in the article.

    Anyway, I won’t say more in case my account get cancelled.

    1. Oh, right, this happened on the USA Crucial Paradigm. In any case no one abused CP staff. Anyone with an once of rationality can see that the tweet did not target any person. There was no reason for CP to behave this manner.

      There are far better web hosts out there. If they’re going to provide poor customer service and be unreasonable then there’s no reason anyone should risk doing business with CP.

  43. There are certain customers you just don’t want. Ones that take to the web to bash you are a very good example. If you don’t like the service you’re getting, go somewhere else. But don’t be putting something out there where everyone can read it when you don’t have all the facts. All that does is hurt someone else’s reputation and, if you have a conscience at least, make you feel bad when you find out that you didn’t know the whole story.

    Now back to the point. If you have a customer who is constantly complaining and taking up all your time (your most valuable resource), you don’t want them. May as well kick ’em out sooner rather than later. You will never please this type of person and they will be a constant thorn in your side from here to eternity.

    I’d really like to meet the person who coined the phrase “The customer is always right”, so I could teach him a thing or two about people. The fact is, the customer is NOT always right, and any one of you who has ever been on the other end of this knows it.

    Neils needs to learn some civility. How would he like it if one of his clients did this to him?

    1. >>”But don’t be putting something out there where everyone can read it when you don’t have all the facts. All that does is hurt someone else’s reputation”

      Pot, meet kettle.

      >>”Neils needs to learn some civility. How would he like it if one of his clients did this to him?”

      It seems you’re confusing CPs hypersensitivity and PR response with me whining and saying fuck. What Crucial Paradigm did to themselves in the wake of my grievance, is their cross alone to bear. As for civility, sir, I welcome death before discourtesy… unless you fuck with my money. Then all bets are off.

  44. This just made up my mind for me. I’m definately going to use Crucial Paradigm.
    I run a business and this is exactly how I would deal with this. I was umming and aahhhing about whether to use these guys. I’m coming from Netlogistics and the service is awesome, they just dont have a product that suits my current needs.

  45. I used to be with Crucial Paradigm some time ago and I recently thought of re-joining them so I thought about researching a bit about them, and I find this. I know I’m probably over-reacting, but I ended up not signing up with them.

    I left Crucial Paradigm a few years ago because of serious technical issues with their server, which resulted in the loss of a fair bit of data. The customer service was not apologetic but not really defiant either…they just seemed to have zero idea what was happening. The level of technical competence was simply poor.

    Anyway, I never took the issue any further and quietly left them. But now seeing this post, I can’t help but feel angry again over the damage that was done to the server because of their technical failures, and the month of extreme stress dealing with it. I don’t want to go into too much detail over what happened, but it was very bad, and they acted so calmly and normal, not grasping the magnitude of the issue.

    To be fair, I did experience VERY fast response times with their customer support. It’s just that the actual quality of response was basically worthless and we just went around in circles achieving nothing. I was polite all the way mind you. I’m a very nice guy. My experience with the performance of their servers themselves was OK, nothing to celebrate over.

    I hope it’s better now for their OWN sake AND their customers. They can no longer to completely continue to suck profits from customers due to the geographic isolation of Australia…now we have entrants such as Amazon EC2 who are settling into Sydney. In the end I just ended up with another web host in Australia (which is mediocre). I had also tried US companies such as Linode and Rackspace which by the way are friggin’ awesome, but I’ve not with them anyway more…not because they aren’t super(they are).

    1. Wow I totally mangled the last sentence didn’t I? I’m not with them anymore for unfortunate reasons is what I meant to say.

  46. It means that you get total discounts at the time of subscription. People,
    who are planning to use their own software, they
    must not choose this hosting service. Elements such as text,
    graphics, images, font sizes and colors are used in designing
    and producing pages for a web site.

Comments are closed.

Recent Content