One of the disadvantages of working for myself is that I have to be my own IT department (I also have to be my own sales & marketing, administration and everything else, but that’s another story). Usually that’s not a problem, but every once in a while there’s a persistent problem that requires repeated follow-up, and I have to spend my time following up rather than doing work for my clients.
This week, that problem is email, specifically Yahoo email. I use Yahoo Small Business for the email and web hosting for my main business domain. My primary reason for using Yahoo is their webmail interface, since I do some amount of access from internet cafes: it’s the best, hands down, of all the webmail interfaces that I’ve ever used. They also have fabulous spam protection: I almost never receive spam, but it’s all diverted to bulk mail folder on the webmail so that I can review it to make sure that nothing that I really want is in there. They also provide a web hosting package that includes more functionality that I am currently using, and everything that I want for the type of site that I run at this time.
The problem is in my auxiliary mailboxes: I have separate mailboxes for several different purposes, such as one for all the technical e-newsletters that I receive, one for business news, and one as my primary email account. That way, if I’m viewing them through webmail, I can just look at my main mailbox; and when I pull them all into Outlook on my desktop, I can use automated rules filtering by the To: address to put them into separate folders. On Sunday, however, I went in to make some modifications to one of my auxiliary mailboxes (never mind the gory details) and was unable to make any changes but received the message “The system is either busy or unavailable. Please try again later.” Okay, no problem. I tried again later on Sunday, no dice, so sent a request for help to Yahoo Small Business customer service. Monday, no response and the problem still occurred. Tuesday, ditto. Wednesday, the problem was still there, so I sent another message. Today, still a problem, so I sent another message that begins with “THIRD REQUEST FOR HELP. PROVIDE ASSISTANCE OR LOSE MY BUSINESS.”
Understand that this is not a free Yahoo email account, this is an account that I pay for each month, and that I use to run my business. Paying for service should entitle me to some sort of customer service response, especially since it is now four days after my original request and their website assured me that the average email response time is 4-6 hours.
I have to imagine that there’s something broken in their customer service processes — how else could they explain ignoring a customer sending three requests for help on the same issue over a period of five days?