[thelist] This ISP has got the idea!!

Seb Barre sebastien at oven.com
Wed Oct 18 11:37:45 CDT 2000

At 08:06 AM 10/18/2000 -0800, you wrote:
>The right idea about what? Being assholes? Screw that! I don't pay people to
>give me the Nietzschian sink or swim shit. It's one thing to offer discount
>access with no tech support (Is $10 really that cheap? One of our local
>telcos runs an ISP that offers a $10 account if you get your long distance
>through the telco.), but there's no reason to be abusive about it. I think
>that's just completely uncalled for. And warning somebody in advance that
>you don't offer support doesn't give you the latitude to be a raging
>dickhead in your letter back.
>It doesn't seem to me that that kind of business plan is going to get them
>rich. Maybe that's not what they're after, and caveat emptor and all that,
>but geez...what bunch of horse crap...

Here's an opinion from the other side of the fence.  I worked for an ISP 
for three years, first as the ONLY sales and tech support guy (we were 
small) and then as an internal resource developer, but still regularly 
exposed to tech support issues and training etc..

ALOT of people rushed into this Internet Thing(tm) way too quickly and 
without thinking about it.  They rush out, buy a 3000$ computer and give 
you their credit card number to get onto the Internet because everyone is 
telling them to do it, yet they can barely find the power button on their 
machine, let alone understand that the modem uses the phone line to connect 
to the Internet, or how a browser works.  Many of them expected us to give 
them tech support for their whole computer, or TEACH them how to use the 
Internet once they signed up.  How do you think I felt when a guy who just 
signed up for a year of unlimited service calls up and says "Ok, I got your 
software installed, now what do I do?".  Ugh.  Then imagine me explaining 
to him that you connect to the net and start browsing or using email and he 
says "Ok how do I do all that stuff?".   Then he got mad when I politely 
suggested that he take a course or buy a book.  HE should figure this stuff 
out?  No way..  WE should be holding his hand all the way and guide him 
throughout the entire Internet..  yep.. that's what we should do.

I've heard customers say things that would make you cry, and I've had to 
listen to countless customers bitch at me because THEY didn't do their 
research, and they expected everything to just work perfectly the first 
time without any involvement or research by them.  One guy thought we were 
giving him the computer to get on the Internet too!  Yeah for 12$/month you 
get a computer with that.  Hell why don't we pay for your phone line 
too?  And of course he asked this AFTER he signed up for an account.  I 
often wondered how these people survived to be adults.  While I agree that 
the Flex site seems a bit rough, it's probably because otherwise people 
won't listen, and will sign up anyways, and then he/they will have to deal 
with these ignorant fools who refuse to be responsible for themselves and 
understand what they're getting into before they sign up.

I would bet anything that these guys either a) ran a normal ISP before or 
b) worked at a normal ISP before, and have just been disgruntled and jaded 
by the hordes of people that are rushing to the Internet like lemmings to a 
cliff..  Like ANYTHING else in life, everyone is personally responsible for 
knowing what they are getting into and understanding their 
responsibilities.  YEAH RIGHT.  Nice in theory, doesn't happen in practice.

And yes, I am VERY jaded about all this, having lived through it for 3 
years and seen the amount of ignorance that is out there, and the scary 
trend towards less personal responsibility (hell, my lawyer will take care 
of anything I didn't think of when the shit hits the fan, right?).  Sure, 
there were customers who admitted they knew nothing, and we even had 
customers cancel when they realized they weren't ready to go online and 
needed more knowledge first, but they were the minuscule minority, and most 
customers just got pissed off at us and yelled at us when they couldn't 
figure stuff out.

And before you rant back at me, we had KICKASS tech support, and we were 
way more friendly and supportive of our customers than most other ISPs, but 
there are limits to what you can do for someone when they just don't know 
enough about the computer itself, let alone the Internet.  FlexNet doesn't 
offer any tech support, and I think they're doing the right thing by being 
really blunt about it.

Blah.  that's my rant.  I loved that FlexNet place, I think they are 
offering a good service, and they're doing themselves a favour by being 
that abrasive, mainly because the clientele they're after will appreciate 
the attitude, not be revolted by it.  It's all about pandering to your 
target market.

--- -- -
Seb Barre - sebastien at oven.com
OVEN Digital Toronto
Work: 416-595-9750 x 222
Mobile: 416-254-5078

More information about the thelist mailing list