Have you ever been completely baffled when dealing with organizational red tape? Working at both large and small organizations, I have an appreciation for a level of standardization (and the benefits it can bring) but there comes a point in time when we lose the human/customer aspect for the sake of filling out a form.
Years ago – I had purchased a lease on the web address webermedia.com. Back in the day, I used this address for an ad hoc graphic design business, helping to pay my way through graduate school.
I had managed the address through the company, Network Solutions and I had a deal that was a lease for at least 16 or so years (it was a good deal).
Fast forward from 2000 and as I am building out the Orangeheel site, I remember my old site – and think to myself… hmmm, do I still own that site? – or has someone else snagged it. One quick whois search and I notice that I am still the owner. Sweet! – Let’s make use of this asset.
Now since 2000, Network Solutions has been bought and sold numerous times (6?) and most likely changing its infrastructure (and perhaps offshoring its workforce). When I went to log in to my account and retrieve my password (yep – I forgot after 16 years) I noticed that my email on file was allocated to a now defunct ‘bellsouth.net’ service (remember dial-up and the baby bells?).
Ugh – ok – let me email the company and see what they can do…
Wait – there is no email… What?
Ah – there is a fax reset function… cool – let’s do that.
After filling out the fax form, photocopying licenses, electric bills, etc. – I successfully faxed in my form to change the email. Now I wait.
1 month later – no word at all from Network Solutions… ok great. Let’s call the phone number and see what a live human can do…
Cue Jeopardy waiting music.
After sitting on hold for who knows how long, I got in touch with a customer service representative. To give the company (and this woman) credit – she was very helpful, apologetic and assisted me with my form submission. Hallelujah! – This looked to be close to closed.
As I wait patiently for my access to my address (I did pay for this, and do own it) I received a very strange email from Network Solutions.
Dear Lawrence Weber Jr.,
I apologize for the inconvenience. Please be advised that you have to be a listed contact in order to request for an email address change via our Email Reset fax request. Instead, I am sending you instructions on how to initiate a Primary Contact Replacement form for your organization.
The Primary Contact for an account is the person who is designated by an Account Holder to have full access to, as well as the rights and responsibilities for, the products in a specific account. If the Account Holder is an organization, and the organization wants to change the listed Primary Contact, the best way to make the change is by having the current Primary Contact initiate the change via Account Manager. Kindly refer to the link below:
Incomplete faxes or multiple submissions will not be processed. Please allow 2 business days for your fax request to be reviewed. Once reviewed, we will contact you with further information concerning your request.
If you have any other questions about this issue, please contact our Support Center and refer to Ticket Number ######. A Specialist will be happy to further assist you and ensure that we completely resolve your issue as quickly as possible.
Fax Processing Specialist
Network Solutions, a Web.com Company
What the heck?!
I am not the listed contact? – I AM THE ONLY CONTACT – What the heck does this mean?!
Ugh – Ok – back to the phone – lets figure this out. After 30 minutes of hold time… and 3 transfers (and had to re-tell my story each time – fun) I finally get ahold of the fax processing department.
After telling my story (and issue) for the n-th time – I am told that my license name does not match my registration name – and the sole issue with this is the ‘Jr.’ at the end of the name. What?!?!?
A 20 minute conversation/argument then unfolds – I am registered as the owner of the site ‘webermedia.com’ as Lawrence Weber… yet am registered with Network Solutions as Lawrence Weber Jr. …my License states one and my utility bill states another… At the end of the conversation, the fax processing specialist states that I could be trying to steal the site from my father. Ugh.
“Ok – just tell me what I need to do to change this.”
“You need to fill out another form, giving approval to ‘Lawrence Weber Jr.’ to be the Primary Contact for the site.”
“But – How are you sure that I’m not trying to steal this site from my father?”
“Sir, just fill out the form and send it in”
Are you kidding me?
So as I fill out this form, Network Solutions is looking for my business license and other fun hoops that I will have to jump through to take hold of my old site. I’m really not sure that this will do the trick, but I’ve already wasted enough time fighting, arguing, trying to get this done. Is it more efficient to just give in and go with the flow – no matter how ridiculous?
Time will tell if I get webermedia.com back in time to do anything useful with it, but we need to step back and really think through what we put our customers through. I got the feeling that the company really could care less about me, or my repeat service – and perhaps that might be the truth. (The IRS really is not looking for feedback is it?)
I suspect that has companies fall on hard time and new business models, the focus many time comes down to cutting costs. While this is fine – you do not do so at the expense of the current customer, the prospective customer or the service that surrounds it. At the end of the day, no matter how much cost you cut, you still need income, you still need revenue (profitable of course). My experience with Network Solutions leads me to think that they are not investing in attracting new (or repeat) customers and perhaps are moving to another business model, where I might be an unattractive customer. So be it. I’ll move on – but I’ll never forget this experience.
Let’s embrace common sense.