|Bluehost‘s director of customer service? Maybe.|
More than a year ago, after significant frustrations with Westhost, I switched Contentious.com to Bluehost — and went through the hassle of moving the complex mass of files that this 10-year-old blog has become.
I’m really starting to regret that decision.
When I pay someone for service, at the very least I expect to be treated with respect. Today, Bluehost failed miserably on that front.
One of the main reasons I chose Bluehost was that they offer add-on domains, and I knew I’d need to host a separate domain for another project I’m working on (it wasn’t huge and wouldn’t take up much space or bandwidth, so I saw no point in paying for a separate hosting account for it).
Things were generally going OK with hosting both sites on my Bluehost account, until last November, when Contentious got hacked — someone sniffed my password when I logged on over open wifi and inserted spam into my blog. From that, I learned the importance of using secure login (SSL) for my WordPress blogs.
After much help from Tom Vilot, I was able to get the Admin-SSL WordPress plugin working for Contentious.com. (Bluehost tried hard at the time to upsell me on their $45/year SSL certificate and $30/year dedicated IP address, which I thought was ridiculous just to get secure login for a WordPress blog. All I need for that is access to their shared SSL.)
Since my other Bluehost-hosted site on the add-on domain includes a WordPress blog, and since I travel a lot and thus must sometimes rely on open wifi, I wanted to implement Admin-SSL for WordPress on my add-on domain. Tom was trying hard to make that happen, but the secure login kept redirecting to Contentious.com, not the other blog.
On Jan 22 I contacted Bluehost to ask for help with this problem. I finally received a response this morning, Feb. 2, a full 11 days (!!!) after I submitted the request. Here’s what they said, in full:
No SSL on add-on or sub domains. The way our system is set up is to make the main domain the SSL domain, we can not and will not create an SSL for an add-on or sub domain. The only option you have if you need multiple SSL then you must create a new account with us.
Level 1 Support Engineer
Well, that simply sucks, in so many ways…
- Time warp. This bears repeating — It took Bluehost 11 days (!!!) to respond to a paying customer’s question. That is absolutely unconscionable under any circumstances.
- Dictatorial tone. Did you catch the dismissive, condescending way “TR” addressed me? No “We’re sorry, but…” The very first word is a flat “No.” Then: “we can not and will not…” as if I’ve been pestering them relentlessly with an unreasonable request — and as if I’m not paying them for their service! And then: “The only option you have…” Well, thank you, Mussolini!
- Greedy, greedy. They close that bitch-slap of a customer service message with a lame attempt to get me to purchase a second account!!! Well, Bluehost may not have manners, but they sure have nerve.
Customer service 101, Bluehost:
- Respond promptly. Paying customers should hear back from you within 24 hours — even if it’s just to say, “We’re working on this and will get back to you with an answer within X days.”
- Be polite. Don’t talk down to your customers if you want to keep them. Remember, people talk. (They blog, too.)
- At least ACT like you understand the problem and are trying to be helpful.
- Keep an open mind. What I presented Bluehost with was not a problem, but an opportunity. Since they don’t currently offer secure login for the WordPress blogs they host, and since WordPress is such a popular blogging tool, it might be worth setting up a solution for this problem and selling it at a reasonable price.
UPDATE FEB 2:
I just got another note from Bluehost:
Thanks for contacting us.
We apologize for the trouble youâ€™ve been having setting up the WordPress plug-in. At this time we donâ€™t offer main SSL ability on add-on domains. Unfortunately, this means that the WordPress plug-in wonâ€™t work on the add-on domain but only on the main domain.
If you have any further questions, please donâ€™t hesitate to contact us.
Thanks for your note, Pierre. I do have a few more questions:
1) Why did it take 11 days for me to get a response from Bluehost on this?
2) Why was the first response I got so rude?
3) Why did you bother sending a second response if you weren’t going to be any more helpful than the first?
4) It seems ridiculous that Bluehost would not offer access to its shared SSL for add-on domains. I’m not talking about SSL for an e-commerce site, simply secure login to WordPress. I find it impossible to believe there’s nothing you can do for me here.
5) Given all of the above, and before I call on Monday to speak to a customer service manager there to complain about the extremely poor service I’ve received from you and “TR”, what can you *really* do to try to help?
– Amy Gahran
UPDATE FEB 3: At last! A useful answer, and an apology, delivered politely…