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Downtown Host – Hilariously Bad Customer Service Ethic (Teachable Moment)

This is an example of an hilariously bad customer service ethic. I’ve never seen anything quite as obvious as this, so it’s a great teaching example on how NOT to run a company.

The webmaster I work with at my company (manages about 65 websites for us) sent me this rude chat from Downtown Host. I had just asked her to ask them about an alternative option for nameservers – boring story, but it was to be a simple question. There was no reason for this to stop working suddenly – we hadn’t changed anything – so I wanted to use an alternate route for DNS.  Here is her email with the chat below.

Kind of bizarrely rude. First he chastises her then “hangs up” on her. Then I read their instructions on how to get “friendly” support and it explained a lot. It’s a great example of how NOT to treat customers, and really says that this company should get into a business that doesn’t involve actual customers because they seem to really “annoy” them.

I’m in a business that deals with customers who are in extreme distress much of the time, so I thought this is one of those great teachable moments.  If anyone on our call center team had the attitude described in this customer service screed, they’d be out of a job.

I read this through a few times, thinking it HAD to be ironic, but I honestly don’t think so. Here is their extremely rude “our customers are real douchbags” instructions:

What Not to Say to Your Customers

Their point 11 is particularly illuminating: It doesn’t matter how much money you pay us, we are going to treat you like a jerk whether you pay us six bucks a month or a hundred bucks a month.

This has to be the BEST example of a bad customer service ethic I have ever seen actually publicly promoted.  Usually this is the garbage people just do – they don’t brag about it.


P.S. Turns out they knew this was going to be an issue – they had tweeted about changing a server and the impact on people who use their own nameservers. So why such hostility when it actually comes up?  Makes it even more of a sign of a doomed company.