I just wrote an annoying email. I logged on to an account to update some credit card info for a hosting company where I resell hosting services. The bill doesn’t come due until March, but it is safer to make the change now while I’m thinking about it. A business partner originally set up the account and has been footing the bill each year. Circumstances have changed and I ended up with more hosting accounts on those servers than he has, so I decided that I would foot the bill from now on. He has set himself up as the primary contact and I was always fine with that. The host sent a message to a shared email account, which forwards messages to each of us, requesting I visit their New Client Area. I took a look and it is a nicer looking interface. It is easier to navigate and it has nice big letters saying “Welcome Kevin!” right in the middle of the page. I am not Kevin and frankly, I’m annoyed that this company would assume that only one person would run a company. Perhaps it is the drugs (I take a lot of medication), but I am especially annoyed by this today. I tried to keep my disappointment in this minor detail out of the email I sent about a billing problem, but I doubt I was successful. Now I am wondering what I do to my clients which really pisses them off. It may be something minor as well. Perhaps a client is just having a bad day or has increase their medication also. So, I am going to check all my client contact points for little annoying things like calling people by the wrong name and such. Wish me Luck.
Well, the an of an era for me. I lost a customer I have had for over four years over this past weekend. I hosted her web sites (6 or 7 of them), designed one web site and did a lot of web programming for her. She is a real estate investor and very successful. About three years ago I discovered that she had developed a curious negotiating tactic which I am convinced she was completely unaware of. I think she used it in complicated real estate deals and have received some confirmation of that over the years. She would dispute her bills to delay payment or to get a price reduction. She would often pay her programming and webmaster bills more than 30 days after I sent the invoice (using Freshbooks). She took almost a year to pay one of them from August, 2007. She often disputed the charges on some bills. I set a bad precedence because I sometimes caved in and gave her a credit on her invoices. (more…)

I just got off the phone with the former owner of He has one of those cautionary tales that was really tough. It just dawned on me that I completely forgot to ask his name.

According to his story, EAA Hosting started out small and gained a lot of customers fast. Soon, they were able to get better pricing from the larger server wholesalers, but they kept their CRM on one of the smaller server companies.

Some time last year, took down the server which housed their CRM and all their customer contact information. While most of their customers were located on other servers form other more stable providers, they went out of business because they lost all their customer information.

Apparently they could not get fatnetworks to get the server back up and couldn’t get them to recover their lost data.

So, we can learn something form their mistake. Do not use a Customer Relations Manager program which does not come with some type of off-line or remote backup. Do not rely on CP or H-Sphere to manage all your customers unless you can back up the database they use.

Personally, I would never have thought to take this step.