Budget web hosting provider Fasthosts will soon make almost all of its UK customer service team redundant, to be replaced by call centres in Romania and the Phillipines, staff were told on Wednesday. Up to 38 posts are set to go at Fasthosts' Gloucester HQ as a result. In a statement to The Register today, the firm said the " …
I haven't hosted with them for a long long time after they shut my site down because it was using too much traffic.
They said that because I was hosting zip files which were available for download, I was breaking my T&C's as zip files do not come under web traffic.
I argued for weeks that they were being downloaded via http so were web traffic (it certainly wasn't FTP) but they were not having any of it. The real reason of course was I was too data heavy and they didn't like it.
I have though just transferred my domains away from UKReg so as far as I am bothered they can move the Support, servers and everything offshore. Goodbye
Don't know why they even bother with their weasel words. What they mean is they want to save money. Simple as.
Apparently it's all the rage again... :D
so glad I ditched them now. Especially after they had all the debit and credit card details exposed, of course your going to cut costs, less customers = much less income!
Improved customer service!?
It's hard enough to get them to do anything when they are in the same building! Lord knows what it's going to be like when the support are almost 1000 miles away from the servers!
thats ok then?
'will further improve customer experience and enable it to better serve its hundreds of thousands of customers'
Paris, because even she could see through that line
If you're using Fasthosts
You probably don't care that they're doing this.
How much worse could it get?
Time to move
Well following on from this years move anything with outsourced call centres to UK centres. I will be finally moving my domains from Farthosts.
- job losses "will further improve customer experience" and enable it "to better serve its hundreds of thousands of customers" -
ha ha ha - what a joke - why do companies like this trot this rubbish out all the time - its all about money, nothing else, how does/can moving support to a foreign country ever improve things. Bit late on this band wagon, most companies are moving such jobs back to the UK after realising things get worse and customer vote with their feet.
If I was still a customer (which I am not after all their cock ups) then having the phone answered by someone in a foreign country would result in me taking my business elsewhere particularly in these economic times.
I moved from fasthosts to a UK based, UK supported company company with a commitment to quality and customer care long ago (intrahost.co.uk).
My thoughts exactly, after just one glance at the article title. Shite service may be varying shades of brown, but you still don't want any of it on you...
Last year they have already done this to the streamline.net business that they have bought. They got rid of the staff from the UK and moved them away. They spent £20 million to buy them from the previous owner as well!
Do people actually still use this bunch of cowboys. I cancelled several packages with them over a year ago, they keep sending mails telling me they can't debit my account.
I can hear the calls now....
Hello, welcome to FaaasHooose
We support you loooonng time.....
Fixy fixy $10
Hello, welcome to FaaasHooose.
You want hosing?
Please pray they leave SliceHost alone!
There's nothing else quite like it. And it seems to be run by people who give a damn.
Now they wont be answering a phone ringing in the Phillipines instead of not answering one ringing in the UK?
Paris - cos she's flexible enough to be a Manilla folder
The Romanians as a nation are very internet hacky - ideal (for them) giving them root access passwords to numerous websites. Drive-by downloads of trojans ahead.......
Paris - cos it's just dumb
Their service is appauling anyway, we tried them and they epically failed, their support service is a complete joke.
Owners 1&1 are pretty crap...
If the service is now going to be on the same level as owners 1&1 I feel very sorry for fasthost customers. Don't these idiots realise that UK call centres is a plus point that gets you customers, when you relocate offshore it saves money in the short term then winds customers up to the point of leaving. 1&1 customer service is awful, you get a call centre anywhere in the world, with poor english, and they just don't care. I'm moving away from 1&1 because of this. And the cheek of them saying it is going to improve the experience.
As for moving servers out of the UK, my 1&1 sites are in Germany and the cumulative lag when using a busy forum for example is noticeable compared to a UK hosted site.
It's UK all the way for me now - UK hosted site, UK hosted customer services.
Ahh that explains..
Why they are offering six months free , no risk trials for reseller packages..oh well, we all know what's coming when the beancounters attempt to run an IT department.
Could this be the first warning toll of the death bell for all web hosting server farms in the UK?
FastHosts Complete Waste of Space
In my opinion, after having paid for hosting for one year with FastHosts, their customer service and the actual service, has proven itself over months to be a complete waste of space. That's why we are not renewing our hosting agreement withtem and have made other provisions. The one thing I can say for the shoddy performance we received from FastHosts was that, in my opinion, it appears to be "industry standard". As a small time business we find we get treated with utter contempt by most providers, such as the "promise to reply within 24 hours" which is interpreted as an automated mail with a ticket number. The whole industry needs to get its act together and as for fastHosts interface, in my opinion, woeful. Bye Bye FastHosts, the further away the better, in my opinion (they are very litigious after all)
and and of course......
Up to 38 posts are set to go at Fasthosts' Gloucester HQ as a result. In a statement to The Register today, the firm said the "regrettable" job losses "will further improve customer experience" and enable it "to better serve its hundreds of thousands of customers".
Note the ratio of service they consider ok. Let's assume they only actually have 100,000 clients rather than the "hundreds of thousands of customers" they claim, then that makes a customer service rep for every 2,631 clients. If they are telling the truth about multiples of hundred thousands then it is a wonder anyone got a reply let alone action.
This is my second comment as our web master just sent me the link to the article with the comment "wade in" and i am wading. By good it feels good to get this off my chest!
Redundancies "will further improve customer experience" and enable it "to better serve its hundreds of thousands of customers", well I'm that will come as great solace to the people about to loose their jobs!
Its nothing to do with improvements to service, its about running the company on the cheap. It beggars belief that an overseas call center was ever considered a good Idea. UK based support was one of the few things FH still had going for them.
Still using them
Would be interested to know who you guys are using instead.
We're still using them, mainly because we've not had time to look into anyone else!3
Customer Experience.. nope just strapped for cash
I have been back and forth with their inept billing team regarding the recent UK VAT changes and overseas selling regulations etc.. did notice on companies house (uk) that they have there accounts are overdue... another lycos perhaps?
Next Accounts Due: 31/10/2008 OVERDUE
It shocks me that they had 38 support staff to begin with!
Fasthosts will soon go the way of Woolworths, Zavvi, Stylo, JJB etc etc etc.
Back up your data now!
I really do wonder when I see this type of PR speak. Do they really think they fool anyone? Do they sit back after uttering this drivel with a self satisfied smirk and a good feeling that it was a job well done?
I can imagine the PR dick going home to his wife and saying 'I had a stupefying experience at the office today dear, I gave them the biggest crock of schijt they have ever heard and those fools believed every word'. Crap! we do.
The one good thing about an economic downturn is that people are much less tolerant of crappy service. The companies that realize this and still outsource will need the lower cost because they will have fewer customers.
I cancelled most of our accounts with Fasthosts over the last year and a half, but this bollocks has just given me a nudge to cancel the final one.
Paris, because, like Fasthost's customers, she's taken a few good shaftings in her time.
You have to see the funny side
At least they will have to update their web site as it bigs up the virtues of UK support, and quotes stats compiled in 2003!
They also claim to be the UKs No.1 host and
"UK's largest Windows 2003 web host and acknowledged as the choice of Linux professionals"
just which Linux professions would acknowledge them as the choice?
I'm sure most of their site breeches trading standards
They'll have to remove that 'work for fasthosts' page too.
Personally I avoid any company which displays those pointless tophosts and similar logos.
Just hope that all the about to be sacked staff don't jump ship at once. Could be another total lock out. Perhaps they should walk out and teach them a lesson.
Still it solves one problem rather than having their site hacked to lose all their customers details they are now just giving them away to some call centres in one or more countries.
@Still using them
If your requirements aren't too huge then give PlugSocket a go (www.plugsocket.com) - I've been using them for years for both myself and my customers - probably the biggest site that I've done is www.panoramicearth.com and that seems to run fine (it used to be on FarceHosts until they screwed things up). PlugSocket have technical people who know what they're talking about, they respond quickly to the few problems I've encountered and are always helpful.
As an employee of Fasthosts... I can say that their support is bad. However, changes are underway internally to try and bring the Quality of Service back up to where it should be.
It does take time though ! - not excusing previous shockingly bad performance and support though.
I think it's a case of get what you pay for. We're one of the cheapest, so you almost have to expect support of the same nature to follow.
Most hosting companies get bad press about their offerings too !
As for a previous comment regarding Streamline.net being overseas also, this is untrue.
Streamline.net is completely UK based, and there are no plans to change this.
You never know, this may be what's needed to get things back on track... I know none of us like talking to foreign call-centerss, but perhaps it will improve things... when was the last time you could understand the thick Gloucestershire accent anyway ! :-)
I think it just boils down to cheap product line up = cheap support = lack of training.
Trouble we have is that anyone who gets to be any good at their support job, buggers off to something better when they can. This leaves the crap support people behind.
I'm sure if you speak to other support departments, they will say the same.
As for the comments about the business going under.... I can safely say that Fasthosts not only is a very cash-rich company... but also has its future underpinned by United Internet - aka 1&1.
liq uid ation
accounts overdue, means no redundancy for the romanians or the phillipinos, wonder if they will hack their redundancy, well romanians anyway... We use philipines for some items and they are process driven non thinkers, just what you need if you promise jam tomorrow.
@ employee comments
are you real ? you are an employee yet show no empathy for your colleagues who are losing their jobs ? you are stating on one hand that the support and training sucks, and that the only good employees leave, what are you trying to say about those poor people whom havent left, that the only reason is that they suck and not that they are loyal? that moving everything in line with another company 1 & 1 is good...how is that when one of the best things going for fasthosts was the uk based support
utter shite, sounds like you are a marketing guru or are in an unaffected job (for now)
"ha ha ha - what a joke - why do companies like this trot this rubbish out all the time - its all about money, nothing else, how does/can moving support to a foreign country ever improve things."
Well what do you expect them to say? The truth?
Western (esp. English) people always say one thing while you mean another, that's my experience so far.
I can see the benefits, so don't start flaming, but don't say things like this, that's how you guys usually roll.
"Redundancies will further improve shareholder experience" *fixed that for them*
The employee of fasthosts.... If you are an employee of fasthosts then I would not employ you,
You are a disgrace for saying that against your so called collegues
Please remember that 38 people are losing their jobs, and as we have seen time and time again in this country over the last few months, that these people all have families, mortgages and responsibilities, so no matter how many bad experiences you have had, or how sh!t you think the support is, there are still 38 people being replaced by people who will be payed peanuts
And we all know what happens when you pay peanuts
In response to : " Employee Comments "
By Anonymous Coward Posted Thursday 19th February 2009 22:20 GMT
If you work for fasthosts as you claim, why don't you state your name?
With larger companies actually moving the call centres BACK from "offshore" locations due to the negative feedback received, saying that the support workers are at fault is outlandish and unfounded.
So if you work at Fasthosts why not tell us your name?
It sounds like you are someone with a pre-existing bias against that organisation... ?
Thick gloucestershire accent versus the thick phillippino accent?
Your arguments hold no weight and are truly Ridiculous!
Romania? The Philippines? Surely you jest!
Romania? That hotbed of cyber-crime and malware masters?
The Philippines? One of the more corrupt places, I have been led to believe.
With deepest apologies to the many honest Romanians and Filipinos who have to put up with the nonsense on a day to day basis -- unfortunately your bad apples have badly tainted your countries' reputations.
Fasthosts are doing this because it is cheaper to employ 100 outsourced staff to deal with the thousands of customers who forget their own passwords than have technical support people sitting on a phone for 10 minutes telling a customer how to use the tools they have infront of them.
With anything related to IT you will always have people who think they know more about something than the person they are trying to get help from. As soon as they are given evidence that they are incorrect with their assumptions (not really difficult if everything is sitting on a screen infront of you) it's the usual 'I think I know better and you are wrong' attitude. You wouldn't argue with a doctor if he tells you you have cancer would you?
Fasthosts have had to employ more staff to deal with the influx of noobs which has made it hard for the real issues to be resolved. So, they are going to send them to a foreign call centre to get less support, make people redundant, and only speak to customers that hopefully understand what they are doing and resolve thier issues. It will improve support for those customers but people like the first post which thinks downloading does not use bandwidth will simply not get the technical support they used to.
Another boost to genuine UK hosts
Well, looks like this will be yet another boost for us UK host's who work hard to provide exceptional high standards and dont tolerate ANY nonsense! (wesh.co.uk)
Our staff are all based across South London, so no language problems there.
We actually ban EVERY order from asia and romania as fruad and their data protection policies are non-existent!
FastHosts? Bah, I'd rather use Virgin Rail!!!!!
FastHosts as far as I am concerned, can go straight to hell ......... especially after doing things like this;
@AC (Thursday 19th February 2009 15:37 GMT)
FastHosts are good at screwing people over ;o)
Where's the "Bomb FastHosts" icon when ya need it?
Someone mentioned Farcehosts being cheap, and thus that is why they are generally rubbish. They're cheap in everything but the price. There are many quality UK based hosts out there offering much better value for money that Farcehosts - I'm not talking about eleventy-billion gigabytes of transfer for £1, I'm talking about being able to call a freephone support number and talk to someone technical who can resolve your problem there and then without waiting. I'm talking about email reponses to support tickets taking 5 minutes, not 5 days.
The companies are out there, you just have to look for them! Unfortunately with Farcehost's massive marketing budget, they're rather ubiquitous in all of the major industry magazines... so most people don't know any better.
@ Mr ChriZ 18:49
Good riddance to fasthosts, more like shitehosts. I transferred several domains away from them some time ago to Zen and have never looked back.
Zen Internet is my ISP of choice, they are the best. Quality of service is top notch and support is excellent.
"But they don't do reseller accounts" I hear you cry. Well I have heard word from the inside that they are launching a new reseller account system, next month. Perfect timing!
"It will improve support for those customers but people like the first post which thinks downloading does not use bandwidth will simply not get the technical support they used to."
No, I think you will find that his argument is that zip files downloaded over http from a http server constitute web traffic, regardless of the content of the packets. And, he is quite technically correct...
Now if they had of said "your breaching your preset data limits in your TOS, therefore we're severing you under this breach" we could all have sat back and thought "fair enough"...
For the rest of your argument, go google 1st line and 2nd line support. The technically skilled engineers sit on 2 or 3rd line, because 1st line is there to filter off the PEKBAK calls.
Paris because she has more clue about helldesk staffing that you seem to have.
Don't you think this happens overseas??
In response to Employee Comments:-
"Trouble we have is that anyone who gets to be any good at their support job, buggers off to something better when they can. This leaves the crap support people behind.
I'm sure if you speak to other support departments, they will say the same."
Do you think this only happens in the UK? At a previous company I went over to our site in India to train up the staff, it was very productive the guys were very friendly and knew their stuff. Shortly afterwards I decided to leave that company, but kept in touch with a few collegues. You can guess how much I laughed when the team I had trained up in India went into their boss and demanded and extra $10,000 per year because they had been trained by an expert from the UK and had been offered better jobs. "Good on you guys " I thought. Our company refused to pay and they all left on mass.
The Moral is anybody who is good enough, won't sit around working for a pennies, where ever they are .
Fasthosts? Customer service?
Having worked for Fasthosts
I can sympathise with some of the things that Anonymous Coward said above. While it is saddening to hear of the job losses, some of the points made rang true.
The vast majority of my time on the phone was taken up with helping people who need to be taught from scratch. Things like FTP, passwords, what a mailbox is etc.
As the majority of customers who use the support need this level of assistance that is what the majority of the support staff are trained to. Don't get me wrong there are some very knowledgeable people working for Fasthosts Tech support (or there were when I worked there during the great password debacle) but they get lumbered with what are considered the 'harder' support queries which tend to come from customers who have an idea of what they are talking about.
Because the work load is split in this way with a smaller percentage of staff dealing with the more techical issues you can see how customers with important queries that should only take a short amount of time to investigate and solve can be left hanging.
I think that this announcement shows that Fasthosts are takng a look at what they offer and how they can change it. There will always be a financial consideration ( I know of no business where they wouldn't be) and I'm not sure that sending support off-shore is the best plan but I have been proved wrong before. I do think however that having dedicated staff in this country for dealing with the more technical issues (of which the vast majority come from dedicated server customers and re-sellers) can only be a good thing and will IMHO improve the level of service to those customers.
Poor support going to get worse..
Sounds like a bad move for them, the customers will find out soon enough and start to move.
We moved our reseller account from fasthosts to protecweb.co.uk after the password fiasco and receiving poor tech support from fh over and over again. Been very happy since with protec and would highly recommend them for anyone looking for a decent windows reseller account.
Move away from Fasthosts & Streamline.net
Well providing Fasthosts were UK born & UK built, and driven by UK customers.. i think this is the 2 finger solute to every customer & every employee... Fasthosts obviously dont give 2 sh!ts about their employees... who ever is left behind after the 1st lot of people to lose their jobs.. it will only be a matter of time until the rest lose theirs.. simply because they will move the servers abroad (to germany) with the 1&1 data centre... and Streamline.net were bought out by Fasthosts and therefore they are also being moved! Anyone using services with Fasthosts & Streamline should cancel their services and support the UK workers - UK is suffering from recession & Fasthosts doing this is only making it worse... move to another host.
Something has to give somewhere....
I work for an ISP, not FastHosts but a small one .. lets just say north of watford.
The thing most people tend to forget, is that theres a hell of a lot of costs associated with WebHosting you never see, especially if you do things properly.
1) If your outside of London/Leeds/Manchester/Glasgow ... Bandwidth is stupidly expensive. Multiply this by however many peers you need + add the Cisco costs for routers and proper BGP peering. You don't oversubscribe bandwidth.
2) Datacentre's cost lots of pennies. No matter how green you make them, especially if you connect them with speedy connectivity to one another. (ie: 10Gig, Dark Fibre....)
3) If you're doing things properly then you host on decent branded hardware, such as Dell of HP, you then don't oversubscribe boxes and either have SAS/SCSI local disks or iscsi/fc SAN's attached to the back. For things like database servers you cluster by default.
4) You monitor and break/fix them 24x7 and have on-site spares ready to go.
5) Your techie support staff are trained in Cisco, Manufacturer, OS and Storage technologies and understand software development, so that you never reply with the imortal line ..: "server is fine its your code" without explaining why to the customer.
Add those together and you`ll get nowhere near FastHosts.
The simple fact is, if you want cheap hosting, corners will be cut whether these are obvious (such as offshoring) or not. You pays your money and you takes your chances.