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Vendor roulette

Two days ago, a client reported a problem that I suspected was on the web host side. They couldn’t upload media files. This has happened before with Dreamhost, and it was resolved by calling them, and having them clear a cache somewhere.

I chatted with a support lady for 90 minutes with no resolution, and her promised followup call never happened. I tried again the next day, and that person found the problem immediately–it was a line in the server log. Wow, who would have thought to look there?

This has happened multiple times, sometimes requiring 3-4 separate chats or calls. You just have to be persistent. And patient. Sometimes I wonder how I could boost my odds of getting “the right guy” the first time–like this:

Hang up after the first five minutes, when you realize they don’t understand the problem or don’t know how to fix it–they do, in fact, want to help. One tip-off: if they say something like: “can you try it again in incognito mode,” they’re probably just guessing at a solution.

Call multiple times in one day, hoping to eventually find “that guy.” In spite of the fact that the last guy promised to “get back with you as soon as my team researches it.”

Make a game out of it. I once hit an absolute brick wall from a vendor, about getting the WordPress CLI (Command Line Interface) to work on their server. I was told time and time again, that this was a WordPress problem and one that they were not responsible for. In spite of the fact that I had CLI working on several other hosts that I was using. I didn’t absolutely have to have CLI working on their server, but it makes things so much easier on my end.

I would call them periodically, over a couple of months, just to see if I could find “the guy,” not really expecting to hit pay dirt. I must have called 6-8 times, and one day, it happened. The guy said “sure, let me get the tech team to make a coding change.” And 30 seconds later, success.

Don’t give up, no matter what they tell you. “The guy” is there, you just have to find him. And you can always rely on “can you look in the error log?”