Thursday, April 28, 2005

KGBInternet: Bad Experienced Turned Good by Good Customer Service

The other day I signed up for a shared Tomcat hosting plan at KGBInternet. I was thrilled to find such a good price for the features that you get. They said they were running Tomcat 5.0.x so the first thing I wanted to do was try it out. I created a very simple webapp that accepted a users name and then displayed "Welcome name" on another page using JSP 2.0's EL. Worked great on my test machine so I uploaded it to my site. They provide a script via telnet to reload your context, which is nice because most others make you request a reload from support. So I ran that script, loaded my index page, input my name, clicked submit...and...ServletException!

Thus begins my trials with KGBInternet. The first thing I did was search google and it turned up nothing. I then searched Javaranch and there were no threads with my ServletException. So I emailed Keith at KGBInternet. He was quick to respond and both he and I started looking into the issue. After about 20 emails I was getting so frustrated because there was no reason I should be getting the exception. The exception was being thrown because of something to do with the Expression Language parser. At this point I was very disappointed in KGBInternet. I emailed Keith and asked what I needed to do to cancel my account. He said an email was fine and he would take care of it. Something about the issue wouldn't let me let it go at that point. I continued discussions with Keith and he suggested something I never would have expected. He asked me to upload my tomcat folder and he would setup a private VM account for me at no additional charge while we figured out the problem. Talk about shocked, and impressed. I did as he suggested and I tried my webapp and it worked great. I emailed Keith thanking him for the help and told him to go ahead and set me up for the private tomcat account. It's $10 more a month but still a very good price comparativley. Come to find out it was a version issue with Tomcat 5.0.x not working with Java 1.5. I could have kept my shared account after this. I'll gladly pay KGBInternet $20 for a private tomcat instance.

I worked retail for 10 years. I managed a Blockbuster Video and I was a manager at Lowe's Home Improvement. I know customer service. And it is seriously lacking these days. Cashiers don't even make eye contact anymore. Sales reps point to what aisle to find whatever product on instead of taking you there. It's all about the lowest price but somehow that also equates to the lowest service. I upped my account at KGBInternet 100% based on the customer service I received from Keith. And as long as it stays that way, I don't see any reason to leave them anytime soon.

Thanks Keith. Great job!!