Saying It

I think I mentioned that I signed up for a $7 VPS account, more as a trial than anything. It was a relatively new company, but I figured I had, at most, $7 to lose.

They sent out a fairly terse e-mail that they were transferring companies to some organization in New Zealand. Understandably, I wasn’t too pleased, but I didn’t cancel immediately… I still had some time left on the month I’d signed up for. So today a new e-mail arrived, this one explaining what had happened. The tone suggests that they’ve come under harsh criticism and lost many customers. They go on to explain their rationale.

They seem to have entirely misjudged the situation. They could have done it two ways:

  • Sent out a terse, cryptic e-mail that they were being bought by another company and that my bills would be coming from a new company in New Zealand dollars, or
  • Sent out an upbeat e-mail explaining that, to improve quality of service, they were moving the virtual server division over to a different company, one with more experience maintaining servers, and expanding offerings, all the while keeping prices the same.

In reality, both reflect the same situation. But the first message almost seems guaranteed to scare away customers. Since I pay with PayPal, I don’t really care about currency; the exchange happens automatically. But inexplicably changing your billing currency adds a huge level of sketchiness. On the other hand, what they’re doing is basically upgrading their offerings and improving reliability and support, by selling their business to a better-established one that would better look after this. How could you not want that?

It’s all in how you say things. They had the opportunity to make me eagerly want their products. Instead, they handed me an upgrade that caused half their customers to cancel.

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