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Dear Client,

Over the past month support at Smart hasn't been where it should be. As the new owner of Smart I would like to personally apologise for that and take responsibility. The whole team here is totally committed to providing an exceptional service at all times, and while we cannot turn back the clock, we can demonstrate what our priorities are and do the right thing going forward. Therefore:

We've added a £10 service credit to every active client who was in contact with the helpdesk since January 16th.
This service credit won't expire and can be used on any Smart or Krystal service or renewal.

What went wrong?

Support was slower than it should have been for a number of reasons. 2 staff departures in as many days mid-January resulted in a drop in staff output. Against this backdrop, each of the improvement programmes underway (DNS Cluster, SpamExperts email filtering, malware/phishing suspensions and the client area upgrades) generated their own additional support load. Collectively they amounted to more support than we could answer and produced a backlog. From the 16th of January support tickets continued to come in faster than we could answer them.

At its peak, 3,138 tickets arrived in a single day and we had a backlog of over 1,500 tickets. Staff have worked around the clock to restore support, sending over 25,282 responses this month already. Clients have been supported throughout, just much slower than normal, and for this I can only apologise.

Things are now back to normal.

Thank you for your patience.

During this period I gave instructions that Smart's Twitter and Facebook shouldn't be staffed, so that all staff resource could focus on replying to customer support tickets. This earned us a fair amount of flak from some quarters with people asking why we weren't replying to their tweets. Often these tweets were asking why we weren't replying to support tickets...

Twitter and Facebook are now active again but they are not a support channel. It's important that we can easily authenticate a support request and the additional information that is provided automatically when a ticket is submitted via the client area is critical to a fast resolution. This is especially true when things are busy.

What have we done to improve things?
  • Given everyone affected a £10 service credit
  • Hired 6 new staff taking us to a combined team of 25 staff (up from 8 @ Smart)
  • Improved communications protocols - we'll now announce any server or network issues if they go on longer than 5 minutes on the improved status page (Please bookmark)
  • Improved our internal support procedures to resolve tickets as quickly as possible
  • Put the Sales number back on the site, as promised
  • Re-staffed Twitter and Facebook (though not for support)
  • Created a new "Emergency" priority for support tickets for down server/service;
The Future

Smart is very much here to stay, as I hope this email goes some way to showing. The website, client area, your services and customer support are all being actively improved (and Smart isn't merging identity with Krystal and your plan won't be turned into a Krystal equivalent.) Also, as it's come up quite often, Dave and Adrian and the rest of the support team are still here!

While this situation has adversely affected many clients, for which I am truly sorry, we have actively improved and learned from our mistakes.

Firstly, the pressure on the helpdesk has forced us to rapidly improve procedures and processes which mean we've become a more efficient organisation, better able to serve you and your clients in the future.

Secondly, we've now removed all spammers, phishers, and illegal websites from our servers. As a result your service is now the most reliable, fastest and cleanest it's been in a long time. Malware warnings and failed email delivery should be a thing of the past. And we've got more plans to speed things up too - we've already invested a quarter of a million pounds into improving the platform in the first month alone and have another quarter of a million pounds of kit on order.

Finally, I strongly believe that you find the character of a company when the going gets tough, and all the staff here have exceeded expectations, going above and beyond the call of duty. They have worked overtime to recover the support load and in the process unequivocally demonstrated their calibre and quality. I am very proud of them and hope that you'll lend them your support too.

I would like to thank you for your patience, consideration and understanding during this trying time. We are now through the woods and the future looks bright. I hope you'll be around to share it with us.

Kind regards,
Simon Blackler - CEO Smart & Krystal Hosting

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