That one time when my website wouldn’t work

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life71 Comments


Last week, I lost my website.

If you’re reading this, it’s probably clear to you that I got it back.

And it probably went unnoticed by most of you, but It was a bit of a nail biter on my end.

Long story short: I was having some issues with my website, asked my web hosting service for some help, they did something, and then my site no longer worked. Then they gave me mostly friendly but completely non-effective service over the next several days, ending with telling me it was something I did to the code and they could not help me.

Oh, and they also told me to “lower my voice and keep it professional.”

After more than 10 customer service calls and over 10 hours of hold time with piped in music that will now cause me customer service PSTD, I think I had a right to raise my voice.

All during this, I was planning my revenge post. Thanks to my awesome web designer, Shawn at Bellovia, and my new web host, SiteGround, I knew everything would be taken care of in a professional, responsible way. I wanted to warn all of you who are thinking of getting into the self-hosted WordPress blog game to avoid my former host like the plague.

But once it was all fixed, I made my final call to my former hosting service to get a refund for the three years I’d paid for in advance, and to my surprise, I got the very first tech I spoke to when this all started, and he remembered me, and he felt awful about how it all went down.

He issued me not only a full refund, but apparently I had overpaid for something, and he refunded that, too. He was kind. He was apologetic on behalf of the company he worked for.

It made me realize that we’re all just doing the best we can. In our jobs. In our homes. In our lives. Sometimes we don’t have the answer to the problem. Sometimes we feel frustrated and angry about that.

Sometimes we yell at a customer service rep on the phone because we feel completely helpless and small and by yelling, it makes us feel like we have some kind of control over a situation where clearly we do not.

We are just so human, you know?

I had planned a witty, sarcastic post to slag this company, to hold them accountable for hurting me and my business. But that’s not the woman I aspire to be. I’d rather try to offer some understanding.

They didn’t really hurt my business in the end. They just offered me a lesson in facing a problem and finding the best solution.

And that’s what I did, with a little help from some very competent sources.

I still wouldn’t recommend them, and I’m still a little pissed at that last technician who told me to “keep it professional”, but I’m taking the lessons learned and adding that into my Adulting Tool Kit.

It’s a kit I want to continue to build. So that’s what I’m going to continue to do.

p.s. I’m happy to share the company name via email, if you need to know for your own business. I just decided to keep it “professional” today.






Cathy ZielskeThat one time when my website wouldn’t work

71 Comments on “That one time when my website wouldn’t work”

  1. #1

    I had the same kind of issue with our bank over trying to get our team paid by direct deposit, down to planning to sarcastically attack them on social media. But the last tech I talked to, the one who explained the actual problem, was the same one with whom I’d spoken to first and he apologized and said that’s how their help system works. It’s fine for X but hell for Y. I happened to be Y.

    So I put my bad girl away, granted them grace, and tucked that piece of info into my pocket for another day. I’ll share my experiences but no public blast. It felt good. And right.

    You go, Adulting Girl!

  2. #2
    Sue P

    Way to go Cathy! It is so hard and there have been times when I have lost it too. Yet, I know better and have humbly called back to apologize. So hard in this go, go society to really sit back and reflect. You did great and are handling it very professionally!

  3. #5
    Kimberly O.

    When I was with a non-contract cell service, they had screwed up something and were telling me I’d need a new phone number, etc. No… that means it would cost me money to change my number on everything tangible, including all of my pets’ ID tags. However, for as frustrated as I was with them, I had to keep reminding myself that this is someone who is probably earning minimum wage and not directly responsible for my problem. (It was hard to do that though, very hard.) What was nice is that in the end, they gave me a few future months’ credit for my “troubles”. Thankfully this was when my cell phone was just for making calls, most likely a flip phone. So “pre-addiction”.

    My firm but nice persona works quite well. Basically the “I’m not leaving the store until this is fixed to my satisfaction.” person. No screaming, no yelling. My voice is under control.

    I’ve also found posting something on Facebook with the company tagged seems to provide good results too (and I do post a thank you follow-up once something is fixed).

    But yeah, a WEEK? That is way too long. Considering it is your livelihood, you do have a right to be very angry with them. And… I was going to move my mom’s Class of 64 website hosting to that company, I think I’ll keep looking. (I really want “free” because it’s just classmate information like obituaries, etc.)

    And…. I’m done rambling.

    1. #5.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I did post to Twitter during this time, Tweeted at them, and that did get their attention, but… it didn’t fix the problem.

  4. #6

    Wow. And they had the audacity to tell you to “lower your voice and keep it professional.” Well, they should know how to handle one irrate and frustrated customer. I think you made the right decisio to get another web host, so that the old web host will know that they lose one valuable customer. And might lose some more if they continue with the way they handle customer issue.

    1. #6.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I think if a customer flipped out on me, I would be rattled for sure, but I would not yell back. Well, I don’t actually talk to my customers in person. It would be through email. But I would most definitely try to diffuse the situation and find out why they are so upset. I think that’s what customer service is about? Maybe? 🙂

  5. #7

    Glad you are back online….sorry for all the frustrations this past week….some days adulting stinks but like you did, grace is the best we can do. I hope this week is much better for you.

  6. #8

    Nice post and kudos to you for being so gracious. As a fellow business owner, I can fully feel your pain. Sadly, it seems more and more of these ‘savvy’ tech companies start off great…until they’re not. As soon as there is any kind of question, it’s almost impossible to contact a real person, much less a helpful person and when you do, they are pretty uncaring and/or helpless to assist you. The attitude seems to be: “Hey dude, we’re only here for the customers who pay and don’t ask questions. There are plenty of other suckers to take your place. See ya.” Even when the problem is obviously on their end.
    Glad you’re up and running again! I’ll email you to find out who to avoid because I don’t have time for that.

    1. #8.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Again, woke up this morning to find they did the one thing my other host couldn’t do (causing it to not work) and I feel even better about this new company. SiteGround is awesome!

  7. #9

    Hi Cathy,
    I’ve followed the saga via your FB and Instgram accounts. I completely empathised with and shared your fury and frustration. I totally understood your need for a “revenge” post. But…

    I’d like to thank you for your decision to write what you just did and for demonstrating grace. In a world (both on and off the web & social media) where it’s getting easier and easier to judge and to act in anger, it’s great to see someone remembering that we’re all (fallible, valuable) humans in the end. Thanks for being so mature.

    1. #9.3
      Cathy Zielske

      Well, Allison, I attribute it to a lot of therapy and understanding anger in general. 🙂 I have actually learned a lot over the years on how to handle pain of any kind. And for that, I am really grateful. 🙂

  8. #10
    Susan Skogseth (soccermom11)

    You are my hero!! Thanks for taking the higher road and showing us it looks alot better in the long run!!

  9. #11
    Deborah P

    My new mantra is “Today I will be kind. ALL day.” Because that’s not been me lately.

    It’s only 8:19 a.m., so it hasn’t really been tested yet, but your post gave me encouragement. Thanks!

  10. #12
    Danette Nixon

    Plain and simple. Just another reason why I respect and enjoy you. Thank you. Positive thoughts for this Monday morning😊

  11. #13

    If it was an EIG-owned company (they snapped up dozens of small hosting companies and then the service went straight to H^#ll in a handbasket), I feel your pain. I’ve been with Siteground ever since and they ROCK.

  12. #14

    And I thought it was just me. Now I’m convinced there’s something going on—sunspots or voodoo or something! I lost 3 major electronic devices & partially another, all last week! I got the last 4 resolved, but not without some angst (when a person’s hearing aid dies, that’s major angst—for many reasons, including the one that carries a several-thousand-dollar price tag! Same with a FitBit). The jury’s still out on my MacBook Pro laptop, which is not even 3 months old. I returned it about 2 weeks ago to the Apple retailer, was told it had to be sent back to Apple, & left it. I retrieved it several days later, only to have the same things happen all over last week. I tried to be graceful about it—until the store manager got involved & on her high horse, defending her techs & hinting I lied & saying I misheard & misunderstood what was said. Turned out it had not been sent to Apple & only one issue out of several had been addressed. I tend to get a little stressed when this happens. Don’t blame ME for your incompetence. I insisted she run MORE than ONE test, & I stayed in the store. Lo & behold, she came to me all apologetic, saying the issues seemed to be intermittent (DUH—didn’t I tell you that too?!). So it is now in Apple’s hospital (or so she said). I accepted her apologies, but the verdict still isn’t in. Meanwhile, I’m trying very hard to stay to the high road because that’s where I really want to be. But it’s tough. We’ll see what THIS week brings.

    1. #14.1
      Cathy Zielske

      I feel like maybe all the crows that were in my neighborhood a few weeks back… they were warning me! 😉

  13. #16

    Ironically, I clicked the link to this post from Feedly and it resolved on a page from [insert old host name here]. Since I also follow you on Instagram and had seen the saga unfold, I knew the site had been moved, so clicked refresh and the post loaded just fine.

  14. #18

    Good decision Cathy. Customer service is hard work and not every one is cut out for it. At the same time, each of us is going through something and you never know what a person may be facing. I try to remember that most people are trying to do their best.

  15. #19
    Katina Martinez

    Way to keep it “professional” today!!!! I follow you over on Instagram – I’m sure you know since I send you all the annoying DM … I felt awful you were going through that. As someone who has websites, and has a very small business in this large pool … I would FREAK out!
    Your post today made me smile… your a beautiful person inside and out!!! Thanks for keeping it real!!! (And even a little unprofessional when you need to!)

      1. #19.1.1
        Cathy Zielske

        Haha! Not annoying! Neither of you. I appreciate that people give interest to what I share!

  16. #20
    Chris H.

    I have gotten agitated and less than professional at times with CSRs, usually at the cable company….because they don’t value or care to take care of loyal customers who don’t play the TV service switcheroo game…to the point I feel bad later for truly ruining a person’s day….a person who is just trying to do their job.

    I’ve started noticing in the real world how truly tied service employees’ hands are. They double ring an item, some special person has to bring a key to void out the extra item. Why can’t the cashier have that option??? Everyone is afraid of losing their jobs or getting written up for the silliest things.
    Last week I was at JCPenney’s buying gifts for babies. I asked if they had gift boxes. The lady said no they don’t. I asked if perhaps guest services had some. She said no, we just don’t do that any more. I made an annoyed face, said ‘that’s unfortunate’ and all of a sudden she was begging for forgiveness. I said, ‘my dear, you have nothing to apologize for. You don’t make that decision. You’re just the messenger. It’s just a nice service that’s gone by the wayside these days.’ She brightened back up quickly, but I had to temper my serious annoyance that gift boxes are a thing of the past.

    Way to keep it professional on the blog post…in the end, things worked out. A valuable lesson for all of us…myself included. Cool the jets… 😉

    1. #20.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Cool the jets indeed.

      You know, I worked retail for a number of years. I remember what it’s like to get yelled at. To have customers not happy. It’s good for me to remember that. 🙂

  17. #21

    Proud to be your follower, Cathy. Great adulting! It may take me awhile, though to erase the image of you on your office floor in a fetal position suffering from customer PTSD. Instead, I’ll concentrate on your entertaining instructional videos and creative crafting!

  18. #22

    I loved this post. We all need a reminder about how much easier it is to lose our corn when it’s not face-to-face interaction. Electronic communication can be so crazy. Thanks for the reminder!

  19. #23
    Lisa Wright

    Well you are a better person then I – I recently purchased a few dies from a company I saw used during my Rainbow Class. The dies came but they would not cut thru (not even copy paper!) – I sent an email with lots of pictures and 10 emails back and forth and they still will not refund me my $$ or send me new dies that cut – They want me to send them back at my expense and time to go to post office!!!!!! That is C*** customer service and my final email was not adult at all!!!
    Glad you are back up –

    1. #23.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Now that is surprising and that sucks. When people don’t back their products, I do think people / consumers have a right to know.

  20. #24
    Carol Clayton

    Pretty sure I would have had to bite a hole through my tongue to “keep it professional” under those circumstances! So glad that everything has been resolved, albeit with a new company, and that you are back up and running. What on earth would we do without our CZ blog fix?!! Luckily for me, I could fill the time with DYL 2.0. Love ya, Cath! Carol in SLC

  21. #25
    Chris Cox

    Cathy, I am positive if we lived closer we would be besties!! I can totally relate to this. I am 51 years young, and I have had my share of customer service nightmare phone calls. If you have ever had to deal with the cable company, computer anything, or back in the day, the phone company and you did not have to serve any jail time…then you are a super hero! I recently had to call my cable provider…UGH…to dispute a bill. After a relatively short time on hold, a nice lady answered, to whom I gave my story. She read her “cards” beautifully. As I sat and listened and felt my blood pressure rising, I stated my case. She tried to talk me off the ledge as best she could, but I wasn’t having any of that. After another rant, I had to take a deep breath and tell myself, “Listen, this poor woman is not the problem. She is merely doing what she is told.” So, I took another breath and let her know that I was not upset with her. I was upset with this messed up system that is the cable business. After about 30 minutes on the phone with this very nice lady…I felt like we had bonded. This clearly wasn’t her dream job, but she had a family to take care of, so she was doing what she needed to do. I too learned a lesson that day, and I try not to blow up at the person on the other end. What happened to the days when you would do anything to keep a customer? That’s what I would love to know. Glad your site is back up, I noticed and I missed it! Hope this new partnership is da bomb! 🙂

  22. #27

    Hi Cathy – Very impressed by your grace & adulting skills. You are an inspiration artistically & in daily life.

  23. #29

    Thanks for the post that I so needed to read today. Some days I am just over adulting. Totally over it and just want to take my coffee, take off my bra and go hibernate or something. I am trying to be an honest and patient person but dealing with AT&T just isn’t in my adult category lately. I have had one go around and waiting for the next billing cycle to enter into the ring again. Sigh…..Perhaps I will come back and read this post before I make that next phone call.

  24. #30
    Sandra B.

    Jennifer McGuire is rubbing off on you in so many ways. (And hopefully me.) Kindness: all the cool kids are doing it!

  25. #31

    Well posted Cathy! There is just too much knee-jerk, social shaming going on these days. You do good work! Always!

  26. #32
    Barb in AK

    Well, Cathy, at least you were able to “talk” to them. I had problems with my online mail-order pharmacy a month ago. I was down to 7 pills and had called them 3 times about the situation. THEY were the ones who were to keep track about my refills and take care of it, but something slipped through the cracks. I ended up crying and sobbing and blubbering, “You want ME to call the doctor? That’s not my job!!” It finally got all straightened out, but I sure lost it. I know I wasn’t very professional, but tears can sure go a long way! 😉

  27. #33

    Yoh, what a crash course in ‘adulting ways and woes’! You would absolutely DIE here in South Africa. Service delivery, um, no, what is that?? I trust your BP has returned to normal and hopefully this experience will be forgotten about in the not too distant future.

    1. #33.1
      Cathy Zielske

      We are very entitled stateside, to everything working. I think that is a culture I have grown up in. I can only imagine how that entitlement plays in other countries. 🙂

  28. #34

    I can’t believe they said to keep it professional! I mean if you were cussing them out that would have been one thing but just being upset that something wasn’t working like it was supposed to is understandable. He should have said that he understood your frustration, not give a clearly adult person tips on life.

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