Cox Communications’ 60+ Hour Email Outage Highlights Much Needed Improvements to Customer Serv
My name is Teresa and I am a Cox Communications customer.
Sadly, myself and a few million others, experienced a 60+ hour email outage that started on Friday 12/14 around 5pm and gradually came back on line in the early morning hours of Monday 12/17. This was the 2nd time in the same week and the 3rd time over the past 2 weeks – so clearly there were some signs that the system was stressed.
The outage affected 13 states, and although they claimed it was only residential service that was unavailable, there were numerous complaints that it had affected some business services as well.
The first acknowledgement from Cox that there was even a problem came around 10pm on Friday – more than 5 hours after outages were being reported.
However, it was not until 4pm on Sunday that Cox finally posted anything related to the outage to its Facebook page or its twitter site.
Instead, Cox took to injecting html code into web browsers to notify customers of the outage – which outrage Cox customers that do no even use their mail services, but also anyone with concerns about privacy and other invasive tactics over the Internet.
There were literally thousands of post to the the Cox Communications Facebook page with customers venting their frustration at the lack of information from Cox, although they did start posting info to their home page – which apparently few customers actually visit (opportunity?).
Secondly, customer complained about the long hold times (hours) to speak with customer service representatives that seemed to have no information themselves. It seems to be they could have significantly reduced call center volume by simply putting a recorded message on the customer service line to let customers know they were aware of the issue. I believe this follows the Keep It Simple, Stupid principal – a step that Cox painfully chose not to take.
At 11am on Sunday, Cox finally provided some info on the issue “we have isolated the cause of the failure to the email system platform which ultimately affected both the primary and secondary failover (back-up) systems”
By 2:30 pm they provided additional information and addressed many of the concerns related to cyber attacks, security breaches, safety of private information.
By 6pm, the system was finally coming back online (more than 48 hours after first reports) by 10pm, 55% of the service was restored and 100% was restored by 9am on 12/17.
Hopefully Cox Communications has learned some lessons on how they can and should improve their customer service, including using social media as a means to communicate. If they can inject code into our browsers to provide a pop-up message – couldn’t they do the same with TV or even send their phone customers a message?
This was an unfortunate event – particularly when customers are already frustrated with rising rates and poor service, but thankfully it was only email and not Internet.