Within the past week I lost my electricity and then, on a separate occasion, my email access. While both episodes were fairly short lived, they were frustrating experiences. I wanted to share some lessons I learned so if this happens to you, it may be a little less time consuming and easier to deal with!
I work from home. Monday afternoon, around 5:30, everything shut down – no warning, everything just went OFF. A quick check confirmed that is was not a fuse but our entire block had no electricity. I called the service company and learned that a transformer had blown, they had people working on it and they gave me an estimated recovery time of midnight. (They actually had it repaired by 9:30 pm – a major plus!) I wasn’t able to work that night but my cell phone helped me keep in touch with clients via phone and email and hey, we got to visit with our neighbors.
The next afternoon, again at about 5:15, my email went down. It kicked me out and would not let me back in. At first I thought that we might be having a ‘brown out’, given the problem the day before but all my other windows and applications were working fine. I called GoDaddy, who hosts my domain and domain related email address and was told that yes, my email had been taken down for ‘routine maintenance’ and might be inaccessible for up to 24 hrs. Yes, 24 hours!!! With absolutely no notice?! This was absurd – and EXTREMELY frustrating. If it was in fact, ‘routine’ why had they not warned me? They pointed out that this is a standard practice – I was appalled. I asked to speak to someone else who might be able to help me and was put on hold – forever, like the kind that they have no intention of ever answering. I was NOT happy!
Then, I tweeted about my dilemma –
Within minutes, @GoDaddy replied that they were looking into it and would get back to me – much more than the phone rep had said and, had I not hung up the phone 30 minutes earlier, I am pretty sure I would have still been on hold from that call.
They then tweeted back to me in less than 30 minutes and said it was taken care of! I thanked them on Twitter and was happy to see that even if their phone reps are not on top of what can and can’t be done, at least their customer service on Twitter is on it!
So, here are 10 lessons I learned from these frustrating events. Hopefully the tips will save you some time and frustration!
Have important email addresses printed out and easily accessible (fortunately, I had them in my paper files)
You can do this by opening a new email and addressing it to the key people you want to have, then cut and paste that field into the body of the email and send it to yourself to print out.
If you have power, just no email, as I did the second day, you may want to keep an electronic file of all your contacts. Do make this, you ‘export’ your contacts to an .xls or csv You may have already done this to sync with LinkedIn or your e-news but remember to keep it up to date. I had one of these but my current clients, the ones I was emailing that day, were not on the list as I had made that a few months earlier.
Have important email addresses in your cell phone. I tend not to initiate many emails from my phone, especially to clients, I mostly just respond so I did not have many addresses in there. I will be adding some of those this week!
Have a laptop or tablet available. When I had no electricity, I knew I would be able to work the next day, if necessary by going to a local cafe or Panera’s
Know where you can get internet access, whether free or paid (but there are LOTS of free hot spots) I knew that I could work at a cafe or even the library if necessary, if the power outage had lasted longer.
Save to the cloud. My email, when it is working, is ‘cloud -based’ meaning that I can access it from any device with an internet connection. I love this as I can save things from my desktop by emailing it to myself and then download it at a meeting, or even when I am away. I am now looking for ways to save more of my data like this. Though maybe not with GoDaddy!
Even if you have tried one customer service venue, it cannot hurt to try another – you may get a better response! I have found that the customer service reps that monitor social media seem to have better access to information, not only in this case but in others as well. It is always worth sending a tweet if they (and you) are on Twitter.
If you do not have a cell phone, it is worth it to have an old fashioned corded phone in case of a power outage. Maybe because we live in a 100 yr old house in a neighborhood that was not originally designed for electricity but power outages are not uncommon for us and our cordless phones become useless.
Save often! When the power went out, I had been working on WORD document in one window and an e-newsletter in the other. Fortunately, I had saved recently and did not lose much but it is a good idea to save often and to make sure your auto save is ‘on’ whenever available.
Have an alternate email address. When my email went down, I was able to track down the address for a client, in my files, and send them a note to let them know how to reach me if in fact, my email was going to be offline for the next 24 hours.
While you can always say something like “Note From LisaMarie Dias” in the email subject line, it is best to have an alternate address with your name, as opposed to “YankeeFan1@aol.com”, that you can use for work purposes if necessary. Not that you shouldn’t have a fun address as well – that one would be great if you could get it!