How Not to Do Customer Service

Number 31415926 in an infinite series.

As I write this Monday evening, the GoComics website is down. It was down when I tried to read my usual morning batch of strips on Saturday morning. It has not come back up. So it’s been down continuously for at least 60 hours.

The website simply says “The requested service is temporarily unavailable. It is either overloaded or under maintenance. Please try later.”

Not exactly helpful or informative.

In the early going, whoever was running their Twitter account tried to lighten things up by tweeting comics. However, a small, apparently random selection–although several of the later selections referenced people or things being broken. Hmm.

Finally, Sunday evening–48 hours into the outage–they posted an official statement.

Since then, the account has been silent. Reports are that their communication on Facebook is identical.

Granted, lack of access to comic strips is a first world problem.

But the people being inconvenienced are, one way or another*, paying customers.

* Some of us paying with actual currency, some by being exposed to advertising (while being tormented with repeated demands that we fork over the aforesaid currency).

And the only reason they can get away with ignoring paying customers is because they’re a monopoly. Some of the strips show up on the websites of newspapers that run the strips in their print editions. But no newspaper carries all of the hundreds of GoComics strips; some of them are even online-only, making them totally inaccessible during this outage.

And every moment that passes without an update, or even a “Geez, folks, we’re really sorry. We screwed up big time,” makes the pool of ill will deeper. Darker. Colder.

Never underestimate the ire of a Garfield fan denied their fix.

Late update just before posting: GoComics is back up today. I didn’t get a chance to check it last night, but it was down Tuesday morning, so the outage lasted 72 hours or more.

The Twitter account? Still no new posts. So much for status updates. So much for belated redemption. So much for actually appreciating your customers.