A Triad of Circumstances: When Corporations Don’t do their job

Quite often, I wonder if my definition of quality customer service is too demanding but the answer comes back as a flat “no”.

Having used the services of many companies over the years – from retail to banks – I can honestly say that I’m just an average Joe with regards to what I expect from their procedures, workflow and customer support.

Today I will discuss an incident that, despite my goodwill and thorough participation in the process, kept me on the phone for 60 minutes; all while three companies involved in the domain business did less than their allocated part to assist me with resolving the issue.

A few hours ago I received an email from Register.com with regards to authorizing a domain transfer to them. The email did not list which domain was being transfered; the subject line simply stated “Transfer of .com”.

My first thought was that this was spam; after examining the email headers it was proven legit. Since I had not personally authorized a domain transfer to Register.com I felt compelled to call their support department.

I was able to get through their inbound transfers department quite easily; the wait time was barely a minute. The support associate was polite and explained to me that the domain had been authorized for transfer via the use of the auth code; she would just not let me know which domain that was due to their protocol. She advised me to contact eNom and talk to them, as they’re the losing registrar.

Usually, I don’t sweet-talk female associates on the phone. Being “neutral” and professional is the best way, however, when my property is at risk I feel that anything is permitted. So I sighed, explained that out of thousands of domains I’d have to guess the one that’s at risk of being lost; so judging by her voice that she was so friendly and nice, could she please (PLEASE) help me out?

The Register.com associate laughed, then disclosed that the domain was unlocked; a quick search at my eNom account narrowed that down to 9 domains. I applauded her professional skills and laughed jovially at the same time; this got me the TLD in question: it was a .biz

Not sure if she crossed the line of information disclosure but at that point I was left with 4 potential candidates. I thanked her, got a reference number and called eNom.

Going through eNom’s phone queue took about 5 minutes, at which point a live person got on the phone. After explaining the situation and while he was researching for any unauthorized access, it literally hit me. I asked him to put me on hold and went to Whois.biz – the official WHOIS for the .biz Registry – at which point my hunch was confirmed.

It was a matter of eNom not having synced the WHOIS info with the .biz Registry; the culprit was a .biz I sold via Sedo almost 3 weeks ago. Although upon pushing the domain to the Sedo account with eNom I had opted not to retain the contact info, the domain’s contact info was never updated at the .biz Registry by eNom; it was still mine, according to the WHOIS.

Gotta love false alarms.

Still, I called Register.com and this time I waited 20 minutes on the phone to get someone at the other end of the line, in order to update the ticket. After that, I went ahead and authorized the transfer via the link that had arrived at my email.

So who’s fault was it that I spent one hour on the phone over a situation that I did not initiate?

eNom.com – When I pushed the domain to the Sedo account, they didn’t sync the WHOIS with the .biz Registry.

Sedo.com – When they got the Auth code for the domain from their account, they did not first confirm the WHOIS at the .biz Registry.

Register.com – They would not give me the domain name – which was not mentioned in the email either – but I had to extract bits and pieces by social engineering their associate on the phone.

It’s clearly the fault of every company involved – all three are guilty of doing less than their expected part in a process that involved a buyer and a seller of a domain. Had I not taken an initiative to resolve this, these companies would receive additional inquiries and complaints from the buyer for days to come.

After all this was done and finished, I felt good for an extra reason: I had material to write a blog post on this otherwise slow and boring Sunday evening.

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  1. eNom is horrible when it comes to syncing the WHOIS. I bought a .us domain on the forums, and after 6 months (no joke) the WHOIS still said the old owner, and that was after 3-4 calls and a few support tickets. It never got resolved, I just moved it to another registrar instead and the WHOIS was updated the same day. eNom blamed the registry the whole time.

  2. Michael – unfortunately you’re right, as this seems to occur often with .biz/.info/.us domains at eNom.

    However, the syncing “over the phone” worked in seconds. It’s odd that the epiphany over the incident came to me only while I was on hold with eNom 🙂

  3. Hi Acky,

    Excellent blog article. I love play by play reports like this in dealing with several (or one) “professional” domain company who seems to think we’re all just easy pickings and stooges for their corporate mindset.

    My first blame goes to whoever contacted you first: Register.com
    Now, I’m conflicted, because Enom should have contacted you first.

    Enom blew it by not changing the .biz contact info by sending the change to the .biz registry (who I don’t find accountable here).

    Although I have a distant relationship with Enom regarding them buying Bulkregister and migrating the domain mgmt system I designed with Eric Rice, I find that they MISS so many opportunities to upgrade their systems to benefit their customers.

    Have you ever thought that Enom doesn’t WANT it to be easy for large domain holders to manage their domains? Domainers with big portf’s are like sardines to them… although Enom can have 10 domainers with 100k domains between them, Enom may think it’s just easier to let those ten domainers sweat it out, make mistakes, and get frustrated (as what happened to you).

    Enom seems to be so “removed” from the needs of big domain holders that you can’t even sort your domains at Enom by the Name Servers (NS), a very important feature which was included in Eric and my original design at Bulkregister.

    However, back to Register.com. A corporate gaggle of who-what-where-how- huh? handling of domains. Playing games with you by not telling you what domain was in transit is ridiculous, and it almost seems like keeping you on the phone longer makes them think they’re getting better “advertising time” during your wait. lol

    Since Enom is so far removed from actually understanding the domainer’s needs, they don’t seem to have noticed, or cared, that I have been transferring out over 2000 domains from their registrar in the last several years. I think I have less than 300 domains left at BRenom. One time, someone from CS did ask why I was transferring out, and I told them (price and inability to sort domains by NS) – and that’s as far as it went.

    Nice article. Glad you at least got to the bottom of it… but your time is money, and they made you lose lots of it.

  4. Nice article. Not much to add except “me too”. Been through the whole issue of enom + .biz whois updates and it’s frustrating how many tickets it takes to get done.

    Like pulling teeth with a pair of tweezers.

  5. Stephen – Welcome back 🙂 I like your analysis. It’s unfortunate that the companies themselves don’t look in the mirror that often.

    SL – I’ve repeatedly found that getting on the phone has an advantage over opening a ticket: one can engage in live conversation.

  6. Fake name coward says

    …and so the lesson learnt is that none of this is possibly your fault, stupid fuck.

  7. The only “stupid fuck” is the one your mother gave birth to. But I guess I’ll just add from Australia to the blocked list. Enjoy your day 😀

  8. Its sad but: Mediocrity is the new norm these days. From retail box stores to internet, government, schools and all in between: customer service is horrible.

    Oh, and comments such as the one from “fake name coward”, and many other who have not an ounce of integrity, are also becoming the norm these days too.

  9. Lisa – I think that what really distinguishes good from great customer service, is the ability to go beyond one’s framed set of tasks. That extra step needed to ensure that customer experience is smooth, almost like a mother checking on her child’s jacket when it’s cold. Sappy? I know, emphasis is often lost on people that simply leave comments in order to harass or to attempt to ruin the positive experience of others.

  10. Great customer service are those, who like you say, go beyond. Customers almost always detect when someone on the other side of the phone is reading from a script and wont side-step that script in order to become “human”. Or, at the store, in person, its not difficult to detect those who simply do now wish to assist and do not really have to according to the policy of that particular store – but COULD if they really wished to. People who do, and there are some, are the ones who eventually leave those places and move on to bigger and better things. Those who dont, well they remain to assist us customers. 🙁

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