Ben, I really appreciate you taking the time to post this here and demonstrate that you take this seriously, but your cofounder is currently publicly ridiculing customers who have paid good money and been dissatisfied with your service.
As a current customer of WPEngine (who has had issues), nothing makes me want to bail on you guys as much as those two tweets. From the CEO.
EDIT: This is more what I expected to see from Jason, though even this has a weird tone: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4086553
I'm neither justifying nor criticizing what he said, just let's be careful not to burn someone or something based on one mistake that we all can one day find repeating.
His clarification tweets:
I'm sure he'll be more careful on public tweets next time, but I think jumping to conclusions on his company etc is going too far.
He made a mistake, obviously seems he learned from it, and we all learned a nice little lesson in customer service, public relations and social web dynamics.
@billmcneely yup, there's always someone bitter and hateful. Sometimes they even have a point, but choose to make it in a destructive way.
@P_Doubleya @gozmike thanks guys. That's also why I ignore HN. There's always haters.
Of course you may disagree with the tone, or the content, but disgusting is a little strong isn't it? Can we dial down the hyperbole a little?
I'll grant you that "ridiculing" is probably not the right word...maybe dismissive or condescending would have been more accurate.
And yes, I do find it disgusting that he's publicly behaving this way towards a customer.
It's fair to criticise those tweets and I don't feel they are appropriate really, but I don't think they should be classified as disgusting - misguided and inappropriate at this particular time, perhaps, but not disgusting. Isn't it better to deal with situations like this without escalating emotions further and degenerating into both sides insulting each other?
I think a great heuristic here is this: your customers can be publicly negative, but you cannot.
If you publicly flame a customer then, no matter how deserving the customer was, some future potential customers will look at that and say "That could be me." Most businesses, I think, can't afford to risk that.
There are some notable counterexamples, in my opinion they are the exceptions which prove the rule, i.e. when the business wants to fire the customer and make an example of him/her for others.
The best example of this is the Drafthouse movie theater in Austin, who created a great PSA wherein they ridicule a customer for insisting she had the right to use her cell phone during a movie: http://adland.tv/content/drafthouse-movie-theatre-makes-keep...
I agree 100%, the tweets are not helpful, but I disagree with the "disgusting" description and felt it was a little over the top.
All I want to see from the CEO in a situation like this is: "I'm sorry. We fucked up. Here's how we'll make it right, and here's how we'll make sure it doesn't happen again."
And if you genuinely can't say that because you don't think the customer is right and you're not willing to do anything for them, just keep your mouth shut.
The completely different service refund wouldn't be necessary if the not different service had been up to expectation in the first instance.
I feel absolutely justified in being refunded that amount by WPEngine.
Would you consider it reasonable to be the subject of the manager's tweet, or open letter or any other kind of public message calling you someone who cannot be pleased, who has an agenda against the store, is disposed toward bitterness, and is communicating destructively.
How is that not disrespectful?
I actively ignore Twitter for the same reasons some might avoid HN, but that doesn't mean that there aren't valid and intelligent conversations to be had there, particularly if you have to deal with customer service and PR.