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  1. #1
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    Bobcares 4 hour Review

    Hi,

    Today I decided to take the plunge and see if outsourcing would solve financial expense issues with my support systems. I chose the sleepwell plan - of which I would think means I can sleep at night. (It's 03:27AM here!!!!!)

    Originally ordered at 1PM GMT , Was told then that it was all setup and working by 11PM GMT.

    I thought great - i'll be able to take the night off and go watch a DVD, just finished downstairs, come back up to a horrendous support queue and 3 missed calls from my major clients.

    Turns out they've done multiple things.

    1. Moved apache config around, php.ini is locked and cannot be chmodded from 0000
    2. Upon restarting apache I get about 150 lines of errors, of which were not there before
    3. Apache has run out of set memory, and has been like this now for over 3 hours.

    They claim to have 1 hour response and 6 hour resolution. A client opened a ticket at 12:16AM, and was replied to initially at 2:28AM - correct me if i'm wrong but this is WAY beyond a 1 hour response.

    Worst bit is when they sent me the questionnaire about how things run I told them this:

    Do not touch any configuration files, or services on the server, do not install, uninstall or modify any software on the servers.

    So at this current time, i've opened a ticket with server management company who KNOW what they are doing, and hoping they can revert this nightmare.

    The ironic thing is - the plan is called sleepwell.. why the hell am I working at 3.30 in the morning!!!!

    I'll keep you posted as I get this nightmare reverted, and beg my clients who have noticed issues this evening to stay.
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  2. #2
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    Thanks for the imformative review, I've also been considering outsourcing recently. Looking forward to your follow ups, I wish you the best of luck sorting out the problems you've ran into.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. #3
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    Mike,

    If you can afford it, go with TouchSupport. I love the guys there, they are AMAZING and then a bit more. But they come with the cost.

    Luckily they are logged in now, as well as about 7 people from Bobcares trying to fix these god damn errors that are costing me money!
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  4. #4
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    wow that sounds pretty bad.

  5. #5
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    Seems like the worst time to be having these problems. I'd recommend sticking it out.. With any outsourced clients, there needs to be time to get accustomed to your company... the way you work, how you operate, your servers etc. When we take on clients, we recommend they keep their existing support staff for up to 48 hours after their order to ensure the best possible service for their clients.

    It may be the same thing occurring here. A 4 day review may be more accurate in portraying their level of services. Just my 2 cents.
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  6. #6
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    Up until now, we haven't offered 24/7 support, as all my proper staff are based in the UK, and so it becomes a bit awkward. I've taken on bobcares to deal with support over night, so I can have my social life back in the evenings! So I haven't got any staff for them to work alongside, other than me.
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  7. #7
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    Check out supportpro.com, they are very solid.
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  8. #8
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    Well, the majority of outsource companies you could have many different admins working with your client and your server. If they can't follow the basic instructions such as do not install or modify settings then dump them. If you want a decent company check out www.cliffsupport.com

  9. #9
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    ayksolutions and Matt.G - you both recommended support companies but didn't really put any backing to it. Do you mind explaining why you recommend those companies, anything specific coming to mind? It's just that I'm currently doing some light research on outsourced support too...

    Merry Christmas!

  10. #10
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    Sure, I can make a short list of why I think supportpro is really good.

    1. Great service.
    2. Follow instructions.
    3. Flawless english and very professional with us and our clients.
    4. Main office in Chicago, IL. (Good for legal reasons)
    5. Very competitive rates and you really get what you pay for.
    6. They are always online and available to discuss any issues with you real time.
    7. They have 14 day free trial, take it.
    8. Do reply within their stated (30 minutes) time frame to tickets and do resolve all issues in a knowledgeable manner.
    9. Can also use them for other things such as level3 full management and live chat for a very good rate as well.

    Merry Christmas
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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by danserv View Post
    Hi,

    Today I decided to take the plunge and see if outsourcing would solve financial expense issues with my support systems. I chose the sleepwell plan - of which I would think means I can sleep at night. (It's 03:27AM here!!!!!)

    Originally ordered at 1PM GMT , Was told then that it was all setup and working by 11PM GMT.

    I thought great - i'll be able to take the night off and go watch a DVD, just finished downstairs, come back up to a horrendous support queue and 3 missed calls from my major clients.

    Turns out they've done multiple things.

    1. Moved apache config around, php.ini is locked and cannot be chmodded from 0000
    2. Upon restarting apache I get about 150 lines of errors, of which were not there before
    3. Apache has run out of set memory, and has been like this now for over 3 hours.

    They claim to have 1 hour response and 6 hour resolution. A client opened a ticket at 12:16AM, and was replied to initially at 2:28AM - correct me if i'm wrong but this is WAY beyond a 1 hour response.

    Worst bit is when they sent me the questionnaire about how things run I told them this:

    Do not touch any configuration files, or services on the server, do not install, uninstall or modify any software on the servers.

    So at this current time, i've opened a ticket with server management company who KNOW what they are doing, and hoping they can revert this nightmare.

    The ironic thing is - the plan is called sleepwell.. why the hell am I working at 3.30 in the morning!!!!

    I'll keep you posted as I get this nightmare reverted, and beg my clients who have noticed issues this evening to stay.
    My initial impresssion of Bobcares and my horrible presales attempts to contact them posted here just a few days ago, http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showth...light=bobcares should have been a big wakeup call. Did you read this?
    << Please see the Rules page. >>

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ayksolutions View Post
    Sure, I can make a short list of why I think supportpro is really good.

    1. Great service.
    2. Follow instructions.
    3. Flawless english and very professional with us and our clients.
    4. Main office in Chicago, IL. (Good for legal reasons)
    5. Very competitive rates and you really get what you pay for.
    6. They are always online and available to discuss any issues with you real time.
    7. They have 14 day free trial, take it.
    8. Do reply within their stated (30 minutes) time frame to tickets and do resolve all issues in a knowledgeable manner.
    9. Can also use them for other things such as level3 full management and live chat for a very good rate as well.

    Merry Christmas
    They dont offer any type of phone support and what im looking for is somebody who offers my dedicated clients phone support. Is there such a company in existance? Not looking for ticket support, not looking for phone support for hosting but phone support for dedicated clients only. I guess i should start my own company as i cant find a company that provides dedicated server support. And Bobcares sucks on my initial presales requests so they are out of the question now.
    << Please see the Rules page. >>

  13. #13
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    The important thing to remember is that it takes time for any support company to get up to speed with your operations. Most "1 hour initial response" I've dealt with have always been "Hi thanks we're looking at your issue" and then no response for 6 hours.

    So, in my opinion, the initial response time is pointless. But at any rate... if you expect everything to go 100% smoothly the first day you hand over support operations to an outsourced company, you're not being realistic.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt.G View Post
    Well, the majority of outsource companies you could have many different admins working with your client and your server. If they can't follow the basic instructions such as do not install or modify settings then dump them. If you want a decent company check out www.cliffsupport.com
    Just a note on something that crossed my mind here.

    I helped someone on this board troubleshoot a Rails install and after logging in to their server, I was prompted with a _very_ lengthy motd that set out some very specific rules regarding actions taken on the server. It was very well thought out and I imagine would be a good deterrent for those who feel like munging up a working machine.

    I'd probably include rules about kernel upgrades, PHP recompiles, major cpanel upgrades, etc. Could be something to look into.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by danserv View Post
    If you can afford it, go with TouchSupport. I love the guys there, they are AMAZING and then a bit more. But they come with the cost.
    Yes, we've used TouchSupport in the past and I recommend them highly. They really know their stuff, follow instructions, and have a great response time. Worth the extra money, IMHO.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikie4648 View Post
    My initial impresssion of Bobcares and my horrible presales attempts to contact them posted here just a few days ago, http://www.webhostingtalk.com/showth...light=bobcares should have been a big wakeup call. Did you read this?
    Yeah I did read that, but it's about phone support, and I know that their phone support is done from the USA.
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  17. #17
    If you can afford it, go with TouchSupport.

  18. #18
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    It's all sorted now, i've had one of the executives email me checking it's all OK, and now everything has settled down it seems to be running smoothly. I suppose a bumpy start is what you get with almost all outsourced teams.
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  19. #19
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    My experience with Bobcares is that they don't follow instructions and pretty much do whatever they feel like doing to your servers. We haven't hired them directly, but they were doing outsourced tech support for one of our clients. They were specifically told NOT to touch anything or make any config changes, etc. They started installing all sorts of crapware to "harden" and "optimize" things. They had actually installed APF and couldn't figure out why it wasn't working (iptables weren't enabled).

    Within 24 hours they had 3 machines so horribly misconfigured and broken that we had to drop the client because the customer couldn't afford to pay us for the hours it would take to fix things.

    So, Bobcares cost me and our client a huge amount of money.

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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by danserv View Post
    I suppose a bumpy start is what you get with almost all outsourced teams.
    Errm, wha?
    You should never, ever, get a 'bumpy start' with anyone. If so, then there's issues somewhere.

    The ideal 'outsourced team' is one that hides behind your own layer of business so that it's impossible to tell that they're outsourced, and if they're giving you a 'bumpy start', or making changes they shouldn't, well, that's a problem..

    It sounds like they made some configuration changes to your server without your permission, and that should just be a no-no. From a security standpoint, sure, that might be a good thing, but there should always be a ballance between security and usability, which is something very few understand.
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  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by danserv View Post
    1. Moved apache config around, php.ini is locked and cannot be chmodded from 0000
    2. Upon restarting apache I get about 150 lines of errors, of which were not there before
    3. Apache has run out of set memory, and has been like this now for over 3 hours.

    Worst bit is when they sent me the questionnaire about how things run I told them this:

    Do not touch any configuration files, or services on the server, do not install, uninstall or modify any software on the servers.
    Quote Originally Posted by AH-Tina View Post
    My experience with Bobcares is that they don't follow instructions and pretty much do whatever they feel like doing to your servers...

    ...They started installing all sorts of crapware to "harden" and "optimize" things. They had actually installed APF and couldn't figure out why it wasn't working (iptables weren't enabled).
    Dan,

    It looks as though Tina had the exact same experience as you. The fact that the cases are so similar casts a very harsh light on Bobcares.

    I hope Bobcares follows up in this thread just so we're presented with their side.

  22. #22
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    it's a pitty man, I hope you will get things up shortly..

  23. #23
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    Ah yes, but surely they need to learn the way the business runs as they get used to working for me. They changed me over to a different team after my troubles, and it all seems OK now.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by AcuNett View Post
    Seems like the worst time to be having these problems. I'd recommend sticking it out.. With any outsourced clients, there needs to be time to get accustomed to your company... the way you work, how you operate, your servers etc. When we take on clients, we recommend they keep their existing support staff for up to 48 hours after their order to ensure the best possible service for their clients.

    It may be the same thing occurring here. A 4 day review may be more accurate in portraying their level of services. Just my 2 cents.
    I do agree to what is said above. It is a true fact and I humbly suggest that some time should be given to the outsourced support companies to get accustomed to the: New Server setup, Server configuration, Custom
    Client handling systems and procedures etc. The outsourced support companies have to learn the exact system and procedures that the main hosting company follows to handle customer queries and servers. This is to ensure that the hosting customers gets the same care and support that they used to get from the Hosting company owners.

    I would say, a review after 7 day free trial would have been more accurate.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by blessen View Post
    I do agree to what is said above. It is a true fact and I humbly suggest that some time should be given to the outsourced support companies to get accustomed to the: New Server setup, Server configuration, Custom
    Client handling systems and procedures etc. The outsourced support companies have to learn the exact system and procedures that the main hosting company follows to handle customer queries and servers. This is to ensure that the hosting customers gets the same care and support that they used to get from the Hosting company owners.

    I would say, a review after 7 day free trial would have been more accurate.
    I disagree, I would hate to have someone managing something that is critical to the survival of my business who cant follow simple instructions of what not to do and ends up affecting my business. Do you think that if you were decommissioning nuclear weapons that the bomb squad would allow people who can't follow simple instructions to decommission the missile? Obviously not. There should be no time to get accustom when they aren't managing his server, they are just replying to tickets and fixing minor technical errors that might arise, not doing a garbage attempt to harden his working server.

    For a response to all of the companies suggested that listed listens to instructions as a positive, shouldn't that be a standard? How far do you honestly think a company would get if they didn't care about their customers instructions. Obviously some outsourced companies think they know better, and just use dumb excuses to cover their tracks.
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  26. #26
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    I would say, a review after 7 day free trial would have been more accurate.
    Way wrong idea
    That gives the company 7 days to screw up your servers even more, and NOT listen to your tips and instructions? I don't think so!

    The outsourced support companies have to learn the exact system and procedures that the main hosting company follows to handle customer queries and servers
    Yeah, they do, but this takes 5 seconds, not 7 days
    Client states:
    Do not touch apache
    Ok, we won't touch apache

    Client States:
    Do not play with configurations
    They'll need to explain what configurations they need to stay the same, but overall, fair enough.

    Client states
    do this
    You do this

    No 7 days required, it takes 30 seconds. Do it, or don't. Simple as pie.

    When a client comes up and places an order for services with me, they fill out a form with server information, that contains additional comments. In those comments are typically 'do not do' situations. Is it reasonable for me to ignore those 'do not do' situations? Of course not! Is it RIGHT for me to ignore them? Of course not. Should it take 7 days for me to get 'used' to them? Nope. They have a set way to do things, and they need to be respected enough by the business to allow that. Remember, THEY pay the bills, THEY are the customer. If you can't get your employees to follow THEIR instructions from the start, then the employee doesn't need to be working in this industry. If YOU can't follow their instructions from the start then you don't neeed to be working in this industry.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annex View Post
    I disagree, I would hate to have someone managing something that is critical to the survival of my business who cant follow simple instructions of what not to do and ends up affecting my business.....
    Basically what Blessen was trying to imply was that there is a small time frame that is taken by any outsourcing company which needs to take over the support works and as Dan would vouch, we do have a questionnaire form that is filled for these sort of works. Usually we do take 12-24 hours time to review the questionnaire by the entire team before the work is started. But on this occassion, Dan did request in that things needed to be worked out in around 3-4 hours time as he was not planning to work late that night.The Customer Relations Executive was trying to do his best keeping to the season's festivities and pushed things with the tech guys working and I believe the entire familiarization did not happen completly. Now that they are familiar these sort of issues would not pop up.

    We very well understand the seriousness of following client instructions and though there may be instances over the past 8 years that we have been in the industry where there could have been a few errors on part of the techs, we generally ensure we correct it out completely and learn from it. We do have processes to correct errors, train people but sometimes we cannot prepare for certain eventualities that occur. Dan's was one such instance and we believe we have corrected it enough to ensure everything is working fine and he is happy.

    We are also thankful for the feedbacks a few of you have given in this forum as it has helped us many a time iron out complacency within teams. If it were not for the fact we follow our customer instructions, value your feedbacks and improve ourselves we would not have survived 8 years and reach 300 people in this customer centric industry.
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  28. #28
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    there is a small time frame that is taken by any outsourcing compan
    No there isn't. It's simple. Look over form, do what form says, end of statement. And as a 'support' team, you shouldn't EVEN be touching configurations, or changing ANYTHING at all unless specifically asked to do so by the client. That's the system admin's job. Now if they said "hey, we want you to manage them as well", that's a completely different story, but support is just that, support. Answer tickets, help people out.

    We very well understand the seriousness of following client instructions

    Really? Cuz, well, these say otherwise, just from this thread alone. OBVIOUSLY you ignore what clients tell you. If you didn't, then others wouldn't be posting stuff like this:

    My experience with Bobcares is that they don't follow instructions and pretty much do whatever they feel like doing to your servers.
    Worst bit is when they sent me the questionnaire about how things run I told them this:
    Do not touch any configuration files, or services on the server, do not install, uninstall or modify any software on the servers.
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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by linux-tech View Post
    Really? Cuz, well, these say otherwise, just from this thread alone. OBVIOUSLY you ignore what clients tell you. If you didn't, then others wouldn't be posting stuff like this:
    Tom, yes you have two clients here saying the same. I have accepted too that mistakes do happen which you seem to have missed.

    One is Dan, who says he is happy now.
    Also there are certain things which he may choose to clarify later on if the case requires it. From our side, we are happy that we could clear the confusions with Dan and he is happy.

    The other is Tina unfortunately whose issue I am not able to track back presently.

    Our intention is not to personalize the kind people who have given their suggestions and I thank you Tom for letting us know the system you follow and your advices too. If we can take a leaf out of it, we hope to improve our processes further.
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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by chakky View Post
    Tom, yes you have two clients here saying the same. I have accepted too that mistakes do happen which you seem to have missed.

    One is Dan, who says he is happy now.
    Also there are certain things which he may choose to clarify later on if the case requires it. From our side, we are happy that we could clear the confusions with Dan and he is happy.

    The other is Tina unfortunately whose issue I am not able to track back presently.

    Our intention is not to personalize the kind people who have given their suggestions and I thank you Tom for letting us know the system you follow and your advices too. If we can take a leaf out of it, we hope to improve our processes further.
    People are prone to making errors not mistakes. Mistakes are errors caused by misjudgment, carelessness, or forgetfulness. Someone could technically live their whole adult life without a mistake, but of course there are many errors, which are differences from the normal/correct/right answer to a problem, as nobody is perfect. The difference is that errors are inevitable or part of fate if you believe in that, while mistakes are errors that were avoidable but we chose not to avoid them through the above methods. True the past cannot be changed as of yet, but you must change in the future, running a business where your clients instructions aren't followed won't take you vary far, and why a support team would be hardening the server they were specifically instructed not to is beyond me. Since all seems OK now we should leave it at that, but you really need to let that team know what they did was stupid and nearly cost you the customer, where in most cases you would have lost the customer.
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  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by danserv View Post
    As a clarification, i've looked through the logs clarified to us that it was my server management team who had done the server administration work. Bobcares had not neglected instructions stating not to do server administration work. The simultaneous incidents of the handover to Bobcares and the server going down had lead to the hasty conclusion.
    Dan,

    Good to hear! I hope everything works out for you. I'd be interested in hearing your impressions of Bobcares a few months down the line.

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