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Yahoo Mail's Customer Service Catastrophe

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Yahoo Mail's Customer Service Catastrophe

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SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 21: Cars drive by a Yahoo billboard October 21, 2008 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Yahoo Mail has been struck down by regular outages across its network and customer complaints have been rising for the last few weeks, according to reports.
 
Individuals and small businesses affected by the outages feel they haven't been kept in the loop by the Yahoo Mail team, AllThingsD reported. It also reported that Yahoo didn't respond to requests from AllThingsD for weeks, "perhaps the most astonishing display of PR incompetence I have experienced in a very long time." according to Kara Swisher.

 
Instead of informing users or the press, Yahoo has been using a series of tweets which showed up on Dec. 10 and promised fixes. Jeffrey Bonforte, Yahoo's senior vice president of communication products, wrote a short an less-than-detail-filled blog post on Wednesday that claimed the problem started Dec. 9:
 
We are very sorry for recent difficulties with Yahoo Mail.
 
Some of our users have not been able to access their mail since 10:27 PM PT on Monday night, due to a hardware problem in one of our mail data centers. The issue has been harder to fix than we originally expected.
 
We have dozens of people working around the clock to bring it to a resolution. We believe our current efforts will restore our users’ access to their inboxes by 3 pm PT today. 
 
As of Dec. 12, Yahoo said that it had 97% of its users' Yahoo Mail restored and was still working on the problem.
 
Swisher's outrage is not about Yahoo Mail outages, but about the company's silence on the issue to both its customers and the outside world. Does Yahoo have something to hide, or is it simply hoping that by not acknowledging the problem publicly it can avoid accusations of incompetence? Either way, its handling of this situation has not been good.
 
 
 

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