Dealing with email problems

Email is simple, right?

Compared to interactive web pages, email is simple, it is just text after all, isn’t it?

At the beginning of the World Wide Web 30 years ago this could have been true. Email was in plain text with no formatting and used only POP technology. And free services were provided from Yahoo, Hotmail, Freeserve, your internet service provider, etc.

Growth and change

We have imagined better ways of using email, and our wants have grown beyond plain text messages.

The technologies have expanded to meet these new demands. Now we want a wide range of features such as –

  • fully featured text formatting and the inclusion of pictures,
  • getting our own unique email names,
  • access via our phones,
  • reading emails on our tablets,
  • access via our laptops when abroad,
  • changing where emails are stored,
  • filtering out spam and viruses,
  • which technology to use,
  • meeting GDPR legal requirements,
  • blocking the scanning of our emails for advertising purposes,
  • protecting our reputations from spammers spoofing our email addresses,
  • moving our emails if/when we change our hosting, our ISP, etc.

Even though this is a long list you can probably add several more.

I want someone to be wholly responsible

So who should be responsible for this, for dealing with your email problems, setting up your phone, running a virus check?

Providing a public email service involves a large amount of computer hardware, networking connections and specialist technical support. Your phone connection is also a separate issue as this uses a mobile network provider and mobile phone hardware. Therefore, these aspects of email services are not normally within the role of a web designer or agency.

It is worth noting that even the first basic email services were provided by large companies like Yahoo, Microsoft (Hotmail), AOL, NTL, etc, and the technology and infrastructure has now grown much more complex and larger.

My web designer said they could help

Large companies run email services. So why do web designers offer to help at all with this?

Web designers try their best to provide a total solution. They can facilitate setting these email services up, but as we can see, they don’t actually run them.

What a web designer or agency can also do is act as your technical intermediary with the large network companies, and ask questions on your behalf when you have email problems. If you don’t have an ongoing service agreement, this will be an extra cost that you will need to check on.

So, what about my email problem?

Something has gone wrong. Who is going to help me?

You may see a difference between a budget email service and a specialist one.

If for example you only pay £2.50 a month inclusive of web hosting and mail server, the level of support will be low. There is a strong possibility that you will need to roll up your sleeves and get hands-on with sorting out the email problem, such as –

  • re-checking your email connection settings (phone, computer, tablet),
    • your operating system (OS) may have been updated recently, and this may have reset your settings
    • other programs that impact on your internet may have been updated, eg. anti-virus
  • checking with your mobile data provider for any changes that may impact,
  • reading FAQs,
  • checking online forums,
  • asking questions on online chat.

I think I need to pay for help

Sorting out email problems myself is too much trouble

You will get less problems in the first place and better support if you use a specialist service like Business Gmail. Another alternative is to pay extra on demand for someone else to help you with your email problems, such as your web designer or local computer shop.

 If you want someone to do everything (eg. physically changing your phone’s settings) you will need to set up an appropriate service level agreement to meet your needs.

References

Google Doodle – https://www.google.com/doodles/30th-anniversary-of-the-world-wide-web

(CC) Image: David MacQuigg

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