Hard Disk Drive Emergencies And Customer Evangelism

I had the unfortunate luck to have my hard drive fail a few weeks ago. My back-up was about 8 days old but clients and Basecamp filled in most of the gaps.

I thought I was in good shape until I realized that the back-up of “My Pictures” had only five digital photos in it instead of the over 2,000 we’ve managed to take in the last two years. It seems that the last back-up had been too large for the drive and it gave up without copying the pictures.

Needless to say this is a disaster. Two years of my kids’ lives, once well documented, were now (literally) a memory. Recalling how I had inadvertently destroyed most of my own childhood pictures in Grade Three, I knew that these pictures were far more valuable than anything else on the disk. I knew that data recovery could be costly, but I also knew that in 20 years when the kids were grown we’d pay any price to have those memories back.

I therefore began the quest for a reputable data recovery service in Toronto and after some Googling found my new favourite company — ActionFront.

From the very first visit to their website to picking-up 2 DVD-ROMs with all our photos archived for safe-keeping, this has been an absolutely great experience.

ActionFront realizes that:

1. Their customers are almost guaranteed to be panicked and stressed when they first contact them.

2. The only people willing to use their service are those who know they have something valuable that is close to being lost.

3. At the same time, customers are feeling vulnerable. It would be really easy for someone to take advantage of you when you find yourself saying “I’d pay anything to have my data back”.

4. For most customers this will be the first time they’ve gone through this nasty experience and they’ll need hand-holding.

ActionFront worked incredibly well to address all these issues. Here are a few of the things I noticed that made me a customer evangelist for ActionFront.

1. ActionFront’s home page puts “Call 1–800–563–1167 for immediate assistance” front and centre. If you have a disaster you want to speak to a real person, not wade through a huge site.

2. The site does have lots of details if you want to understand your situation better. They offer lots of background on why they are the best, testimonials, etc. And they also offer specific information on types of drives, common points of failure and the complexity of the process.

3. They have an amazing pricing model. If they can’t get you the data you want, you don’t pay anything. They charge a higher price because of this but it makes the decision an easy one. They give you the quote and if the data is worth that much to you, you say “go for it”. If it isn’t, you get the disk back.

4. They responded immediately via e-mail and phone. Follow-up was incredibly professional and with a reassuring “doctorly” tone. Here’s part of an e-mail: “Here is the evaluation results and quote for this recovery case. Please take as long as you need to decide how you’d like to proceed. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to give me a call. Keep in mind that this quote is based on a successful recovery of your critical data. If the recovery is not complete, the partial recovery results must be to your satisfaction or there is no charge.” and then a few e-mail messages later: “Here’s the list of recovered files. It is important to realize that this good list is what will be returned if this recovery is approved so please look through the list carefully to ensure that all of your critical files are present. If you feel this is a successful recovery, respond to this email and we’ll get started preparing this data for return.”

5. Their offices were clean, their staff professional. The clean-room was visible as you entered. In all, it seemed like this was the right place for my dead drive to be revived.

6. When I picked up the drive and recovered data it was packed in a custom shipping box with lots of foam and anti-static sleeves. And to seal my affection, it came with a booklet on how to prevent future disasters — essentially saying “we don’t ever want to see you again”.

Well done!