+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16
General Chat Thread, Anyone else having major issues with ParentMail? in General; We've been having major issues with ParentMail since the beginning of term, meaning we look like fools to our parents. ...
  1. #1

    localzuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Minehead
    Posts
    17,941
    Thank Post
    519
    Thanked 2,499 Times in 1,940 Posts
    Blog Entries
    24
    Rep Power
    840

    Anyone else having major issues with ParentMail?

    We've been having major issues with ParentMail since the beginning of term, meaning we look like fools to our parents.

    Things such as:

    * Transactions taking 5 minutes+ to complete, say they failed, but then list as being succesful in some of the reports.
    * Reports not running
    * Phone lines taking 10-20 minutes to be answered
    * Emails abrupt and almost rude
    * Excuses given seem poor

    So, anyone else having these issues? If so, what're you doing about it?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Kendal
    Posts
    1,555
    Thank Post
    112
    Thanked 177 Times in 144 Posts
    Rep Power
    72
    Exactly the same issues here. And very poor excuses/support too. Currently we are just pushing them as hard as we can and threatening to ditch it. Awful service at the moment. They are apparently working on a new version which is of no help to us at the moment.

  3. #3
    MGSTech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    362
    Thank Post
    13
    Thanked 95 Times in 54 Posts
    Rep Power
    39
    Exactly the same here, all noise but no action, we too have lost the initial good impression with year 7 parents, all down to this.

    its not anything we can recover easily as you say we look like a bunch of fools!

    Looking into "product not fit for purpose" and ending our contract...

    School Comms anyone?, Oh and as for Parentmail X and the email this week about all their charity fundraising well....

  4. #4

    localzuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Minehead
    Posts
    17,941
    Thank Post
    519
    Thanked 2,499 Times in 1,940 Posts
    Blog Entries
    24
    Rep Power
    840
    Fun thing for us, the newsletter we got sent us to a server error... So even their advertising didn't work properly!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Nr Peterborough
    Posts
    24
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
    Rep Power
    8
    Folks ... many apologies! We will be issuing a statement to schools/parents for the recent problems in the next day or so we will provide this as soon as the situation is fully resolved. The root cause of the problem is with the hosting provider who had a fibre outage to their SAN about 3 weeks ago. They told us the problem had been fixed as soon as it happened but we've had to commission further diagnostic work to prove that the problem remains with them! The quality of this connection has degraded which means that our database is getting timeouts (connection errors) and this is what is producing the slow response on the website.

    I've now contacted the Global Chief Exec of the provider and he has pushed down so we're seeing a more focused response. The hosting provider has both US and UK experts investigating the situation and they are giving us updates every hour.

    In the meantime we've taken the opportunity to perform a number of 'optimizations' to the PM2 environment which has helped but which weren't technically necessary and certainly weren't responsible for the current situation. We are putting maximum pressure on the hosting provider and will let you all know as soon as we have a complete resolution.

    It is an incredibly frustrating situation for us being out of our direct control and all we can do is ask for your patience. This type of problem has never occurred previously in twelve years of business so it is a first for us. Clearly as a result of the issue we're now considering our hosting provider and how to avoid such a problem in the future.

    The situation affects ParentMail 2 users only, while ParentMail 1 and PMX users (latest platform) are unaffected. We will issue official communications through appropriate channels as soon as we are able in the next few days.

    Apologies again ...


    Paul
    ----------------

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Kendal
    Posts
    1,555
    Thank Post
    112
    Thanked 177 Times in 144 Posts
    Rep Power
    72
    Thanks Paul but with the greatest respect that doesn't help us as customers. This is THE chance to get year 7 parents on board. Once it's failed we will struggle to get them to try a 2nd, 3rd or 4th time etc.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Nr Peterborough
    Posts
    24
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
    Rep Power
    8
    @jcollings. I'm not sure what more I can say? Clearly if it were down to me/us, there would never be system or environment problems & you can be sure that if the timing of these things was down to us, we wouldn't pick September! In the meantime I don't have a magic wand and can only work with our providers to correct the problem as fast as we can.

    We will do all we can to help including providing information schools can use to explain the situation to parents.

    Best,


    Paul
    --------------

  8. #8

    localzuk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Minehead
    Posts
    17,941
    Thank Post
    519
    Thanked 2,499 Times in 1,940 Posts
    Blog Entries
    24
    Rep Power
    840
    Hi Paul,

    Thank you for the response. There are a few things I find somewhat odd though.

    1. From the description you give, it would appear that you are using shared servers and storage, either via a cloud or some other arrangement.
    2. You have a situation whereby you had to commission diagnostic work for your own services, rather than having in-house expertise that could do it.
    3. You don't appear to have a redundant solution.

    For a service that is used by as many schools as yours, I would have hoped you would have at least the following:

    1. A private set of servers and storage
    2. Infrastructure expertise on your team
    3. A split system, across a couple of data-centres with master master replication for databases and load balancing for the front end (n+1 redundancy), thereby removing the possibility of a single data-centre causing downtime for the solution.

    Surely this isn't too much to ask?

    Also, the technical problems do not resolve the more personal problems we've seen, such as abrupt emails, staff not giving clear information when you get through via phone, and the long waiting times to get through in the first time.

    As it stands, your customers are having to pester you in order to get simple answers, wasting their time on hold as emails go unanswered for days.

    From a financial point of view, we have examples where payments are being returned as failed at point of sale, then reports stating they succeeded and parents being left in limbo not knowing if they have paid or not, and the school in the same situation. An accountant or auditor would not sign off a set of accounts with inaccuracies such as this in place. Schools could in fact get in a lot of trouble over it!

    So, it all just seems poorly implemented, from technical to communication to customer relations!

    I don't want to switch provider, it is a lot of effort, but we can't go on looking like fools to parents.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Nr Peterborough
    Posts
    24
    Thank Post
    0
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
    Rep Power
    8
    I'm sure you'll appreciate that I cannot enter discussions about individual school experiences or discuss the technical setup of our system in a public forum.

    Please email me Paul.hughes@parentmail.co.uk if I can help.

  10. #10


    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    3,201
    Thank Post
    283
    Thanked 861 Times in 644 Posts
    Rep Power
    336
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHughes View Post
    I'm sure you'll appreciate that I cannot enter discussions about individual school experiences
    OK.
    or discuss the technical setup of our system in a public forum.
    Why ever not? Isn't the technical set-up a normal part of your marketing? Do people have to enter into contractual NDA's before you will tell them how you provide the service they have paid money for?

  11. #11
    p858snake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Queensland
    Posts
    1,490
    Thank Post
    37
    Thanked 175 Times in 151 Posts
    Blog Entries
    2
    Rep Power
    51
    Quote Originally Posted by PaulHughes View Post
    Folks ... many apologies! We will be issuing a statement to schools/parents for the recent problems in the next day or so we will provide this as soon as the situation is fully resolved.
    Wait, What? You release information as its happening! not after the fact…

  12. #12
    Ryno's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Liverpool
    Posts
    122
    Thank Post
    36
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    Rep Power
    0
    Any Alternatives to parent mail?? The school office are not happy with it at all!! They haven't been happy since January when it snowed and tried to send out a message and the website was down!!

  13. #13
    MGSTech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    362
    Thank Post
    13
    Thanked 95 Times in 54 Posts
    Rep Power
    39
    Ok, after another weekend of payment issues we have now reached the breaking point, parents are calling up and asking to be removed from ParentMail altogether and go back to paper letters!

    For us this is going to be a deal breaker as the one of the main reasons for going with PM was to reduce paper not increase it!
    It will not save us any work or paper if we have to run a dual system, especially if the online side of that is so unreliable

    if you're reading this ParentMail I think the straw just broke the camels back....

  14. #14
    Schoolcomms's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Posts
    52
    Thank Post
    49
    Thanked 49 Times in 24 Posts
    Rep Power
    17
    Hi there – we’ve just started sponsoring the MIS Forum and noticed that we’ve been mentioned in this thread. If you’d like to compare your current service with what we provide, here are a few facts:

    Our software uses SIMS parent contact data and so there are no issues around collecting data all over again or maintaining multiple databases – or other people sending emails to parents.
    We answer over 90% of calls to our support line within 60 seconds and we target to answer emails within 2 hours. 95% of our customers rate our service as ‘great’. 97% of customers renew their licences with us.

    If you’d like to trial Schoolcomms, let me know and I’ll get one of the team to demo it to you over the phone - Messaging or Payments. You’re welcome to a 30 day free trial. If you want to speak to another school that uses Schoolcomms … I’m sure we can fix that up.

    If you like the system we can provide up to 6 extra free months transition to help you move from your existing contract. This is a great way to test the system and re-gain the confidence of staff before using it to send parents emails and texts.

    Kirsty

  15. Thanks to Schoolcomms from:

    GREED (28th November 2013)

  16. #15
    MGSTech's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Posts
    362
    Thank Post
    13
    Thanked 95 Times in 54 Posts
    Rep Power
    39
    Hi Kirsty

    Welcome to the forum, however not too sure how comfortable people will be if you look to hijack other peoples threads for commercial gain?

    its a bit "not the done thing" although not sure if its against forum rules MOD?

    Nor am I very happy and being mail shotted by PM
    Last edited by MGSTech; 27th November 2013 at 03:41 PM.

SHARE:
+ Post New Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Eclipse hosted - anyone else have speed issues?
    By Max_Power in forum Educational Software
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 22nd May 2013, 01:25 PM
  2. Kirkless Internet... anyone else having issues?
    By RichB in forum General Chat
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 7th February 2013, 11:27 AM
  3. (Cornwall) Anyone else having problems with ehasdocs council website?
    By wadtech in forum South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL)
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12th June 2012, 03:10 PM
  4. Replies: 20
    Last Post: 24th September 2011, 12:51 PM
  5. Anyone else having problems with AVG Network Edition?
    By AngryTechnician in forum Windows
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 9th January 2009, 11:22 AM

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •