Web hosting is a ruthlessly competitive business. Web hosts trip over each other to match and surpass hosting features offered by competitors. And a core feature that everyone offers, but only a few get right is – 24/7/365 hosting tech support.
Many companies battle wave upon wave of customer complaints due to operational or quality issues in delivering 24/7 support.
Here at Ibmi Media, we help web hosts fix and streamline their tech support process. We’ve been doing this for the past 15+ years, and today we’ll see the most common mistakes web hosts make in delivering 24/7/365 hosting tech support, and how we help them fix it.
Mistake 1 – Emergency support delivered via email
Some companies cut costs by offering after hours support over email. This includes emergency support issues such as website down, domain expiry, and more. This frustrates customers, because many think they are being ignored.
During an emergency each minute feels like an hour, and we've seen many email threads where customers send 3 or 4 follow-ups asking, "Are you there????" before the tech has had a chance to respond.
That is why we consider phone support an integral part of 24/7 service, and recommend it for emergency support.
Benefits of using phone for emergency support
i. Human factor – Talking to a living, breathing person is any day better than an impersonal email. During emergencies, customers need reassurance, and a human voice is the best way to deliver it.
ii. The interaction happens in real time : Unlike mail communication, the customer knows that someone is looking into the issue RIGHT NOW. That someone is accountable at that moment.
iii. Helps quick & accurate issue troubleshooting – Upset customers tend to leave out critical information. On phone, the techs can ask precise questions to quickly find out what’s going wrong.
iv. Assess customer satisfaction – It is important to de-escalate a situation before signing off from a support interaction. On phone, it is easier to understand if a customer is happy with the resolution, and if not, more actions can be initiated to make the customer happy.
Mistake 2 – Using auto-responders and KB in lieu of personalized help
Many companies use a knowledge base as their first line of support. Customers are forced to search a KB before they can submit a ticket.
While it could work for technically savvy customers such as gamers or developers, it fails when the customer base is small business owners who do rarely use computers.
People new to hosting find tech concepts confusing or even intimidating, and get really annoyed when they’re forced to read dense tech jargon while their mail or website is down. We’ve seen companies lose customers even after they’ve invested a lot in KB-integrated help desk systems.
So, if you have customers who are new to hosting, you’ll need personalized support. Ideally, it should be delivered via phone.
Use phone support for non-tech customers
Hearing an actual person’s voice, and their readiness to help can make a big difference to the customer’s attitude during a support call. Greeting someone by their name, referencing their past support history, and ability to give precise help for their issue can bring an enormous difference in the value of your service.
This benefit is not available in email and much less in knowledge bases.
That does not mean KBs are worthless. At Ibmi Media, we use KB articles as a secondary tool to deliver quick support.
For instance, We provide first level 24/7/365 hosting support via phone. When calls come in, we talk to the customer, understand the issue, and use images and videos in KBs to walk them through the different steps to resolve an issue.
One small step like using phone as a first level support can go a long way in reducing customer churn, and save hundreds of dollars in marketing.
Mistake 3 – Limiting after hours tech support to only server wide issues
Many data centers offer 24/7 monitoring, alerting, and on-demand server administration.
We've seen many web hosts try to cut costs by using data center’s support to take care of server downtime during night time, while leave normal customer queries in the queue until morning.
This is a brand reputation disaster waiting to happen.
For a customer, a non-functioning email could mean several hundred dollars worth of orders lost, or an inability to send a business proposal in time. When that happens, they need to feel that you’ve got their back.
The resolution to such issues could be trivial, but to be available at the right time makes all the difference between a loyal customer, and one that leaves bad reviews in public forums.
We recommend customers to use Phone support as the first line of 24/7/365 hosting support. In this way, customers know that there’s an expert on call when they need you, and that someone is accountable to resolve their issue.
At Ibmi Media, we give every caller the same level of consideration and make them feel that their issue is NOT secondary to any other issue that we may have. That is one of the reasons why our team consistently gets happy reviews every single day.
It need not be costly
Here is the good news – You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get 24/7/365 hosting support.
You'll get only a few calls per month, and you can easily get a specialist company such as Ibmi Media to cover the graveyard shift for you. Since you pay only for a limited number of minutes, there’s no risk of you spending more money than you need.
With such a small investment in 24/7/365 hosting support, you get a powerful marketing edge, which if used right will put you company in the premium league while keeping the service price comparable to your competitors.