How to Tackle the Challenges of Offering Customer Support for Your Web Hosting Business
Web hosting is a very diverse world. Not only are there different hosting types, but every business owner or webmaster has their own requirements and at times addressing the mixed needs of people becomes a challenge for the customer support team. Clients can raise both technical and non-technical queries which the web hosting company should be in a position to resolve.
While big hosting providers have the essential resources and system administrators to offer end to end customer support, resellers often face a dilemma. The complexity of the queries can be overwhelming for the resellers to handle, especially if someone is running their hosting business from a home office. Although in a reselling business, the primary onus of customer support is on the upstream host, it is always better for resellers to offer in-house support at least as a level-1 support service to ensure that your customers do not bear the brunt of any delays in escalation or resolution.
4 Reasons why Resellers Should Offer Customer Support to their Clients
Client Satisfaction – If you want to run a successful hosting business you need to offer the best reseller hosting service, and robust customer support is the benchmark of good service. A happy customer will spread the word around, and in addition to retaining the loyalty of the existing customer base, you will also get leads as a result of word of mouth from satisfied customers.
Competitive Edge – In a reselling business, it is not mandatory for the reseller to offer support service, however, if you do, you have a competitive advantage over those resellers who do not offer client redressal services. Remember that reselling web hosting is a very competitive domain and if you can provide additional service to your clients, you shall reap the benefits.
Facilitates Business Growth – Good service will organically boost the number of clients turning to you. Impressive turnaround time and quick redressal of problems ensue client trust which will eventually facilitate business growth. You can also use the support executives conversations and relationships to upsell more products to improve your revenues.
Supports Branding Efforts – If your reselling business has earned good reviews and testimonials, thanks to excellent customer service, it shall support your branding efforts. You can promote the service on various online and offline platforms and run successful campaigns and promotions.
Therefore, even if you are running a small scale reselling web hosting business, client redressal service should be a core part of your offering. Having stated that, providing customer support is challenging and to ensure superior service and client satisfaction you need to learn how to tackle the hurdles that come in the way.
Challenge # 1 – In-house Support vs. Outsourced Support from a Helpdesk
This is a big decision. While in-house support gives you more control and helps you understand the needs of your client better, outsourcing to a helpdesk company will guarantee 24X7 support, however, you will not have any control over the quality of the support. Also, helpdesk service is by no means affordable and the level of vetting required to ensure the quality of service to the technical nature of queries is usually quite high.
At the start of the reselling web hosting business, try handling the customer queries yourself. You can begin this by offering Live Chat & Phone support during the peak hours of the day. Clearly, indicate the timings of customer support on the website, so your clients know when to reach out. As your client base expands, engage a helpdesk company to take care of incoming calls and scheduling during the non-peak hours.
Challenge # 2 – Frivolous Support Connects that Delays SLAs
A client can reach out to you for a range of critical and not so critical matters. Irrespective of that, you need to take up the query and resolve their problem. For example, a simple task like using the cPanel dashboard to install WordPress Plugins does not require a high level of expertise and clients can do it themselves.
The best way to limit the line-up of customer queries is by empowering your clients with the right knowledge. Add an exhaustive list of FAQs with illustrations and detailed explanation so that your customers can troubleshoot the problem themselves, thus saving the time of both parties.
Challenge # 3 – Quality of Support from Upstream Host
As a reseller, you rebrand and sell hosting packages to your client. While you are the face of the client, the day to day maintenance of the server infrastructure and the major responsibility of customer support are on the upstream hosting provider. Partnering with an unreliable parent host will have an adverse effect on your brand and name, at the same time will put pressure on the customer support team.
Good uptime score, maintaining the server, updating the software, regular bug fixing are some of the prerequisites of a reliable web hosting service. In addition to that, clarify the expected SLAs with the service provider. Total resolutions time, first response time are few metrics that must be pre-defined.
These measures will ensure that the website of your clients functions smoothly which in turn will reduce the number of complaints.
Challenge # 4 Making customer support accessible
Many resellers only offer customer support via telephone as it does not entail massive infrastructural overhaul. However, a good customer support system is the one where your clients can reach you through multiple ways.
Standalone telephone support can be massively frustrating for the customer. Therefore implement multiple support channels via telephone, live chat, email, message, chat bots etc.
Challenge # 5 Hiring Professional Staff
Hiring a professional staff with the necessary skill-sets is essential for the growth of your reselling business. However, will you be able to afford a full-time professional system administrator? This decision will entirely depend upon the business projection or the growth you have envisaged for your reselling business.
Begin by drafting a clear business plan. Who is your target audience? Are they small scale business owners or big corporates? In the case of small business owners, you may be independently able to handle the customer queries. But if you want to offer the best reseller hosting service to clients with dynamic web hosting needs, you need to find system administrators who have a thorough understanding of computers, networking, domains, active directories and policies over the network.
Hiring professional staff has now become simple with a platform like LinkedIn. You can begin by posting the opening on LinkedIn groups or communities that are dedicated to IT, system administration, networking and server management to directly connect with the professionals.
For a website owner, facing a downtime or any other form of technical glitch is losing out on a business opportunity. The only resort of a patron in such a circumstance is to reach out to their hosting provider for a quick solution of their problems. The frustration and anxiety can further compound if the web hosting provider does not have a sound customer support. Therefore, the role of a customer support is paramount in a reselling web hosting business.