Things have changed somewhat in the hosting industry during the thirteen years I’ve worked in it, there but a question that has always popped up in the various companies and sectors I’ve worked in is “How do I support my clients?” This can come from companies looking to branch out into web hosting, design agencies offering additional services or even individuals setting up as web hosting resellers. Knowing that you’ll be providing support to your clients when you may be new to hosting yourself or have expertise in other areas can be a daunting prospect. How you handle this can depend on the resources available to you and the level of support that you want to offer with your services, but there are some basic rules that can be applied to any of these situations to help improve your support offerings:
The devil is in the detail
It can be hard to know what information to ask for when looking to troubleshoot issues if you’re not from a support background. It’s something that you will learn with experience but the rule of thumb I always go by is: it’s better to have information and not need it than need information and not have it! For example, if a client is having email issues, ask for screenshots of the settings they are using as well as error messages. Whilst the client might assure you they are using the details sent to them, or that are listed in a control panel, it’s always better to double-check and get as much information as you can to start your investigations especially if the error is “incorrect password”!
Don’t make assumptions
Following on from the user who is sure they are using the correct settings it’s also important that you don’t make assumptions as to what the issue is. If you get similar questions asked on a regular basis it can be easy to fall into the trap of assuming you know the issue as soon as you start reading, so sure what you assume is wrong is actually the issue. Work out a checklist or process for your diagnostics, for example you don’t want to spend time going through the code of a website line by line if the domain is not pointed at the correct server yet!
Be open about how long tasks will take. whilst your client inevitably wants their task completing/issue fixing as quickly as possible they will be far more willing to accept your timescale you can explain what work needs to be done and why. If you need to do some research to achieve a task or fix a problem don’t promise this will be done in the next hour if you know you have other tasks waiting. The more you can stick to what you say in terms of resolution times the more your client will learn to trust your judgement and accept a longer timescale than they may want!
Gauge the technical level of your interaction
Pitch your support at a level to suit your client. If they aren’t at all technical then there’s no point going into an in-depth explanation about DNS! From an Eco Web Hosting support perspective I often see contact start with “Sorry, this may be a daft question but…”. These are the situations where it’s important to reassure your client and pitch your response at a level they can understand. After all, if the client knew the answer they wouldn’t be asking in the first place!
Personalise your contact
Even if client interaction is not your favourite part of the job make the extra effort to be personable, it can make all the difference. If your client mentions something that has happened to them recently during your contact with them it’s very likely that this a big deal in their life at the moment. A simple ‘congratulations’ or ‘sorry to hear that’ can make a difference, it doesn’t take a lot to show you empathise and it’s the kind of thing that helps set your support aside from the run of the mill offerings from other companies.
And last but not least don’t forget we’re here to help, you may not have offered technical support before or may just want some reassurances that what you think is the solution is in fact correct. The Eco Web Hosting support team are on hand to assist and we’re happy to help. Create a ticket through your account for any questions you may have and we’ll be happy to provide any assistance we can 🙂