If you are new to the world of web hosting, perhaps as a reseller who is also a customer of a larger hosting firm, you will quickly find that managing the hardware and software infrastructure is really only a piece of the puzzle that is required to make your business hum. In a highly competitive marketplace, providing quality customer support and account management for your customers and users is just as important as the type of hosting services you offer.
Acquiring customers – i.e. the sales process – is the first step in building a quality hosting business. This process requires the ability to not only identify prospective customers but also to track contact with these prospects all the way through account setup. Once a customer, you will also need to track and report on ongoing information exchanges with these customers, particularly in response to requests for support. One popular set of software solutions used to track these interactions are a suite of products from Kayako:
• SupportSuite – LiveResponse and eSupport combined into one multi-stream support solution.
• eSupport – a help desk software package, offering ticketed support and e-mail management.
• LiveResponse – a help desk software package with live chat functionality, including real-time visitor monitoring
Many popular hosting companies supply these software packages to resellers for management and tracking of their customer accounts and support requests. A product like eSupport allows your business to publish a first line of defense for customer support through an internal knowledge base and associated content management functionality. News and software download modules also allow you to publish information, hot fixes, and patches out to your customers without the need for any interaction with an actual human being. The core of the product offers trouble ticket tracking and management capabilities, including the ability to ensure that your support procedures are conforming to an internally defined Service Level Agreement (SLA). For example, you could have an SLA requiring that all emails from customers be responded to within 2 hours…if that goal is not met, the support software could send an email or SMS alerting management that a delay has occurred.
Professional support services offered to your customers can help differentiate your hosting business from the thousands of other competitors in the hosting market. Back-end software used to automate and control the quality and timeliness of your team’s responses is key to staying head and shoulders above your competitors.