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  Post #1 (permalink)   07-22-2005, 06:56 PM
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Interesting, but true - technical customer support service is a non-value added activity in any organization (costing wise). Which means that you should look at presence of technical support department at your company as failure, not a success.

Just something to ponder about...
 
 
 


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  Post #2 (permalink)   07-22-2005, 07:27 PM
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Quote:
worth or importance: the worth, importance, or usefulness of something to somebody
Customers find value (definition above) in technical support because it resolves issues that may arise. And, depending on the level of support, keeps the customer a cusomter of that business and/or has them recommend the company to someone else.
 
 
 


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  Post #3 (permalink)   07-22-2005, 08:19 PM
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I was reading Bob Parson's blog a while ago. It turns out that their support team is actually bringing in a profit (they are of course trained to be a sales team as well).

Leaving that aside, each customer that is satisfied after interaction with the support staff is a potential salesman for the company (the touted "word of mouth advertising" thingy).

The quality of the support is usually a vague, misty thing, but certain aspects can be measured and put into numbers, like the fastness of the replies (take Site5's 15 minutes average response claim), or the low number of tickets in the queue. People can more easily give weight to things when you attach numbers to them, and that can have a saying in the efficiency of the sales process.

Though, to add to your point Art, fact is that while the cost of support is a major part of the overall cost of the hosting service, it generally helps very little in closing the sale and projecting value. Most companies (for all sorts of reasons) won't go beyond stating "We provide 24/7, high quality support. We're always here ready to help you."
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   07-22-2005, 09:22 PM
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Ok, you guys described tech support when relating to the customer who buys things from a company. What about the tech support to keep that company's computers running?

For instance, what about a company who is a non-profit call center? The call center needs to be functional because people call in (purpose of the center) and request help. Be it finding a nearby day care, or getting help with an energy bill.

These resources are located on databases spread throughout 2 or 3 different servers. Now add in the phone, terminal, web, e-mail, and domain servers and you've got quite a fleet. Throw in a file server and backups and you need a full time tech department to keep these things working and up to date.

Without the tech department the call center and other resources would be at a loss, and there would be no funding. BUT, it is a non-profit organization so really most of it IS run at a loss.

What I'm getting at is, what about in house tech support?

I have to agree with Art on this one but also add in that I wouldn't call 'em a failure. I'd just say it's a necessary expense.
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  Post #5 (permalink)   07-22-2005, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webfreak08
Customers find value in technical support because it resolves issues that may arise.
Which is also a definition of defect/problem, and thus failure to deliver the absolute, zero-defect satisfaction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ldcdc
I was reading Bob Parson's blog a while ago. It turns out that their support team is actually bringing in a profit (they are of course trained to be a sales team as well).
Only great managers (like Bob) could think that way. He is right. Just like some bigger organizations' technical/customer support staff (like my Rogers Wireless cell phone staff), they are trained to execute "bundled" sales.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exon
I wouldn't call 'em a failure. I'd just say it's a necessary expense.
Its not an expense. Its a cost (whether variable or fixed) that makes selling prices higher.
The other techs you are talking about are of a bit different class - those are administrators that do not service customers. We do not mean them (which could be a cost related to quality control or maintenance) when we talk about technical support.

Best,
 
 
 


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  Post #6 (permalink)   07-23-2005, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Which is also a definition of defect/problem, and thus failure to deliver the absolute, zero-defect satisfaction.
I don't believe any company can offer a perfect product or service 100% of the time.
 
 
 


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  Post #7 (permalink)   07-23-2005, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webfreak08
I don't believe any company can offer a perfect product or service 100% of the time.
That's more close to reality.
Then they can always try and minimize the defect.
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   07-23-2005, 01:20 PM
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Sales job is to get the customer in
Supports job is to keep the customer happy

The longer a customer remains, and is satisfied, the more they tell others about your product, and the more likely they are to buy additional items from you.

In that respect decent support actually generates more new business that frontline sales
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  Post #9 (permalink)   07-26-2005, 02:32 AM
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Some clients will value Tech support as one of the main reasons for buying. If they have a problem and the company has bad or no tech support then there wasting there time, money and effort. In the end, clients will leave.
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  Post #10 (permalink)   11-05-2005, 03:44 AM
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IMO Technical support is a necessity and not a failure. The hosting companies do need technical support for their servers and with it the support staff to respond to the queries of their clients. In case of a problem if a client gets a favourable response he will be satisfied with the service and this may help in bringing in future sales too.
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  Post #11 (permalink)   11-08-2005, 04:08 AM
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Whenever one think about to start hosting business or getting a host for his site:-

Support is first concern to think-of. Beacuse every buyer need to get full satisfaction of his money which he is spending to get services as well as he want to be sure What if there is some tech-issue ?.

'Support' add value to Customer satisfaction and companie's reputation by enhancing their capablity to provide expected service. Also, me too agree with webfreak08
Quote:
Originally Posted by webfreak08
Customers find value in technical support because it resolves issues that may arise.
Also. it is true .. Sales can bring New Customers/ business; but without a good Support service you will never think to retain your client or keep them satisfy. Because it is actully "Support" who is in action through out the process after Buying services for any Client. For Customer Company's Value is = Support service provided by the company
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  Post #12 (permalink)   12-04-2005, 03:39 AM
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I don't view our helpdesk staff as non-value added. OK, I realize they cost us $$.. but so does everything. Servers, bandwidth, electricity...

Our helpdesk staff are the single most important asset to our company, since they are pretty much the only difference between "us" and "them". We bill ourselves as a premium service provider, so having a helpdesk staff that knows what they're doing is absolutely critical.

This means that every helpdesk ticket is viewed as an opportunity for "upselling". We actually give our helpdesk staff an incentive if they can upsell a customer for something. They don't "pay for themselves", but they are certainly worth their cost. Without our helpdesk, we would be just another budget host.
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  Post #13 (permalink)   12-07-2005, 10:57 AM
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I agree with mrzippy completely. Without a 24/7 technical support team, how can we run a hosting company in such a competitive market. Prices are already rock bottom and a few bucks won't make the difference between all the competitors. Its quality of service that alot of people are look at nowadays.

Therefore technical support depts are as important as the other depts if not more.
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  Post #14 (permalink)   12-07-2005, 04:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exon
I have to agree with Art on this one but also add in that I wouldn't call 'em a failure. I'd just say it's a necessary expense.
A necessary espense doesn't bring any positivity to it either.
Its like saying: "Well, I guess if I am forced to pay for something, its all OK..."
 
 
 


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  Post #15 (permalink)   12-07-2005, 05:08 PM
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OK, Art. How about this explanation:

Technical support is a form of advertising/marketing. Technical support, aka the first line of attack in an advertising campaign, is a vital component of any company. An action taken by a technical support engineer can and will result in prolonged ROI for any company, in addition to gaining popularity for a company.

Far from a failure, a tech. support department is the ultimate sales, advertising and marketing tool in existence, when operated correctly.

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