I agree that inorder to be sucessful, you MUST have another form of support besides email. I would recommend Live Support Chat. In some cases, it is better than phone. Dialup users can still get support without having to disconnect, call you up, get a solution, reconnect, and then see if it works or not. They can do it all at once. You can also open browser windows automatically for customers. Its a very execellent tool.
When i launch my new site, im hoping to offer live support via CCS or some other form of real time chat. Also im going to offer, 24x7 txt support, because a few of my customers have asked can they have a text number, so seems liek a good idea.
We have Human click (which has gone slightly wrong for the moment) but also have a forum based support forum where clients can mingle and help sort out each others problems.
Also in the process of setting up Direct SMS to engineers (only for use whe the servers have well and truly crashed and burned though) so that no time is wasted restoring customer sites....... and satisfaction.
Managing Director - AGCC Group
http://agccworld.com I http://agcc.biz I http://agcc.net
I guess it all depends on the type of clients you have - consumer or business. I do know though, that Business clients get awfully frustrated at not being able to contact a real person. I know for sure that at my company we win (and more importantly keep) so many clients on the back of our always available telephone support. It is extraordinary that some of the bigger "business" hosts don't have manned support desks. Still - who cares - more clients for us that do!!
It is normally during normal business hours, only because we are located within our hardware shop, which is opened from 9 to 5. Although, we have technicians here often times after hours who will be here to answer the phones.
I've been debating on a toll-free number ... I don't think we get enough use to need a toll-free number, although, it may be a possibility for the future.
We provide support through an online helpdesk, online conference training room, and message boards. We also have people on AIM, ICQ, MSN, AOL, Yahoo, and IRC. We obviously have email support, too.
We have 24/7 toll free support. And the suprising thing is that many of our clients still go though email support? Go figure. I guess the new generation that grew up with the internet is so used to doing things that way.
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after going through all the replies in this post i am thinking about the importance the telephonic support plays in making a web hosts support more reliable as Web Hosting is a Service industry and if you can make the clients realise that you are paying a good attention to support issues it can really build a good image of a Web Host.
Because in some cases clients can only get satisfied after speaking to one of your techies and a phone call can really calm him down as compared to email or ticket support.
Phoenix, if you'd like to know, as a hosting customer, I've always looked at if a host of my choice had phone support. In fact, this was one of the major features I was looking for because it makes me more comfortable to work with someone I can reach by phone.