This is part 2 of 2 on what causes customer churn in the web hosting industry
Support ticket response
Itís rare that any single web hosting client will NEVER experience some kind of issue that requires the providerís assistance. Typically, clients can either enter a support ticket by logging into their client area, emailing support @ their_providers_domain com or via phone when available.
As a client, would you be willing to sit on hold on your phone for extended periods of time while a support representative investigates whatever issue youíre experiencing? Probably not, given that you may have waited 10, 20, 30 minutes or longer just to talk to a support representative in the first place!
Poor response times
Issues will arise even if you have the best dedicated server that money can buy. Thatís simply Murphyís Law. When that happens, clients expect their providers to respond to support tickets in a reasonable period of time, even if resolving the issue takes somewhat longer than expected. Itís always best to answer tickets as quickly as possible and then keep clients informed throughout the process of investigation, especially if the resolution becomes prolonged.
What happens all too frequently in this industry are tickets that sit in limbo for hours at a time before any support representative opens them. This can happen for any number of reasons, the first being that the provider is understaffed and unable to handle the volume of incoming support tickets in a timely manner.
When a level one technician hangs on to a ticket that should be escalated to level two or level three support, that backs up the support queue as well.
Poor resolution times
While some providers answer tickets in a matter of minutes, that doesnít tell the whole story. If my server is down, what I want from my provider is for my server to be back online as soon as possible. What good does a two-minute response time do if a provider takes hours, days or weeks to get my server back online? Again, even if youíve contracted for the best dedicated server on the market, if your provider is unable to mitigate a sustained DDoS attack, what good does that do you?
How to differentiate support between providers?
Outstanding providers not only respond to tickets quickly, but theyíre also properly staffed and trained to be able to resolve most issues expeditiously. What sets them apart is attitude, their willingness to help, plus go the extra one percent to ensure their clients are not only happy, but become raving fans.
Outages can occur for any number of reasons in the web hosting industry, more often than not though theyíre related to infrastructure failures or DDoS attacks. We see reports on hosting forums all the time of outages by various providers where thereís a breakdown in communication and no one knows whatís going on.
If youíve purchased a cheap dedicated server, the odds are that something went by the wayside for the provider to offer that service so lowly priced, and that is normally either infrastructure or customer support. It really doesnít matter though what service you have or how long youíve been a customer, when an outage occurs and your server is down, the last thing you want is for your provider to be unresponsive. When that happens, clients often flock to the forums to validate if itís just their server, or if other members are experiencing the same issues.
People start looking up email addresses and phone numbers on WHOIS records, then search for posts on their providerís Facebook or Twitter accounts for status updates. And while many providers have network status pages on their websites, often those sites are down as well, leaving their clients in the dark.
Outages are to be expected. Thatís just the way the web hosting industry is, but how those outages are handled by a provider is what sets a sub-par host apart from an outstanding host. Providers that understand communication is key to their success find ways to keep their clients continuously informed, either via forum posts, Facebook or Twitter updates.
While many providers offer nearly instantaneous provisioning of various hosting services on pre-packaged plans, some installations invariably take longer than others. For example, a server order that includes a custom configuration or extra IP addresses could take longer to provision. An issue arises when the client is not kept abreast of the install process, especially when the installation becomes prolonged. No one likes to be kept in the dark.
Whatís worse is when a server is provisioned NOT as ordered and the provider remains silent about it. Occasionally this happens by mistake and is quickly corrected by their provider, but as weíve seen on various web hosting forums, itís sometimes the client that had to prove this to their provider to get them to take action.
Given that itís so much easier to up-sell an existing client than it is to procure a new client, it behooves providers to ensure provisioning of new orders goes smoothly, not so much on their end, but to the satisfaction of their client. Perception is key. If the client perceives youíre competent and is working hard to provision their server as quickly as possible, theyíll often wait longer than they anticipated.
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