<< At what stage should you hire extra support reps for your company? As many people know most companies start out with just the owner providing support to a few clients but as the company grows and acquires more clients, its obvious more people will be needed to help handle the support requests. When do you think should a host hire extra support? How many customers/sites should there be to support reps in your opinion? >>
Well, this is a very tricky question, and is very different for each and every company. The real only answer is this - when you yourself cannot handle anymore clients than you already can. For shared hosting, this can vary from 100 to 800. I know one person who had over 800 clients before hiring extra support. I don't think a support person can handle more than 250 clients well. Personally - I don't think the president of the company should be involved in giving support to clients and so on. I myself don't even give support to clients, and all my clients so far have only come into contact and spoken with support members - this way, I have more time to do my job. The president of a company - and I mean a real company be it an Inc. Ltd., or whatever - has a very important role to play. It's not his job to run around replying to tickets, he has, or should have, more important things to do such as finding if he can get grants, loans, etc. as I posted in another thread. You should always start a company and have at least one support person - this way you are assured your clients are in good hands while you are doing the mucky work of improving the company, its finances and so on.
<< If you are the only one providing support you also have to consider if your customers are all in the same timezone as yourself, if they arent then it may be a good idea to hire someone that is in the same timezone as some of your customers so you can provide support to them when they need it. >>
Exactly. Always make sure you can either offer support, 24/7 if you state that, or always make sure you offer support in the hours you state - and be very specific about the hours you state and always be sure to say what timezone it is as well as some differences between say CET, GMT, EST, etc.
<< Well if you are the only one providing support to your clients then the best thing to do would be outsourcing your support so in the long run it will help you out. >>
Again, a very good idea but can turn out to be very expensive, although can also be very cheap if worked around a model to suit your finances and suit your business to the way you think it will grow. There are lots of good outsource companies, of which most are in other countries in Asia and so on. BobCares for one is rated very well by many and is in India - the only true American outsource company I know of is TouchSupport, which is very expensive apparently, but of course all their support reps are based in the United States with no exceptions. You also pay for quality, remember - it's better going with one company who charges $3,000+ per month for unlimited tickets 24/7 than a company who charges $0.25 per ticket 24/7 - You may never receive 1,000+ tickets so the cheaper option may be better financially, but won't always be better in the long run with quality of support and so on. Remember too, that e-mailing them for sales and then them replying the next business day isn't bad if they reply to your support tickets within ten minutes and have it solved within the hour.
Yes, the comments about support reps in Australia and so on are also very good ideas - but remember certain important things. If you're a proper real company, and you hire support, you must pay a good monthly wage and also pay benefits such as healthcare, pension, death, etc. There only isn't a need to give such benefits when you pay them an extremely well salary for them to live on meaning they can save more in the long run.
Many companies outsource, or hire support reps in countries such as India, Nigeria, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Madagascar and the likes. Why? Because it is cheaper and because they should be able to get support covered 24/7. But don't always go for the cheap option - if you have an office in that country, and pay them a proper wage, you may also have to have your business registered there as well - if you do hire support elsewhere, and you plan to do it all "shady shady" without paying taxes, etc. and so on - then you may as well hire outsource support except you won't get into trouble with the law that way.
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