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  Post #1 (permalink)   08-25-2008, 09:56 AM
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How many of us have had them? The ones that are support ticket button crazy and refuse to attempt even a little to learn for themselves. I mean we are providing their service but I don't think its our job to provide them (teach them) what they should be doing., right?
 
 
 


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  Post #2 (permalink)   08-25-2008, 02:36 PM
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They're irritating, yes; but treat them exactly like you treat any support-ticket-crazy client: show them where the answer to their solution lies in your documentation, and keep showing them until they begin to get the hint that they might be able to find what they need in the knowledgebase. Maybe they've previously been with providers that didn't have much in the way of documentation - or they did, but it was not of good quality.

You could also put something in your TOS (and in your replies to these folks) that after a certain number of requests for help with something they should know, their tickets may be considered "abnormal support issues" and they'll be charged by the hour. That way, if they want a teacher...hey, be their teacher. Just charge for your time and effort. (And if you really don't have the aptitude or desire to be a teacher, tell them so and suggest that they take a course in whatever it is they're having problems with - whether that's server administration, programming, or business or customer service issues.)

These people who start out asking tons of questions may turn out to be some of your more powerful resellers - but at the same time they may not realize the effort required from them. How much we make from a client can depend on how much we invest in them. And, like all investments, some clients may just not be worth the huge investment of time. Sellers with clients like this may need to learn how to communicate clearly about what the resellers' responsibilities are versus what their responsibilities are as providers.
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  Post #3 (permalink)   08-25-2008, 03:56 PM
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You chose to be a host did you not?

Why should it be incumbent on the client to learn your job?

You either offer a service or you don't. If all you are offering is web space then what differentiates you from any other service?
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   08-25-2008, 04:42 PM
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It could be a reseller-client who wants the provider to, effectively, support their clients (and while there are some hosts who do this, not all of us do). It could be someone who is leasing an unmanaged dedicated server but has no idea how to manage a server. It could be a reseller-client who is asking how to connect to FTP.

It could be a reseller-client who is asking about something perfectly reasonable, like whether or not their clients have access to modify their MX records - and if so, how do they access it. We just don't know.

TLM Network is going to be offering reseller services soon, and while I intend to provide good documentation that covers business aspects rather than just industry information, I don't want to get into a situation where I handhold people from Day One in every aspect. If someone asks a question and their question ends with, "Can you do this for me or tell me where to look to learn to do it myself", I have no problems helping that person out. They realize that they can learn, they are asking to learn, they're not saying "Here do this." In some cases the answer may well be, "That's something we have to handle from this end because you don't have the necessary access to do this." But at least then they know that they've done everything they could to learn how to handle similar situations, and they know where their responsibilities end for future such situations. They've learned how to catch this particular kind of fish.

The whole trick is learning how to define, and hold fast to, boundaries.
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  Post #5 (permalink)   08-25-2008, 05:18 PM
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If they are insistent about not looking for anything themselves and you have a good knowledgebase/FAQ its best to set boundaries or just send them the link to where they can find their answer with soemthing along the lines of "try this and if you still have problems contact us". I know alot of times knowledgebases are hard to navigate or not written in a very user friendly tone if you're a complete newbie so they may be hesitant to try things and mess it up from their side.
 
 
 


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  Post #6 (permalink)   08-26-2008, 02:17 AM
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Why not to teach them? If that might improve your business. Other question you might absolutely have no time for that.
 
 
 


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  Post #7 (permalink)   08-26-2008, 09:08 AM
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I can perfectly agree to setting boundries on what support can and cannot do or be. There are people who will stay on the phone all day if you let them to.
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   11-10-2008, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ldcdc View Post
I can perfectly agree to setting boundries on what support can and cannot do or be. There are people who will stay on the phone all day if you let them to.
This is definitely true. You just need to speak with the client and tell them what the limits are and make sure it is clear and answer any questions they have about this. You may be afraid that you will lose the client but if you do, it may be in your best interest anyways since they would likely leave due to not wanting to take the time and make the effort to learn the things they need to know.

With reseller hosting being so cheap and readily available there are all kinds of "newbie" resellers that are ticket crazy. There are some that learn and there are some that just continue to ask the same questions over and over.

Time is money and even though you don't see an invoice for the 30 minutes a month you spend helping one client with similar issues over and over does not mean it doesn't impact your productivity or the business as a whole.

Draw a line, make it clear, and then move on
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  Post #9 (permalink)   11-12-2008, 06:52 AM
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In all honesty Im a fan of the computer newbie. I can remember 7 years ago knowing nothing at all about computers. It was like a foreign language, even using a mouse felt weird & awkward. I taught myself because I have a capacity for it. But lets face it, most people arent technically minded. Ive worked in tech-support over the last few years & I have all the time in the world for computer newbies.

But newbies who sign up for a reseller account, now thats something different. What on earth are they doing?? hahahaha Its bad enough that they cant manage themselves, let alone manage other peoples website affairs

But I guess, we all have to start somewhere
 
 
 


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  Post #10 (permalink)   11-13-2008, 11:38 AM
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There comes a point where you can see the difference between someone who actually needs help and the person who is too lazy to do it for themselves and wants you to do all the work. Those type of customers are not the ones you want and I don't see anything wrong with a simple note saying, "I'm sorry but I don't think our services is proving helpful to you, why don't we terminate the relationship?"

What is your time worth to you? If you think spending ten hours a month with a client who's paying you $10 a month is a good investment, by all mean continue to hold his hand and do his work for him. Sad though that you get stuck doing the work for $1 per hour while he's collecting from his clients.
 
 
 


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  Post #11 (permalink)   11-13-2008, 01:21 PM
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I would rather have a newbie reseller compared to one that has been around and has false expectations. One being that GoDaddy is great and you should give me the same exact service as them or I'll leave you and go back to them...
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  Post #12 (permalink)   11-13-2008, 02:07 PM
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If someone is happy with a hosting provider like GoDaddy and demands the same services OR ELSE, and you're on track with your business plan, you have two viable options:

1) re-examine your current business operations and think if changing your service levels would provide more value and not be a significant burden
2) let them go back to where they're happy

Changing your business plan because of a client request shouldn't be dismissed out of hand, but neither should you do everything your clients ask just because they're asking. (Sometimes, it's not security-smart to do so.) Be smart, protect yourself and your business, know what you're willing and able to provide without straining or letting things slip, and concentrate on that. Expand if / when you're ready to back up the new service/support offering. And let perennially uncontent people go elsewhere.

Someone saying "You have to provide X-Y-Z like SomeOtherHost or I'm going back to them!!" is a cousin of "I'll sue you if you don't give me what I want, even if the client agreement says otherwise (or I'm at fault)!!" It's a threat, even if it isn't one that includes overt violence.
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  Post #13 (permalink)   11-13-2008, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue View Post
You chose to be a host did you not?

Why should it be incumbent on the client to learn your job?

You either offer a service or you don't. If all you are offering is web space then what differentiates you from any other service?
I am truly sorry that I missed this thread but let me explain it a little better for those who think I am some jerk when it comes to my reseller clients. I think its wrong for someone getting into the business and refusing to learn anything for themselves. If you want to be a reseller thats fine by me, but I am not paid to hand hold your own clients, nor someone who is not willing to learn.

Did that clear up any confusion?
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  Post #14 (permalink)   11-13-2008, 10:59 PM
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Haven't had a client like that yet, thank god! That would get me really irritated.
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  Post #15 (permalink)   11-13-2008, 11:33 PM
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Shockym, I agree with you. If you are in this as a business then you should be doing the work yourself. Expecting someone else to hold your hand isn't fair-if that is what you need then you shouldn't be trying to make a business of it. Give it a shot without customers, learn your way around, then try and make a buck out of it-do not do it at the customer's expense.
 
 
 
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